Monday, May 04, 2009

Other People's Lives

I've been touring homes since I was, like, four.

My memory recalls a time when my parents dragged me to a spectacular For Sale home on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis. An eye for real estate (my dad has said he dreamed of being a land baron), my parents have always scouted out property, making note of design trends and aesthetics.

When we moved to Cincinnati, we'd comb through new subdivisions for homes that were almost completely built but unlocked and easily accessible. If the front door was locked, my parents would check the windows and sometimes hoist my seven-year-old self through the window and ask me to go unlock the door.

There's one house in particular where I distinctly remember squatting under the deck because the plumbing wasn't working, and I really needed a potty break.

All of this vague B and E happened way before people stole copper pipe out of constructions sites.

This was when yuppies broke into homes to admire berber and built-in bookcases.

While Mom and Dad inspected wainscoting, bead board, hardwood and landscaping, I was running from room to room imagining a life that involved an in-ground pool and a bedroom with my own bathroom.

Years later, I still get worked up over a good house tour.

I try to make a point of cruising through the annual Homearama tour, if only to inspect disgusting conspicuous consumption and the latest trends in McMansionry. I imagine being the kept-woman-of-the-house and all the various scenarios where a full kitchen is a necessary feature for the master bedroom.

My favorite tours, though, involve homes with a little history.

Whether in Williamsburg or Newport (that's VA and RI, respectively, not Clermont and Campbell counties), there's something about inspecting an old house with a past and the craftsmanship that went into making the homes of yesteryear. I feel like a home tells me a story when I step on creaky staircase boards and turn polished brass or crystal doorknobs. My brain envisions Jay Gatsby hosting a party or the cast of Clue thick in the middle of a murder mystery, with a horrific crime going down right in the butler's pantry.

I can't wait to feel and hear the stories of Clifton.

The Clifton House Tour flings open its doors this Sunday, giving people a rare chance to explore nine homes from the 1800s to the 1950s.

Every third year on Mother's Day, a group of Clifton homeowners give people a chance to peek inside their homes and explore a little Cincinnati history. This year people can inspect a variety of architecture styles, including Victorian, American Four-Square, Tudor and Frank Lloyd Wright.

I am DYING to see a FLR - and I imagine I'm not the only one.

By the way, I think I said this happens only every third year, didn't I?

Over the years gracious homeowners have showcased 62 Clifton properties, a true testament to the community atmosphere and the appreciation these folks have for their neighborhood.

A free shuttle is available at four area parking lots: Clifton Merchant's Lot (Howell Ave.), Fairview-Clifton German Language School and Clifton Recreation Center (both at the corner of Clifton and McAlpin Aves.) and the Annunciation Church (Resor and Clifton Aves.).

The tour runs this Sunday, May 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 on the day of the tour.

You can purchase tickets in advance at any of these Ludlow Ave. merchants: Columbia Savings Bank, Esquire Theatre, Ludlow Wines, Olive’s, Skyline Chili and U.S. Bank.

You can also buy tickets at or by phone at 513-861-2000.

One lucky KRM reader will win a pair of tickets to the Clifton House Tour. If you're interested in participating, please leave a comment about your dream historic house and the name of the actor who would play you in a movie about the home's era.

Good luck!!


FoodHussy said...

It would be a Frank Lloyd Wright house and Drew Barrymore would play me...

LMJ said...

So glad I caught this blog post. Clifton is my "dream" neighborhood and I search real estate listings almost everyday!

I'm looking forward to the tour. Hope to see you there :)