Monday, January 5, 2015

Your Chance to own a piece of Decorative Arts History

For only the third time in its history, the Nagele Merz house is offered for sale.

This was a most difficult decision on our part but the increasing demands of our consulting business and the opening of our new Historic Design Center in 2015 and the expansion of our antiques business, we simply do not have the time, and energy, to devote to its continued restoration.

The home was near extinction in late 2008 when we bought it and certainly had we not bought it, it would not be standing today and certainly its artistic treasure , the RARE Neo Grec Stenciling, would never have seen the light of day and the neighborhood around it would not be experiencing the rebirth it is enjoying. What restoration work has been done? Well as you can see from the above photo, a LOT! The 1920's siding has been completely removed. The overgrown landscaping has been removed.  Dozens of trees and scrub bushes and truckloads of weeds and honeysuckle were removed. The retaining wall was re-laid, thousands of hours spent to date getting the grounds back.

Excavation  of the sunken garden begun, with re-creation of the pond.

Planting thousands of dollars worth of bulbs and plantings. The later addition side porch was removed and a new period appropriate front porch created.

Inside: all the old ductwork has been removed and rerun, Wiring has been carefully fished through existing plaster walls so the home can be upgraded to 200 amp service and be trouble free. New Pex plumbing has been run and is ready for connection to manifolds, The upstairs has been reconfigured to provide for a new master bath and a historic Claw foot tub located for it. The house is largely ready for HVAC installation.

Of course what Nagele-Merz is all about is its Decorative Stenciling. Thousand of hours of work went into removal of old paint layers in the formal parlor and restoration of the stenciled walls. The value of room restorations to date would be well over 20K. The parlor has a new patterned hardwood floor all custom cut and hand laid.

This parlor has a beautifully restored cast iron mantle and custom over-mantle.

There is also a matching valance which has custom period drapes included in the sale.

This room also has a 4 light period chandelier with globes and custom hand-painted ceiling medallion.

The Dining room stenciling is well underway and the new owner will be provided with room set stencils to complete the work. There is a gorgeous muraled  sky ceiling with another hand painted medallion and 5 Globe period Chandelier. the Dining room features a one of a kind cast iron custom faux painted mantle as well. Provided with sale is enough wood flooring to put down another period style floor or you can elect to refinish the wide fir floor.

Period stencil sets will be provided for the upstairs front bedroom due to the losses of plaster have required drywall be used.

The house is ready for an exterior paint touch up and some siding will need be done. The Roof is recent and in great condition. The house had replacement windows installed before we bought it but historic sashes are easy to find locally to go back to original 2 over 2's.

Our plan has been to remove part of rear structure added in 1900 and build a larger kitchen wing but one may elect to stay in the original footprint but some restructuring of the room used as the kitchen would be required. The house originally had a separate brick kitchen. The house sits on a double lot and property taxes on house and lot are less than 100.00 a year. There is more than enough room on the double lot for a new garage

The home is eligible for a 275K 10 year tax abatement offset against any work done that improves its value.

The home will have protective deed covenant essentially requiring all exterior work be done to historic preservation standards and that the front parlor stenciling may not be altered. The home is eligible for National Landmark based on its ownership and the rare decorative stenciling. There I extensive documentation of all restoration work done with over 4000 documentary photos taken during restoration to date.

This home restoration has been covered in detail over the years on the Victorian Antiquities and Design Blog, there have been article's in numerous publications including the Cincinnati Enquirer about the restoration. It has been featured in numerous preservation based forums as well. The home was the centerpiece home of the Knox Hill Preservation Opportunity Home Tour in 2012.

The restoration to date has taken thousands of man hours and could not be duplicated for anywhere near our asking price. The home is offered at 47,500.00 to a preservation minded buyer ready to become the new steward of this historic home and continue its preservation and restoration. More info

If you are a preservation minded buyer who appreciates the historical significance of this home and wants to be part of the renaissance going on in the neighborhood Please contact me for complete information on what has been done to date and what remains to be done.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nagele-Merz House History

The Second Empire Cottage at the corner of Knox and McBrayer was constructed 1870-1871 and was built as a weekend cottage for the Kinsey family .Originally two rooms on the first floor, a formal Parlor and Dining room, and two bedrooms on the second floor. Behind the main house was a second structure a "summer kitchen" and a small stable. The Kinsley family owned one of the larger tracts of farmland that eventually became the Knox Hill Neighborhood. Sometime around 1887-1888 the weekend cottage was sold to Antone Nagele, the homes best known owner. Antone and Anna Nagele had immigrated from Germany and settled in Cincinnati.
Many of the weekend cottages were sold off and became year round residences after a fire at the "Schuetzen Verein" A German social club with a shooting range ("Schuetzenbuckle") and beer garden. The High Gothic structure had an elaborate veranda addition added to take in the view and a huge tower was constructed on top of the structure. The former site is now Christian park.
Antone Nagele was the owner of Nagele Cut Stone Works, which was located at 2186 Western Avenue. Nagele Cut Stone Works was responsible for stone work on a number of local Cincinnati residences , churches and commercial structures.
Nagele expanded the cottage with an addition of a Day Parlor on the first floor (that eventually was converted into a kitchen) after the summer kitchen was no longer used for that purpose. The second Floor housed a third bedroom for the ever growing Nagele family. It is believed that Nagele constructed the stone front retaining walls and steps, which is of a different construction and style of most of the other retaining walls in the neighborhood. Nagele also 'brought his mistakes' home and the site contained a number of stone lentils used in landscaping and a number of stones have been recovered from the site with lettering, possibly from projects he worked on.
Nagele lived in the house until his death in around 1910, his wife Anna remained in the house until her death . Various family members lived with her in the house during those years. Anna was quite the gardener and devoted much of her time to that pursuit. the site features the remains of a sunken garden on the eastern side lot which was discovered in 2009 and is being restored. The house was also known as "arbor house' for the distinctive Grape arbor pergola that ran from the front gate to the house.

In 1952 The house was sold to Emma Merz, recent documents found have suggested that there may have been some blood relationship between the Merz family and the Nagele. Some out of state cemetery records show the hyphenated Merz-Nagele notably (Naegeli, Lloyd, b. Nov. 29, 1935, d. July 29, 1988, husband of Eileen Naegeli, son of Walter & Emma (Mertz) Naegeli). There are spelling inconsistencies in that record from the Mayer cemetery but if that is the case that Emma Merz was related to the Nagele family (cannot be confirmed), then that would mean the house was essentially in the same family ownership for 120 Years as Emma deeded the house over to family members in 2000 who held it until 2008. By 2008 the once elegant cottage , Home to the Nagele-Merz families for 120 years had fallen into serious disrepair. In fact the house was close to demolition.

The house was built in the Second Empire Style. The house featured a front facing slate mansard roof with a TIN entablature Greek revival style dormer that is typical for this style house in Cincinnati and was likely manufactured by one of the local Cincinnati Tin Works . The house is built in the typical Cincinnati shotgun style with rooms that lead from one to the other.


The home was purchased in 2008 and is undergoing an extensive restoration to Secretary of the interior Historic Preservation Standards and is contributing structure to the Knox Hill Neighborhood of Cincinnati Ohio.
Restoration of the Aesthetic Movement original 2 key door locks

Some of the Antique tools found on site this one was found under stairs

Just some of the Nagele Stonework found on property

Transom restoration

The garden restoration continues March 2009

Discovery of rare historic Neo grec Stencils, found in the front formal parlor in August 2009

Restoration of the Historic Nagele-Merz House continues. Look for future updates!
UPDATES: August 2011: The restoration of the parlor is nearly complete with the restoration of the neo grec stencilling which was restored in a new colorway. A new inlaid hardwood floor has been installed and is ready for finishing, and will be, when the dining room is installed: