A Victorian Village Home Offers Period Charm With Updates and an Outdoor Oasis

Rob and Beth Vogt's Park Street home was lovingly restored in the 1990s. Now, modern updates complement the classic elements.

Teresa Woodard
The Victorian Village home of Rob and Beth Vogt, which the couple bought in 1990. The landscape was designed by Greg Krobot.

Longtime Victorian Village residents Rob and Beth Vogt delighted in sharing their beautifully restored, 134-year-old Queen Anne home during last year’s Short North Home & Garden Tour. Meeting as students at Ohio State University, the two have become big neighborhood champions after spending 40 years in the community.

“We love our proximity to Goodale Park,” says Rob. “We’re just steps away from 25 restaurants; walk to hockey, baseball and OSU games; bike the Olentangy Trail; and kayak on the river. We have all that and live in this historic home, too.”

The couple’s first home was on East First Street for seven years, and now they have been at their current location for 32 years. When the couple first stepped into the well-worn Park Street home in 1990, it had been divided into five apartments. Undaunted, they looked past the cut-up spaces and dreamed of converting the home back to a single-family residence.

“It was the staircase that first caught Beth’s eye,” says Rob. The massive L-shaped stairway crowns the narrow foyer with a detailed balustrade, hand-carved newels and oak panels. Within the house, they discovered more treasures—four original fireplaces,ornate ceiling medallions, carved moldings, decorative glass windows and hidden pocket doors.

Outside, they fell in love with the home’s classic Victorian elements including an asymmetrical façade, multiple gables, ornate brackets and decorative brickwork. They admired a giant white oak that shaded the backyard and was likely planted decades before the home was built in 1888 for the Gregg family.

The couple learned the home had gone through foreclosure years ago and was then owned by the former White Cross Hospital, which used it to host classes for its medical school.

When the Vogts moved in and started renovations, they tackled the interior first, hiring a carpenter for the structural elements and trim work. They took on refinishing, painting, hand stenciling and wallpapering projects themselves. Along the way, they uncovered more gems such as the signature of a wallpaper hanger, dated 1889, which was discreetly tucked in a corner. In time, they gave the home modern updates, turning a fourth bedroom into a master bathroom and transforming a sitting room into a large walk-in closet. They also updated the kitchen and converted to gas-fueled fireplaces, making it easier to enjoy them throughout each winter.

Over the years, they have filled the rooms with family heirlooms and antiques. A Rosewood sofa and side chair from Rob’s grandmother fit perfectly in the parlor alongside an 1820s grandfather clock, game table and hutch from Beth’s family. More antique furnishings and a collection of eight mechanical clocks fill other rooms.

“My dad would say historic clocks give rooms a pulse and bring life to them,” says Rob, who faithfully winds the clocks every five days.

At Christmas, they decorate the home in era-appropriate Victorian style with trees in nearly every room, displays on mantles and a dinner table set with antique dishes for as many as 18.

“I love the holidays and totally decorate the house to the nines,” says Beth, who especially cherishes her holiday collections of Victorian ornaments and postcards.

Outside, the first thing they added was a garage, designed to resemble a small accessory barn traditionally painted red. They recreated the home’s original four porches using historic images to replicate its gables and brackets.

“We were up on ladders stripping paint from the gables,” says Rob. They finished the exterior trim in pink to match the sandstone and lintels. Dark green accents were also added.

For the roof, they restored the home’s original slate roof and retained its decorative pattern. They considered removing a rear addition of the home until they found an 1892 edition of the Lantern campus newspaper tucked in a wall and realized the intrinsic value of keeping the historic addition. They kept it, then added a back door and deck to connect the elevated area to the ground below.

“Although decks aren’t Victorian, we gave it balusters and a railing to make it fit,” says Rob.

In 2008, they added a paver patio in the open space between the home and garage. It is now supported with a retaining wall covered in Boston ivy. Landscape architect Greg Krobot, another Victorian Village resident, created a master plan for the patio area and lawn. He designed spaces around their inherited landscape elements including a semi-circular path in front, tree bump outs into the alley (once planted with elms), and a host of plants the previous owners had rescued from neighboring houses before the land was sold off to developers.

A dawn redwood posed a challenge in the middle of the back yard. While it was only 7 feet high and newly planted, it was projected to grow 50 feet and would take over the patio.

“The metal basket was still around the root ball,” says Rob. So, they decided to move it to the front yard, and today it stands as tall as the three-story house. At the rear of the home, they added a 7-foot cypress tree alongside the garage to screen the view of a telephone pole. Twelve years later, it is 30 feet tall.

“It creates a green oasis here like we’re in nature,” says Rob.

Krobot recommended an initial palette of perennials including many natives, and Beth and Rob have since added to the mix. Over the years, they found some selections failed while others were a success and even multiplied.

“That’s the sort of fun of the garden,” says Rob, pointing to the backyard’s bleeding hearts that surprisingly appeared in the front yard one spring.

Today, a massive perennial border truly shines along the front brick walkway. Here, Queen of the Prairie, day lilies, globe thistle, catmint, bee balm and colorful annuals welcome guests and passersby.

“We are outdoors every night in the spring, summer and fall,” says Rob. “We enjoy grilling and eating dinner on the patio. “There’s no better place for a cigar and scotch.”

For Beth, who owns Over the Counter Restaurant in Worthington, there’s no better atmosphere for entertaining friends and family. A low country boil cooked and served outdoors is a summer highlight.

“I really love the intimate garden setting, the night-time lighting and the peacefulness even just a block off High Street,” says Beth. “It makes for a delightful place in the evenings.”

This story is from the September 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.