Wednesday, March 10, 2004

From horse stable to estate

The historic 1890s former carriage house of the Wiedemann Mansion is being transformed into a nearly $1 million home

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The exterior of the Wiedemann Mansion carriage house under renovation in Newport shows signs of its future as a home.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/PATRICK REDDY
The view of the Cincinnati skyline through the great room window of the Wiedemann Mansion carriage house gives an indication of its future price tag: nearly $1 million.

NEWPORT - Television shows like Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition could learn a few things from builder Jim Stegman and his crew.

Stegman, the Fort Thomas operator of a home construction and restoration business, has taken on one of the toughest jobs of his 20-year career. He's transforming a historic 1890s former carriage house into a nearly $1 million home.

"Oh, yeah," Stegman said as he gave a tour of Wiedemann Mansion carriage house Tuesday in Newport. "This has been a tough one."

But by June, Stegman says the hillside structure that once housed the horses and carriages for the wealthy beer-brewing family will house three bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 3,500 square feet and under two stories with unimpeded views of the Newport's basin neighborhoods, the Ohio River Valley and downtown Cincinnati.

Real estate broker Terry Rasche plans to list the restored property for $925,000.

"It's an historic property with a view," said Rasche, who lives in nearby Woodlawn. "That's what people are looking for these days."

The home is part of the project known as Wiedemann Estates, a collection of upscale homes being built off Park Avenue and on the grounds of the Wiedemann Mansion.

Dale McPherson of Signatures Homes in Florence is developing the project, which will feature new homes by some of Northern Kentucky's best-known custom builders, including Stegman, Doug Cull and Tim Burks.

All of the homes feature views and are likely to cost $1 million and more, Rasche said. Each will also be built in architectural styles popular from 1890 to 1925. A home show will be held in about a year, he said.

Last fall, when Stegman began working on the project, the carriage house was showing its age. Part of the building collapsed shortly after work started and a lot of time was needed "just to shore it up."

"What really made it tough," he said, "is that we were converting a former stable into a house. It's taken a lot of imagination."

The carriage house is adjacent to the Wiedemann Mansion. The home was built in the mid-1890s for the Wiedemann family, the owners and operators of a Newport brewery.

Both the home and the carriage house were designed by renowned Cincinnati architect Samuel Hannaford, whose work also includes Cincinnati City Hall, The Emery Auditorium and The Cincinnatian Hotel.

The home will feature historic church pews for seating in one room, a gazebo and deck, a great room with a bar and a two-car garage.

Stegman has also tried to maintain as much of the original structure as possible, including windows and wood finishings. But in some cases that was more difficult.

For instance, some of the original dentil molding is still intact on the outside of the building. Stegman wanted to be consistent and install the molding elsewhere on the house, but the type used on the original carriage house is no longer made.

So his company made the molding at his Newport shop.

"We want to maintain as many of the original touches as we could," Stegman said. "But this building is over 100 years old, so sometimes we had to be a little creative."


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