Home Tour: Historic Glenbrow Home Revived
The Gunning House, also know as Glenbrow, has enjoyed a caring and thoughtful update, thanks to Dorri Steinhoff and Joe Kuspan, who purchased the home and property in the summer of 2014.
The home had been in extreme disrepair and vacant since 2005. As the renovations began, Steinhoff and Kuspan discovered it was in worse shape than they had originally thought.
“We deconstructed the house and saved every piece that wasn’t ruined,” said Steinhoff. Much of the wood had been damaged by termites. The deconstruction allowed them space to build up the clerestory windows in the kitchen area, allowing more light and better ventilation into the home.
The original design did not have gutters along the roofline which lead to water issues with heavy rainfalls. Adding gutters and French drains around the property corrected the water issues.
All new plumbing was put into the home. Sinks crafted from boulders were added to the bathrooms. A skylight was added in the living room and the foyer to allow more light into the home. LED lighting was installed throughout the home.
Kuspan researched kitchen cabinets in homes in Rush Creek Village and studied old photos to make a reproduction of the kitchen cabinet style for Glenbrow.
The entire exterior of board and batten cypress horizontal siding was removed, sanded, and stained, based on a color close to the gray patina.
After clearing all of the overgrowth, brush, and poison ivy from the outside, the family discovered boulder gardens and stone patios, creating pleasant areas to enjoy the outdoors. Their oldest daughter rebuilt a frog pond near the front door. The walkway had to be demolished and replaced.
Kuspan has been working on a garden on the front of the home to add protection from the snow, and to have a place for keeping some of the ruins from the remodel.
“Little follies here and there,” says Steinhoff.
The 2,144 square-foot home was built in 1940 with walls of sandstone that had been quarried on-site. The concrete flooring was replaced to install a new hydronic heat system and plumbing.
The house sits atop a ravine and has floor to ceiling windows that showcase the view and allow the natural materials of the home to blend into the landscape. It’s Kuspan’s favorite aspect of the home.
“I love the view of the ravine,” he says. “Every day is a little bit different and you can really track time with the sunlight. You wake up every morning and are in tune with nature. It’s especially great when the stream is really rolling.”
“I love the outside ares,” she says. “You just notice little details and get lost in nature and forget about the troubles in the world.”
The couple still has plans to renovate the tower on the property as an artist retreat/bed and breakfast, and they would like to add an art pavilion behind the ruins of the tennis court. They like the atmosphere the crumbling tennis court provides for entertaining. Clearing the pond is another thing they would like to do.
The Gunning House has historic status as an early example of Organic-Modernist architecture using Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house principles. This house was Tony Smith’s first house in the field of architecture. Smith was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and led the design of the home along with Theodore van Fossen and Laurence Cuneo.
In 2014, The Columbus Landmarks Foundation had the property as No. 4 on the list of the most endangered places at risk of demolition, destruction, or irreparable damage. Steinhoff and Kuspan have kept a relationship with the Columbus Landmarks Foundation and in October of 2017, held an event at the home where people could tour the space and hear the couple speak about the renovation. They plan to work with Columbus Landmarks Foundation on future events, join the Columbus Landmarks Foundation for updates. Otherwise please keep in mind Glenbrow is now a private residence.
See all of the before photos from when the home was purchased in 2014 and read more about the background of the home from my interview with Dorri Steinhoff.