Cincinnati Design Awards by Keren Kabo

Our winner of the night: The Hi-Mark Bar

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Once again we are honored to have been a part of the Cincinnati Design Awards evening – and flattered that it won a Merit Award for its unique design and preservation qualities.  We think it serves as a great example of how we work with our obstacles rather than fight it. 

Congratulations to the project team:  Matthew Stoll, Courtney Zunis & Kurt Platte.  You guys rock!

 

Check out the full design awards submission and more photos here:

CDA 2017

Meeting the Mark (Hi-Mark) by Keren Kabo

Photos from The Hi-Mark

Photos from The Hi-Mark

Hi-Mark is one of those projects that feels like it just went on forever, yet the final product was oh-so worth it!  The planning for this project goes back to late 2014 when Nick Motz approached us with an interesting challenge: a dilapidated, historic home in an economically depressed area of the East End that was also part of the restricted flood zone.  We thought it was exactly the sort of crazy, impossible project that we regularly stake our reputation on. The end result is a bar that evokes history, neighborhood vibes, and grit in a one-of-a-kind space. 

Starting with the empty shell of the building, we made the decision to remove the existing floors and shift the first floor up 3 feet. This move solved the problem of being 2' into the flood plain, yet created all sorts of new challenges and interesting conditions.  We cut away portions of of the first floor and a huge section of the 2nd floor to make an upper mezzanine.  By pulling the floors away from the walls, you get little surprises like sunken window sills, peak-throughs, and a floating fire place.  The steel work itself is an impressive feat, executed superbly by our friend Kyle Freeman of Steel-It.  Out back is a new addition that houses the kitchen, cold storage, and the restrooms, as well as a quiet, sunny deck.

It was a very deliberate decision to leave the space as raw as possible, with the original brick, wood joists, mechanical systems, and new steel structure exposed and on full display. This really cements the history of the space, and provided a blank, gritty backdrop for Pho Lang Thang and Eli's to create their concept. This was elemental to their final branding, which references the 1937 flood that came 79.9' above the shores of the Ohio. The name Hi-Mark refers to this historic flood, which is marked on the side of the building, over 10' above the original doorstep.  The space feels almost like it had been wiped away in this flood, only to be rebuilt into the space it is today.

If you ever want to get nerdy with us, this project was a Rubik's Cube of code difficulties.  From the flood zone requirements established by FEMA, to the conversion of an existing residential building into a bar and restaurant, to ADA access and everything in-between.  We learned a lot along the way, and came out the other side knowing way too much about flood-proofing, hydrostatic vs. hydrodynamic forces, and what the B.F.E. is.. (Base Flood Elevation)

It's almost 3 years since it all began, but it's finally open! So go visit, get some chicken wings, play some games, and hang out with a drink on the patio. We promise that when you're there, you won't notice all of those technical issues (we can never escape it though.)  All you'll notice is a neighborhood bar that feels strangely new and old, is both gritty yet smart, and that stands out by feeling like it was always there.

Micro-Condos in OTR by Keren Kabo

EXISTING PHOTOS

Construction at the Stafford project is nearing completion – the project is a mixed-use development combining 3 buildings into a single development, including 11 residential units and several white-boxed commercial spaces. 


EARLY PROCESS PHOTOS

 

At 1233 Walnut, careful removal of several unusable attic spaces allowed us to open up the space and create dramatic lofts units full of light. At 33 East 13th street, existing historic bay windows and brick light-wells allowed for gracious, open kitchen-living-dining rooms, as well as spacious bedrooms with full-height storage and rolling glass doors. 


NEAR COMPLETION PHOTOS

The project also incorporates several micro-units with rolling library ladder storage and built-in millwork. These micros, along with several other loft spaces will be coming online shortly – stay tuned!

 

Fresh Faced! by Keren Kabo

We are so excited to announce that our website is ready to go! We've made a few updates to showcase some of our newer projects better and have also provided a platform to showcase CRASH our drone! Take a look and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on what else we are working on!

Enjoy!

Findlay Project by Black Rock Construction by Keren Kabo

We have been waiting in eager anticipation for one of our prized Findlay projects to wrap up and it looks like our wait is nearly over!

This projects is a residential addition and heavy renovation of a historic 1880’s building in Over-the-Rhine. Though the residence is in the heart of an dense urban neighborhood, it was designed with plenty of outdoor living space as well as ample natural light. The building features modern aesthetics while preserving the building’s historic features. This project will achieve a LEED Platinum rating, the highest rating on the LEED green building rating system. This custom home was designed by us and is being built by our sister company, Blackrock Construction.

We are so impressed with what they have done! Well done BRC.

Two of the three roof patios open up onto a park and a 12 foot glass wall provides further connection from the dining room to the park.

Two of the three roof patios open up onto a park and a 12 foot glass wall provides further connection from the dining room to the park.

The roof patio provides a covered kitchenette for barbequing, entertaining, and dining. Sleek, low profile glass and steel handrails maintain an unobstructed connection to the park and neighborhood. The catwalk leads to a spiral stair down to the dining room terrace on the second floor.

The roof patio provides a covered kitchenette for barbequing, entertaining, and dining. Sleek, low profile glass and steel handrails maintain an unobstructed connection to the park and neighborhood. The catwalk leads to a spiral stair down to the dining room terrace on the second floor.

The original wood joists were removed in the basement to open up the space. The original fieldstone foundation walls were stabilized and sealed to make a basement theater space.

The original wood joists were removed in the basement to open up the space. The original fieldstone foundation walls were stabilized and sealed to make a basement theater space.

The main living space, which includes the living room, kitchen, and dining room, was kept as open as possible. A steel and glass lightwell brings in natural light and fresh air in the summertime

The main living space, which includes the living room, kitchen, and dining room, was kept as open as possible. A steel and glass lightwell brings in natural light and fresh air in the summertime

HiMark Construction Update by Keren Kabo

The construction at HiMark is really rolling along, with all the steel work, floors, guardrails, and lighting in place! Still waiting on a bar top, new floors, and kitchen equipment, but it's on track to open this spring. It's such an awesome and unique space to be in, with the raw, gritty history of the building on full display. Nick Motz has done a great job with it!

HiMark Bar under construction- main space - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
HiMark Bar under construction- Mezzanine above the bar - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
HiMark Bar under construction- Mezzanine - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Crossroads - Old St. George Flyover by Keren Kabo

Old St. George was one of those rare projects that every firm dreams of being a part of. We were really challenged to both preserve and refresh this beautiful historic building, and the impact it had on the neighborhood was incredible.

We couldn't resist taking our new drone out for a test run to document this beautiful edifice. Break out the good headphones and full HD for maximum effect..

The fall foliage with the red brick is a great accent, and we were fortunate to snag some shots right at sunset. The building really shines though at night, with the steeples lit against the uptown skyline, and the courtyard aglow. It's just such a photogenic building!

We Love Tuckers by Keren Kabo

Tuckers: Yes! They're Open!

Tuckers: Yes! They're Open!

Not many places in Cincinnati have as much history and character as Tucker's.  This eclectic little diner has been serving the residents of Over-the-Rhine for over 60 years, and we were honored to be a part of the team to get them back open.  Polly Campbell at the Enquirer did a great job capturing the unique challenges and history behind rebuilding such an iconic neighborhood institution.  Please read her article below:

Read the Tucker's Article here

While we are used to renovating historic Italianate buildings in OTR, designing amazing restaurants, and working with clients of all walks of life, this project was unique in that it combined all of these issues and had the added challenge of preserving a place that meant so much to so many people.  

We cannot stress enough what an amazing job Urban Fast Forward, Brother Tim, Jim McMahon, John Lowe, and everyone else who contributed time, knowledge, skill, and money did to keep this project afloat.  Our role was largely ceremonial, trying to guide the project and help navigate the complexities of the building code.  The one thing we made sure to emphasize was the value of getting Tucker's back on their feet, without compromising the character and history of Tucker's.  The grease may be gone, but the place still feels untouched.

The rear kitchen was badly fire-damaged, and almost entirely rebuilt, along with the bathroom. The front was mostly unscathed, and we worked to carefully preserve and restore much of the old equipment and fixtures.  A new hood and safety equipment were badly needed though.

The rear kitchen was badly fire-damaged, and almost entirely rebuilt, along with the bathroom. The front was mostly unscathed, and we worked to carefully preserve and restore much of the old equipment and fixtures.  A new hood and safety equipment were badly needed though.

Tucker's is a melting pot of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, all unified in their love of delicious, comforting food. Thanks to the efforts of so many, the Tuckers' doors are open again! 

Tucker's is a melting pot of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, all unified in their love of delicious, comforting food. Thanks to the efforts of so many, the Tuckers' doors are open again! 

Before the fire, Tucker's was a hidden gem right on Vine St., mostly overlooked but greatly appreciated by those who knew it.  The restaurant has been a constant in a neighborhood which has seen many changes, and will soon be transformed again.  But we're so glad that it returns again to be discovered and loved by a new generation, who may or may not know the history of such an important landmark. They'll know about the biscuits though, and that's what's most important.

Photography by Tamer Azzazi