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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 susan@cincinnatimodern.com

 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!



come see us at the show this weekend!  booth W8.  please stop by and introduce yourself if we have not already met.  



market 411


our new listing in wyoming....

So far the 2015 market is shaping up to be a continuation of what we were experiencing in 2014 with a few differences.  So here’s what’s going on in cincinnatimodern land (and beyond) as we see it:

  • inventory continues to be at historic lows.  Prices are starting to climb (in most areas), but slowly.  Interest rates are back down to historic lows as well.  This is creating a bonafide SELLERS MARKET.
  • It’s a great time to buy if you are 1. patient. 2. pre approved for a mortgage and 3. have a strategy.  This is where it pays to work with agents (like us) who can lead you to a good lender, supply you with listings the minute they hit the market (or before), and know how to negotiate in multiple offer situations!  
  • FHA has just substantially lowered the rate for its mortgage insurance, making it possible for many people to buy who previously thought they couldn’t qualify.  It’s certainly worth a conversation with a knowledgable lender if you are thinking of buying any time in the near future.  It does not cost anything to ask!  For mortgage information and or preapprovals, contact Shawn Huss at Talmer Bank 513-703-6489.
  • We are seeing the most demand for modern houses in the $150,000 - $400,000 range.  We get calls regularly from other agents asking if we have anything coming to market for their clients.  But OUR CLIENTS get first priority when we know of modern listings coming.  It’s one of the benefits of working with us as your buyer’s agent.  And it doesn’t cost you a thing.  Why leave home buying to chance in such a competitive market?  
  • It’s also a great time to SELL (see above).  We had many deals last year that were bid well over asking price.  IF your house is in great condition and you price it at (or just below) market value, you have the best chance of getting the highest price.  Price a house too high and no one takes it seriously.  
  • Many sellers think you should wait until Spring to list, but the best time to list in this market is NOW!  Winter traditionally has the lowest inventory, AND we are in an inventory slump.  There are rabid buyers just waiting to pounce on new listings right now (no offense to any of our rabid buyers :)! 

We also have big changes coming to cincinnatimodern.com in the next month as we roll out our newly designed website (yay)!  And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 20th Century Cincinnati Show on February 21 and 22.  Stop by and see us there - we’d love to talk about your buying or selling needs, or just gab about modern homes! 



cincinnatimodern's favorite things - part IV

christmas at our house, circa 1957. photo courtesy of the pressler family

Just in time for the shopping season, here is our 4th annual installment of our favorite things -  gift ideas for modern design lovers!  

vince guaraldi trio - a charlie brown christmas

my favorite album of all time. i limit listening to nov. and dec. every year and i never tire of it. i even had this one on vinyl. vince guaraldi must have been the coolest cat of all time. genius. classic!


birds and words by charley harper

the 40th anniversary reissue of the 1974 classic. It was so popular that ALL of the original copies were stolen from the cincinnati and hamilton county public libraries. time to get your own copy!

harper christmas tile

love this never before seen harper design. his depiction of people in his artwork always makes me laugh.

ekko workshop mobile

this was a gift from my friend jenny and not only do i love the shapes, but somehow the white on white just pops in our hallway. it comes in other colors, too!

cincinnati zoo/ museum center / cincinnati art museum / contemporary arts center memberships

 cincinnati zoo membership - it's the gift that keeps on giving!

modkat litterbox

ok - this one is a little pricey, but pets appreciate good design, too. well at least some do! this was a gift from a client whose cat refused to use it. as you can see here, our little guys are more than willing to try something new!

dansk kobenstyle cookware

designed in 1956 by jens H. quistgaard, this genius design has lids that double as trivets. we have a couple of vintage pieces that belonged to arlen's mom and they are a bit less than perfect after all these years, but still gorgeous.  

chemex coffee maker

no, starbucks did not invent the 'pour over.' dr. peter schlumbohm phd did in 1941 with his sexy chemex coffee maker. part of the permanent design collection of the MOMA. it's on display on our kitchen counter as well.

hood map from mica 12/v

maybe it's because we're realtors and we love maps, but this bit of hometown pride kind of says it all. designed by artist sarah hyland and sold at our favorite hometown gift shop. it's yet another reason to to go otr (or something to do while you are waiting for a table).

fern studio

college hill's fern studio has gorgeous modern plants, pots and air plants. perfect hostess gifts. because who couldn't use a cool plant?!

cincinnati anthology by zan mcquade

nice collection of cincinnati essays. click on image above for review.


this modern reproduction mailbox is like having a modern sculpture in your yard! lovely range of colors to match the original eichler color palette from benjamin moore. a tad pricy, but what a statement!

Hope this list of things we love helps to inspire you.  For more ideas, check out our 2011,  2012, and 2013 favorite things lists as well.  

And don't miss local shopping opportunities like the City Flea Small Mall and Mica 12/v (see above).  And our personal favorite, museum gift shops - Cincinnati Art Muesum Shop, Contemporary Arts Center Gift Shop and the amazing Indianapolis Museum of Art Museum Store (just an hour and a half up the road.  fab selection of jewelry - it totally puts our museum shop to shame!)  Happy Holidays!