Ben Heckman is more than happy to show off the loft that he and his wife Becky purchased back in 2014.
That’s because it’s the perfect, balanced expression of his inner nerd—and his newfound hobby of art aficionado.
“I always joke, ‘This space is cooler than I am as a person,’” he said.
Take the space’s library shelves as a perfect example: a breathtaking tribute to the Bexley librarian’s literary background, yet arranged artfully—in a way that runs counter to his profession’s preferred organizational methodology.
“Color-coding is not what I would do,” he laughed. “I let my wife do that to keep a happy home.”
It makes an immediate impression on entry, an inspiration taken from one of the couple’s favorite spots discovered after moving back from New York City in 2014.
“We went to Mission Coffee and saw these shelves, and my wife was like, ‘We have to have those in our apartment. “I was like, ‘I don’t know how to make those!’”
With the help of his father, Heckman learned how, and the finished product has given him a little extra pride based on the “fireplace” he fashioned from a metal plate over a small flat-screen.
“You sit in front of it long enough, and you feel warm—mentally,” he said.
Part of the fun for the couple was essentially starting over with items that fit this space, rather than their 350-square-foot apartment in NYC. They put most other things in storage, save for the dining room table—purchased from the original Lazarus building before it closed for good in 2004. He built himself some artificial “hallways,” using the sectional couch as a natural divider between areas. One features a bar that is LED-illuminated when not disguised within a cabinet. (“I needed a bar for my booze, but I didn’t want it to look like I had a problem”). The other end of the room showcases a pinball machine, which according to lore, once occupied a corner at the famed Rubino’s Pizza, an extra fun narrative for a couple that met at Capital University.
“As soon as we walked in, I couldn’t help but think of the movie Big,” he said. “We’re in a loft! We’ve got to get a pinball machine! ”
Heckman’s personal pride for the couple’s home is obvious, but goes beyond just accounting for taste: it’s a space for him to display the art that moves him. Modern art “spoke to him in a different way” after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2012, evidenced in the hand-stretched Jackson Pollack print in the dining area and hand-mounted triptych of artist/activist Ai Weiwei smashing a 2,000-year-old vase above the entertainment center.
“I have a story for everything,” he said.