You have seen them around town…a boxed-in turret, a Queen Anne covered in single-color vinyl siding, pressure-treated wooden decks in place of shady porches, replacement windows shorter than the original window openings (Eeek!). They can be as scary as any witch, ghost, vampire or ghoul.
To remuddle is to remodel a building in a way that obscures or even destroys key aspects of its original design. The word itself consists of a combination of “remodel” and “muddle”. A remuddle (if the word can even be used as a noun in the English language–it actually hasn’t hit the more prestigious dictionaries such as Oxford or Cambridge, just Wiktionary) is like a COSTUME…and, well, ’tis the season.
Historic preservationists and historic home lovers alike have an innate distaste for the practice of remuddling. Luckily, a lot of what is done can be reversed.
One of our favorite recovered remuddles is 2245 Park Avenue in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Walnut Hills. Over 6000 square feet in size and built in 1895, this residence was used as a nursing home from 2004 to 2008.
Fortunately, it is now a single family home once again.
As was revealed during its reverse makeover, 2245 Park Avenue is a beautiful Romanesque Revival stone mansion. The home was designed by the Cincinnati-based architect Samuel Hannaford. Some of Hannaford’s other well-known buildings (you know, just in case you weren’t aware of them) include the Cincinnatian Hotel (601 vine Street), Cincinnati Observatory (3489 Observatory Place), the George B. “Boss” Cox mansion (3400 Brookline Avenue and now the Clifton branch of the Cincinnati Public Library), Elsinore Arch (at the entrance of Eden Park),Music Hall (1243 Elm Street), Memorial Hall (1225 Elm Street), and St. George Church (42 Calhoun Street). Over 60 of Hannaford’s buildings in Hamilton County, Ohio are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Given the beautiful success story that is 2245 Park Avenue, we think that every muddled-up home deserves a second look aw well as a chance to recover!
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HALLOWEEN AND LET THE UN-REMUDDLING CONTINUE!
(Post updated 10-29-2019)