our favorite things - 5th anniversary edition! 


my dad and his parents, circa 1950. I'm sure my grandfather was happier than he looks :)As we give thanks for family, health, friends and our loyal clients, we also know it’s time to start holiday shopping!  In case you have that cool but hard to buy for friend or family member, or are looking for things for your own wish list, here is our 5th annual installment of our Cincinnatimodern's Favorite Things.  And if nothing here fits the bill, check out our previous lists from 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.  Many of these gifts have made their way to hall of fame status.  Happy Holidays to you and yours and Happy Shopping! Thank you all for another great year! 

casetify phone case 

I’m a sucker for photo gifts, and I’m also very particular about my phone cases.  These high quality cases get an A+ on both counts.  Choose one of their designs or customize your own on their fun and easy website.


kid made modern craft kits

We first fell in love with these Kid Made Modern kits a couple of years ago when Todd Oldham brought us Charley Harper crafts.  This year’s selection brings a modern architecture kit for ages 6 years AND UP! 


midcentury modern coloring books 

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy coloring.  Unplug and de-stress with this cool series of books.  


drip module modern pet bowls

Let’s not forget that our furry family members can be stylish, too!  


wendy magee photography gift certificate

From ‘Santa Sessions’ in a midcentury modern house to natural light outside family photos, good photography is priceless, and Wendy has a great eye to capture personality.


harper pillows 

The options for Harper gifts are almost endless.  In addition to those items on our lists from previous years, we chose a few unique items to highlight here.  But do yourself a favor and wander into a Cincinnati location of Fabulous Frames and Art and check out their incredible Harper selection.  These pillows are particularly lovely and are very good quality! 


smartwool harper apparel

We’ve always been a fan of Smartwool socks, so we were super stoked when they announced their Harper knitwear line!  Sure, $25 is a lot for a pair of socks, but even the modern lover who has everything probably doesn’t have these!  


harper bubble umbrellas

Pretty sure this umbrella was our idea, as in “why don’t they make harper umbrellas?”  Sure enough, they partnered with locally owned Totes to come out with quite possibly the coolest - and best quality - umbrellas we have ever seen!  


custom glass from hunky dory studio

Being from Toledo (glass capitol of the world), I have always been fascinated with glass.  They even had glass blowing at our local mall when I was a kid.  So the unique art glass  gifts from the Cincinnati studio of our friend Amy Flesher are right up my alley!  I especially love the coral inspired fused glass bowl that comes in several colors.  Original art at a bargain price!  She'll be at the crafty supermarket (see below). 


alexander girard scarf

Y’all know how we love the Miller House.  Well, this scarf is based on the house’s Girard designed entry rug, brought to us by our friend Jenny Geiger from the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Can’t go wrong with a design by the master of textiles! 


custom address stamps

I’ve always been obsessed with stationery, dating back to the sealing wax trend of the 70’s.  These modern self inking stamps are much more practical and a super easy way announce your address in style!  


hip haven mini bullet planter 

A table top version of the popular stand alone planter, this one is metal, and can be used for plants, fruit, or whatever!  


walking cincinnati book 

We were given copy of this book at a Cincinnati Real Estate Ambassador function and have really enjoyed the neighborhood walks.  A great incentive to explore new places and get up close and personal with some awesome historic Cincinnati homes.  Walks are rated by difficulty. Get your copy locally at Park + Vine or Joseph Beth.  


bad habit caramels

If you need to send the obligatory edible gift, why not shake it up a little and send some hand made caramels? These are buttery and delicious, without being too sticky. Made by Cincinnati native Cami Ross, now living in Ypsilanti, MI.  


ugg slippers

If I am ever stranded on a dessert island, I sure hope I have my UGG slippers!  Our family has been UGG connoisseurs for more than 25 years, since my brother sent my son his first boots when he was just a baby.  Long before they were on trend, they kept surfers’ feet warm and dry.  Long after the trend is over, I will still be wearing my UGG slippers!  Sizes available for men, women and kids.  


And don't miss these local Cincinnati shopping opportunities:

crafty supermarket Nov. 28 @ Music Hall


city flea small mall Nov. 29 @ 21c Hotel

Happy Holidays!



one small step for man, one giant leap for cincinnati

the newly uncovered Charley Harper's Space Walk. click on image above for a quick video of the restoration shown at the november 10, 2015 unveiling ceremony at the Duke Energy Center.

As Cincinnati Real Estate ambassadors (both named by the mayor and self proclaimed), Arlen and I have reveled in the great strides our city has taken in recent years in reclaiming our largest historic neighborhood, our riverfront, and just last week, our public art.  This latest step has put us over the moon with excitement!  And since this momentous occasion was largely snubbed by the local media who it seems would rather cover the bad or controversial news, we wanted to bring this great story to you. 

As Mayor John Cranley put it at last week’s unveiling, “we all made fashion mistakes in the ’80’s,” and 2 very large commissioned works by well known Cincinnati artist Charley Harper were entombed behind drywall at the Cincinnati Convention Center (later Duke Energy Center) in 1987.  No doubt the black and vibrant primary colored ceramic mosaic work clashed with the teal and peach color scheme of the day.  Cincinnati, we have a problem!  

The mural in two sections, each measuring 15 ft high and 30 ft wide, was Harper’s interpretation of the first space walk by Ohio native Neil Armstrong.  They were installed in 1970 in the then new east lobby, over the entry doors to the main exhibit hall.  According to Brett Harper, they are his dad’s only non representational works besides some of his student pieces from his days at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  Harper’s posthumous trajectory in fame was catapulted into the stratosphere first after Todd Oldham’s book, Charley Harper, An Illustrated Life was published in 2007, and most recently with Jason Schwartzman’s incredible interpretation of his work in LumenoCity 2014.  Now, finally, after 10 years of grass roots efforts by Brett Harper, cf3, Duke Energy Convention Center General Manager Ric Booth, Oldham, Chris Seelbach, Artworks, and the people of Cinicnnati, the time was right and the money was available to correct this backward step.  

We were fortunate enough to be invited to the unveiling and to meet the wonderful fellow ‘Harper-ite,’ well known graphic, industrial and fashion designer, Todd Oldham and his partner Tony Longoria.  We had a lovely conversation about the man we all knew and loved.  When the curtains came down and the works were revealed, there was barely a dry eye in the house.  Moments like this make me not only proud to be a Cincinnatian, but so grateful that we live in a city that not only appreciates, but has learned to embrace its public art.  

Can’t help but look up at these celestial works and wonder not only what Charley was thinking when he designed them, but if he is looking down on us now, with his trademark smile and larger than life sense of humor.  

~Susan Rissover

click on photo above for short video of the unveiling. Here, Tony Longoria and Todd Oldham seeing the mural in person for the first time right after the curtains came down.

me and my friend David Smith, cf3 liaison to the mural project.

me and my new bestie, Todd Oldham, sharing a love of all things harper.

the Duke Energy Center all dressed in its finest for the unveiling gala


the lobby of the convention center as it appeared in 1970. I think we can all agree that the remodeling that has taken place since has been a backward step!The Space Walk murals are available for the public to see anytime the lobby at the Duke Energy Center is open. There is another 'public' Harper mosaic mural in Cincinnati at the John Weld Peck Federal Building on the corner of 5th and Walnut. Just go through heavy security (i/e undergo an almost strip search) and you can walk right in. Photography is no longer allowed in the building for security reasons. Here is a stock image of the breathtaking artwork. Make it an outing and go see both. You won't be disappointed!

city beat article about the restoration

city of cincinnati - duke energy center  - harper murals


work where you live

Although we are part of Keller Williams Advisors, and use the office there for meetings and closings, our 'real' office is at home.  I'll be honest, as I type this I am sitting on the couch in my Family Room.  I can also be found, in my jammies, captioning a visual tour in bed.  But in this age of portable technology, it's still important to have that organized area that houses office supplies, important files, and the trusty printer/scanner.  Our office is in our walkout lower level.  It was originally a second kitchen.  For us, it made way more sense to use the space as an office.  

making curtains out of 'pezzy' fabric purchased from sewn in oakley. they were inspired by the black and white curtains in roger sterling's office on mad men.

So, for the first time ever, I am sharing pics of our office.  Furniture is Techline (readily avialable and customizable when we bought our house and designed the office in the 90's), chairs are Knoll, floor is Congoleum VCT, light is George Nelson (purchased at one of those great DWR warehouse sales) and I made the curtains from fabric purchased at Sewn in Oakley.  But my favorite part is the FLOR carpet tiles.  We have these all over our house and the uses and combinations are endless.  Every time I walk in this room, the FLOR rug makes me smile :)

Here's a great chance to try FLOR (warning, it's addictive!).  Click this link for 20% off! 

and visit this old blog post for more FLOR inspiration




back to the future......

arlen and me outside our OTR apartment in 1985

As Arlen and I approach our 30th wedding anniversary this September, it is only natural to look back and reminisce.  Not surprisingly, much has changed since we walked down the aisle in our finest 80’s attire.  But the strange twists, turns and coincidences are what keep us going.  We also share this 30th anniversary with one of our favorite movies, Back to the Future, and we are just a couple months away from the ‘future’ day depicted in the movie trilogy, when hoverboards are the preferred method of personal transportation, and communications are still sent via fax.  As with any prediction of the future, some things are close, but most of the forecast is way off base.   

In our business, we have had the great pleasure of selling many architectural gems, designed with the finest materials of their time by forward thinking designers for their equally forward thinking clients.  Often we criticize them in retrospect, instead of appreciating the progressive original intent.  I have made it a personal quest to try to understand the original intent of every home I have had the pleasure of representing, and to urge buyers to not make any changes until the home has had a chance to reveal itself.  

One of the greatest treasures we run across is the original ephemera that often accompanies architecturally designed properties.  Original concept drawings, spec sheets, blueprints, newspaper clippings.  And in the case of our upcoming condo listing overlooking downtown, the original sales brochure with the architect/developer/builder’s dream all laid out in “black and white.”   

What makes this particular brochure even more special is that it is from the building right above the building that we lived in when we got married in 1985.  We were pioneers of sorts, living in OTR well before it was known by the acronym.  It was when ‘Over the Rhine’ was said under your breath to the gasps of those around.  And where there was still build able city view properties.  We lived on a small section of segmented Ohio Avenue in a recently rehabbed 1890’s Italianate multi family building.  Our landlord lived in a house next door, one of Cincinnati’s first AIDS victims lived downstairs, and a friendly Appalachian family lived across the street.  There were winos on the corner.  We were within walking distance of Findlay Market, which had fallen out of favor at that time, and I’m embarrassed to admit that we never once walked there.   

In the midst of the urban mish-mosh that this part of OTR was in the mid ’80’s, there was a modern beacon on the hill above us in University Heights, off of an upper section of Ohio Avenue.  A then new condo building that appeared to jut right out of the hillside, with unobstructed city views.  Some day, we thought.  Some day! 


Well, that day has come.  Not to live there, but to sell a wonderful condo in The Elysian Cliff Condominiums  - the state of the art dream of architect Peter Seidel in the early 1980’s.  Where you could live in close density, near work, shopping and recreation.  Where each condo could be unique and special and private, but you could walk a few short blocks to Findlay Market, or up a stairway to the amazing Bellevue Hill Park. “The concept - maximize a unique setting at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on a verdant cliff, 250 ft. above the city.  Fashion new space to compliment a rustic setting, within eye shot and walking distance of the city’s core.  Conjure a condominium that masters light, air and energy efficiency and minimum maintenance.”


It’s a chance to realize the forward thinking vision of one man, and live the dream of being very close to the city that one day in the future, he knew people would embrace.  Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.  Just one really cool building at a time.  


~Susan Rissover

for more information on the Elysian Cliff Condominium, contact us directly at

 or 513-886-7841


where are the listings?

Inventory continues to be at historic lows.  If you are in the market to buy this year, be ready to jump when your dream house hits the market (or even before!) - buyers must be very competitive in this seller's market!  Ask us how!

Sneak preview of an upcoming listing......


midcentury ranch in amberley village. this one has it all!

the family room in the same amberley village ranch. check out the pecky cypress paneling!