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New Single Family Home in Olde Towne East a Departure for Lifestyle Communities

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Single Family Home in Olde Towne East a Departure for Lifestyle CommunitiesPhotos provided by Lifestyle Communities.
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Lifestyle Communities has built a new single family home in the heart of Olde Towne East, but don’t expect the local developer to start snapping up vacant lots all over the neighborhood any time soon.

“This is more about a strategic approach to development, and going through the execution of what we need to do in order to fit into and enhance a neighborhood,” said Sam Stark, VP of Real Estate Sales for Lifestyle Communities (LC). “This happens to be one single family home, but to us, it’s still a development project, and we want to see if we get it right.”

“This is an opportunity to learn how a project like this can translate within Columbus, but also to other markets,” added Colin Rice, Brand Marketing Director. He explained that an upcoming project in Louisville — one that calls for a mix of apartments and homes — could be a chance to take what the company has learned from this house and apply it on a larger scale.

Stark said that they are planning a series of open houses to get feedback on the design and layout of the 2,900 square foot house, which sits at the northeast corner of Oak Street and Monroe Avenue. They will likely build more in the future, although this one is a special case, being a single lot surrounded by existing, historic houses.

“If we had two, three, five acres, would we build this house, if it fit in the neighborhood? For sure,” he said, although the company has no plans to acquire or develop individual scattered parcels in urban neighborhoods; “that’s not scalable for a company like us.”

The front half of the house is meant to blend in with the ornate brick homes up and down the street, most of which were built over 100 years ago. Decorative brickwork on the outside and details like a herringbone-pattern oak floor on the inside help to sell the idea that it’s a historic home with a modern rear addition.

Stark said that even some of the sub-contractors working on the house mistook it for a renovation job. Building on a small lot in an urban neighborhood has not been without its challenges, though.

“There was a lot of thought that went into this house, to make it feel like it’s been here, but there were a lot of things we had to learn,” said Stark, giving as an example a utility pole that had to be moved after construction had started. “Building in a greenfield is a lot different than building in an urban neighborhood…we had to be prepared to figure those things out, and to learn.”

“It’s time consuming, and expensive, but we feel the market values these things,” added Stark. “When people initially traced this back to us and figured out that LC was building on this lot, they probably thought, ‘Oh no, what are they going to do?’ But the response we’ve had so far from the neighbors has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The unveiling of the house at Oak and Monroe coincides with a rebranding of LC’s real estate brokerage.

Originally established as Lifestyle Real Estate Services in 2004, the business started out as a utilitarian service that allowed the company to list its many condominiums on the MLS.

As the company’s focus shifted in response to the recession — Stark said they went from building 600 condos a year to building over 1,000 apartment units a year — the in-house brokerage started helping tenants who were leaving their apartments and looking to buy a home.

The new brokerage is called Collective House Realty. Established with the help of local branding agency treetree, its focus is first-time home buyers.

Photos provided by Lifestyle Communities.


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  • Looks pretty good! I’d be happy to see more infill houses like this from them.

  • KLB Protagonist

    “This happens to be one single family home, but to us, it’s still a development project, and we want to see if we get it right.”

    Let me help you out. You did not get it right. Just like with your other developments in Columbus. Not sure who you hired as the designer, but it would be a great time for them to reflect on their profession.

    • cedaly1968

      Sorry but you are completely wrong about the property. They built around the corner from my house where I have lived for 17 years. Victorians frequently built homes with an amazing facade and then wen cheap on materials in the back. It was about putting a picture on the house. It’s why you see so many brick homes with “additions” that are actually original to the home. The steps and porch are historically accurate and so is the masonry work. The poured basement walls are much stronger and more stable than my 135 year old stone foundation that leaks and will cost $30,000 to fix. The inlaid porch was BRILLIANT when you look at the space. And the house connects to the garage for convenience to the homeowner. Victorians embraced new materials and designs, they were the first to pump natural gas into their homes for light, and they embraced many styles from Queen Anne to Gothic and everything in between. They have designs in their floors just like this house does – I paid $4000 to get my design recovered after a dentist office covered it in tar for 75 years. So while YOU may not like the house – it is 100% appropriate. The goal is to not rebuild a 135 year old neighborhood with 135 year old homes. It is to restore the CHARACTER of the neighborhood while accommodating a modern family and being more eco sensitive than our current Victorian homes. The place is a great addition to Olde Towne East.

      • RellekOTE


  • eriatsa

    The house does no service to the historic integrity of the neighborhood. The design gives a false sense of history, they could have distinguished the house from the actual older surrounding properties while still having a style that was sympathetic to and reflective of those houses. Meanwhile they’ve slapped on Greek Revival and Italianate details on a Queen Anne form, making the entry porch look disproportionate and unattractive, and misrepresenting the context and ideas behind those styles. Missed opportunity for something creative.

  • VortexOfSlowness

    This makes me like LC a little bit more. The porch looks silly, but take a look at the homes and condos developers are shitting onto infill lots in Tremont, Cleveland and suddenly you’ll see a lot less to criticize here. Don’t like the porch? Tear it off and build something you like for a couple thousand bucks. This is no eyesore, and some of the people hating in this thread sound like they could find a problem with a glass of water while dying of thirst.

  • Christopher Abnett

    nice looking but did they really go to all the brickwork toruble to put a FAKE CHIMNEY on it???? sure looks like it.. sad if they went all that way and didnt put a fireplace in.. a real fireplace.. esp for what they are likely to ask for it

  • JRemy

    I really like what the did here and I think more homes should be built like this in the more historic areas. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought it was a century old home that was recently went through a major renovation. The attention to detail in this new build is something to be admired, something that is lacking this day-in-age.

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