2691 Derbyshire Road (2005)

Like Cleveland Heights, this house and its owner celebrate eclecticism. Perhaps that seems odd, given the house’s traditional exterior (which the country auditor describes as Colonial) and the fact that it sits in a row with several other similarly designed structures. However, when one looks closer—even at the exterior—little breeches appear in the armor of uniformity. For example, the high-pitched slate roof is more reminiscent of what we consider French Normandy design. And the house’s diamond-shaped, leaded-glass windows are more frequently considered part of an English Tudor or (again) French Normandy motif.

Once the front foyer is reached, all hopes of homogeny must be set aside: Visitors are concurrently greeted by a 19th Century pier mirror, a modern oil painting by local artist David Haberman, and a lengthy stretch of leopard-pattern carpet! Nor does this tidal wave of diversity end at the door, because the entire house is filled with old and new; fussy and sleek; light and dark; local and global; classic and patchky; timeless and ephemeral. Multiplicity rules!

Things weren’t always this sundry. When the owner (the house’s third in 85 years) moved in five years ago, the interior was firmly stuck in the Sixties: weighty window treatments; thick and dark carpets; and (gasp) a four-layer sea of linoleum in the kitchen. Little evidence of that era remains. Assisted by local designer Trac Papish, the owner renovated several bathrooms, repainted/papered virtually every wall, replaced the window treatments, installed recessed lighting in several rooms, added central air conditioning, stripped the carpets and redid the floors, re-landscaped front and back, and even installed a Naturestone floor in the large “summer porch at the back of the house.

Particularly impressive is the kitchen, where two small rooms were combined into a single space that is far more comfortable and practical. Local designer John Koncar and a team of Amish craftsmen also converted a closet to a refrigerator space, installed cherry-wood cabinets, added ceiling molding and recessed lighting, and refinished the hardwood floors that lay interred under all that linoleum.

The net effect of all this effort is a series of pleasant, room-to-room surprises: a timeless, exceptionally-well-constructed house that is brimming with personality.


Watch For:

  • A strong Oriental influence throughout the home—showcased in pottery, artwork, furniture, a backyard Koi pond, and a Japanese black-lacquered longcase clock in the master bedroom.
  • Hand-carved mantelpiece imported from France and refitted to the living room fireplace.
  • Granite radiator covers.
  • Kittinger desk in master bedroom.
  • 19th Century leather-upholstered fireplace fender.
  • Numerous “fruit lithographs” from a 1901 U.S. Department of Agriculture booklet in the dining room.


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