Home Tour: Builders worked hard to make brand new Delta Avenue house look 'old'

Brick façade blends with the neighbors

Drivers who pass it might not notice the brand new brick house at 1335 Delta Ave. between Springer and Observatory. That’s because, unlike several other new, eye-popping residences in the Mount Lookout/Hyde Park area, it doesn’t look modern.

The $1.179 million house’s traditional façade is exactly what Classic Living Homes builder Bernie Kurlemann and Realtor Mike Hines thought was appropriate. Hines — a new construction specialist, who along with partner Rick Finn found the property for Kurlemann and advised him on design, marketing and price — recalls that before plans were drawn, the builder drove up and down Delta to get a feel for its architecture. One thing he noticed was how the homes had detailed architectural features on every side.

“Our goal was to make the house look like it was here 100 years ago and that the trim and character were carried out on all four sides,” Hines said.

To that goal, residential designer Paul Studer and Kurlemann situated the house on a partially raised foundation, similar to those that builders preferred in the early 1900s as a way to minimize digging and exposing the basement to wet clay. He covered the above-ground concrete with a veneer of stacked limestone to match the houses around it.

The framing and placement of windows, the under-eave corbels, the columned front porch, the use of ornamental limestone and the makeover of the original brick garage add to the house’s appeal to those in the heavily traditional Mount Lookout housing market.

“When you look at the house, we wanted it to not be recognizable as a brand-new house. We wanted it to look like a good and crisp, well-maintained home, but not a suburban home,” Kurlemann said.

Hines said the feedback he has received shows that Kurlemann hit the traditional nail on the head. But when potential buyers walk inside, they close the door on 1916 and time-travel 100 years into the 21st century.

Consistent, modern colors

The color palate of gray, white and dark brown flows throughout the house on the walls, countertops, cabinetry and floors, as does the combination of finish materials: oak, quartz, ceramic tile and steel.

The first floor features a 14-foot by 14-foot dining room, an office behind French doors in the front and an open great room in the back. It comprises a 14-foot by 20-foot kitchen with a 10-foot-long island and a 16-foot by 21-foot living room with a gas fireplace and built-in storage and display spaces. Another feature rarely found in 100-year-old homes is the mud room and office space through a pocket door beyond the kitchen. It features a bench with four overhead cubbyholes, a built-in desk, two storage closets and access to an open backyard patio.

Special first-floor details include custom cabinets, patterned marble backsplash, gourmet exhaust hood over a five-burner countertop stove, gray Blanco Silgranit sink, rounded wall corners, rough-edge quartz fireplace, 8-inch crown molding and a covered porch that’s wired for audio and television like the rest of the house.

All four bedrooms are carpeted and on the second floor, which includes a centralized 8-foot by 10-foot laundry room. The 14-foot by 18-foot master bedroom features an octagonal tray ceiling with a fan and a triple-paned window looking out over the backyard. The master suite includes a bedroom-sized dressing room with built-in cabinets, racks and shelves and a long, double vanity and walk-in shower with walls that match the bathroom’s gray porcelain floor.

Kurlemann said deciding to save the original two-car garage with its vaulted bead board ceiling, built-in brick fireplace and fancy corbels set the tone for the overall design of the house. All it needed was a new roof, gutters, floor, French drain and paint to match it to the new house.

“I thought, ‘Let’s keep the garage and build a house that fits it,’ ” Kurlemann said. “It really is pretty cool.

“I always look at it as if I were building my own personal house,” he said “You want to make sure it just feels good when you walk through it, like you could live here.”

Little help from his friends

Almost every homebuilder has a stable full of craftsmen that help him get the job done. These sub-contractors helped Bernie Kurlemann blend the old with the new in the Delta Avenue house:

  • Brick, concrete: Brick Tec, Milford
  • Cabinetry: J&N Distribution, Lebanon
  • Interior trim: Works from Wood, Loveland
  • Ironwork: L&L Ornamental Iron, Cleves
  • Yard: Richter Landscaping, Monroe

This is part of a series, called Home Tour, in which WCPO contributor Brent Coleman opens the front door to historic, unique, luxurious or just darned interesting homes in the Tri-State. Join him on the tour every Friday.

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