There’s a certain amount of nostalgia these days for 1950’s suburbs when men were men and ladies mopped linoleum floors in white pumps and pearls. I’m not entirely sure that world ever really existed precisely the way it was portrayed on black and white television, but we seem to want it to be true. Here … Continue reading The Ghost of Mamie Eisenhower
Last year I engaged in a failed attempt to renovate and expand an old house in an 1890’s era neighborhood in Ohio. It ended badly. So I thought I’d do a follow up on what actually does work given the legal parameters and cultural context. I sold the house to a smart young local guy … Continue reading Doing What Actually Works
Last year I bought a $15,000 uninhabitable house in Cincinnati, Ohio. The copper had been stripped out and no one had lived there for years. This was on a street where a third of the homes were in similar condition. When I told people here in California there were a few raised eyebrows. I shrugged. … Continue reading Lessons Learned
Colerain Township, Ohio has a problem and it knows it. Here are two images that sum up both the problem and the attempted solution. As perhaps the world’s most lapsed Catholic I still instantly recognized this rusty bit of iron for what it is. It’s a relic. A talisman. It’s a distant cousin three times … Continue reading The Talisman of Colerain Township
The Mayans and Egyptians built pyramids. The Chinese built the Great Wall and armies of clay soldiers. The Khmer built temples in the jungle. Americans build highways. It’s our state religion. The federal government conjures up money out of the ether and funnels cash through multiple layers of state and local agencies – each getting … Continue reading Our State Religion
I’ve heard it called Beer Oriented Development. The concept is simple enough. There’s a strong demand for gathering places where people can come together and enjoy being part of the larger community and feel welcomed. It’s a bit like church. A beer hall has the potential to do a disproportionate amount of heavy lifting for a … Continue reading Beer Church
Last year I was looking at property in the Cincinnati area. I realized that many of the old forlorn city neighborhoods were rapidly coming back to life and this was a good time to buy and improve property. I found a small historic building with a shop on the ground floor and three apartments upstairs. … Continue reading Who Really Controls Which House You Buy?