Victorian secrets

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Great neighborhoods have been a subject of much conversation as Columbus gains national media attention, and one of its signature residential nooks will be on display this weekend during the Victorian Village Tour of Homes & Gardens.

The 34th-annual showcase starts at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, and will highlight vintage homes, new builds, the newly renovated King Avenue Methodist Church and many amenities of the nearby Short North.

Rob Pettit and Chris Stenger have seen the neighborhood come together since moving to 1029 Neil Ave. in 1993.

"We bought when the getting was good," Stenger said with a laugh. "Now you can't touch the houses for what we paid."

During 15 years, the pair has overhauled their bargain find. They've converted a first-floor photo studio into living space, built a second-floor suite and turned the attic into a family room, bedroom and bathroom.

"The unique feature of our house is that it transitions as you go up levels," Stenger added of the 3,800-square-foot residence. "It starts in a masculine Victorian style. The second floors are pretty transitional, and the third floor is very contemporary."

Newcomers like Bill Heffner also are falling for a historic neighborhood with modern convenience.

"I'm very glad about where I am right now," he said of residing along Goodale Park. "You couldn't live at a better place."

Purchased last May, his house at 104 Buttles Ave. features two bedrooms, a workout area and three-and-a-half bathrooms.

Taking over a nice structure that wasn't quite decked out, he began to repaint, alter tile, change lighting and sconces and install new amenities in the bathrooms. Brazilian cherry floors, mirrors and a new fireplace were added - as were a pair of flat-screen TVs on each floor.

"I always wanted to live on the water," he said. "Now if I look out my balcony, I overlook the fountain in Goodale Park. And I don't have to pay for the landscaping."