A contemporary condo tucked away in an old Italian Village warehouse
East Prescott Street would be better described as an alleyway. The narrow Italian Village street runs east from North High Street for only a few blocks before it dead-ends at a metalwork factory that's been in business since 1885. From its open garage door, the clangs of sheet metal and shrill buzz of a steel welder resonate into the grungy, industrial neighborhood. A few lots down, wedged between two small and boxy houses, there's a squat red-and-white brick building, another warehouse space that now appears to be abandoned and forgotten. But a set of three sleek garage doors, each marked by a manicured nub of landscaping, at 68 E. Prescott St. begs a second look.
The warehouse, a rectangular structure, was raised on the small plot of grass around 1905. At one point early in its history, horse-drawn carriages were built inside, according to one local business owner. More recently, it was home to Auto Plating of Ohio, a company that specialized in chrome plating for cars-repairing bumpers and tire rims and the like. The space was grimy, dingy and dark.
That was before Bruce Shumard and Eddie Hambrick purchased the property and built three stylish condos inside. When the developers, who already lived in the neighborhood, happened upon the lot for sale in 2006, the plating business was barely operating, the building's roof was collapsing and its foundation was crumbling. They enlisted architecture firm Urban Order to interpret their vision and breathe new life into the beat-down space. The resulting three modern condo lofts perfectly juxtapose sleek and contemporary finishes with industrial and rustic details.
Each unit is positioned parallel to the street. To create a breezy walkway from the street to each condo, architects removed a portion of the original roof and replaced it with a partially open ceiling. A cobblestone walkway lined with foliage and stones runs along the inner edge of the building's left-hand side, guiding visitors along the original brick wall, though it's now dotted with windows. The landscaping and ample light create the illusion of being outdoors. Hambrick and Shumard live in the front-most condo, 62 E. Prescott St., which is for sale.
The original building had a saw-tooth roof, a common feature of warehouses and factories built in the early 20th century. Like the tool for which they're named, saw-tooth roofs are jagged, angling upward in sections and then dropping down, allowing for several panels of windows to be installed. This way, natural light could seep into a wide, otherwise windowless factory. Urban Order maintained this architectural feature, which dictates the design of Hambrick and Shumard's two-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot condo. Angled ceilings rise from 12 to 18 feet high in the master bedroom, living room and kitchen, each peaking with a row of windows. The shape of the roof also created space for two lofts, each with an adjacent full bathroom-one is an office above the master bedroom, and the other is a second bedroom above the kitchen and dining room. Despite the open layout, individual rooms still feel private.
The only room that isn't bathed in light is a small one adjacent to the kitchen. It could be a third bedroom, but the owners use it as a media room, making the darkness ideal.
With concrete floors, copious glass, stainless-steel appliances and marble and quartz countertops, this angular condo feels clean and sophisticated. But bits of history remain, injecting some warmth into an otherwise cool vibe. When Shumard and Hambrick purchased the building, its wood and steel beams were in place but not structurally sound. So once new support beams were installed throughout the condo, they were encased with the hollowed-out originals. The result is dark wood and tarnished metal loosen the monochromatic tone with punchy, rustic detail.
An obvious concern with homes that feature high ceilings and lofted rooms is utility costs. But hot water weaves through coils beneath the concrete floor, heating the surface as well as the condo. The owners have hardly needed to turn on the central heat, though they do utilize the central air conditioning that runs through exposed aluminum vents.
Perhaps most striking is the private outdoor courtyard. The roof that once covered this block of space was removed during the renovation, and now sunlight pours over a colorful garden. Of the yard's four sides, one is brick and three are walls of glass windows, each equipped with sliding doors. It's not often you find such an inviting space in the center of a warehouse.
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