Anyone familiar with Rose Hill Avenue in the historic neighborhood of North Avondale—lined with gaslights, mature trees, and gorgeous mansions built at the turn of the century—knows the “green brick house”.
Actually, it’s green enameled brick tile. The tile, cutting edge for its time, was often used in the early 20th century for the light-wells of the first skyscrapers, and the interiors of industrial plants. The address is 3937 Rose Hill Avenue. And it is currently in the market for a new steward, with a list price of $299,000.
Built in 1907, it was home to pork-packer Charles E. Roth and designed by Architect Anthony Kunz, Jr., who trained with the Cincinnati firm G. & A. Brink.
Kunz specialized in Roman Catholic Churches and institutional buildings.
Perhaps because he also designed a large warehouse for the Roth business in the West End of Cincinnati, Kunz was commissioned to design their home. One wonders if it was Kunz’ other designs that pushed him to present the idea of using green tile to Charles Roth…
The Charles Roth House cost $20,000 to build, quite a lot of money in 1907. The roof line relates to the Chicago Prairie School—made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright—while the front stone columns still look Victorian.
The circular section of the front porch contains a fountain set in the mosaic-tile floor under a shallow dome. The right side of the home features a spectacular circular conservatory with green wall tiles and green glass dome.
Upon entering the home, there is a grand staircase with a curved arch in the center and an extensive living room spanning the length of the home.
Designed for entertaining, the living room features matching green and white tile fireplaces.
A cozy library is located to the left of the living room.
An original stained glass dome provides the centerpiece for the grand staircase.
More stained glass decorates the dining room, where one can’t help but notice the green fireplace—are you sensing the “green theme” of the home?
The Roth House features an extra room on the first floor once used as a secluded “smoking room” with a separate entrance and a swanky vintage bar in the basement—this location once reportedly used as a Speakeasy during Prohibition…
Like many grand, old homes, the Roth House could use a little work. The exterior is in need of some restoration, including porch roof, box gutters, and flashing work. The work could be paid for through a special renovation loan (i.e., a FHA 203k loan) wrapped into to one mortgage with the purchase price. On a street where comparable homes have sold between $440,000 and $620,000 over the past year, the investment is well worth it. The Roth House, with its one-of-a-kind features, would be a bargain at any price. In the end, I think it’s easy Bein’ Green.
2002 Great Houses of the Queen City. The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Cincinnati, Ohio.