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Under the Big Top

Sells Circus House gets a new owner, look You know what’s remarkable? That the most whimsical home in Columbus was once party to an epic divorce and was a gathering place for alcoholics. Of course, it also was a daycare and a Fraternal Order of Police lodge, making the history of the Sells Circus House [...]
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Sells Circus House gets a new owner, look

You know what’s remarkable?

That the most whimsical home in Columbus was once party to an epic divorce and was a gathering place for alcoholics.

Of course, it also was a daycare and a Fraternal Order of Police lodge, making the history of the Sells Circus House as colorful as the big-top tents its first owner used to prop up all over the country.

Now, the house has a new ringleader—insurance man Wes Wolfe who, as only the home’s seventh (private) owner, is setting his sights on restoring the home to its “original grandeur and purpose.”

You said that purchasing this house was about fellowship. Not everyone is like that—many just want to have their home and not have it be a big deal. What draws you to want a place that you somewhat share with the community?

The home is such a magnetic draw and has so much intrigue in the community with the history and myths … it has just naturally happened. The home was built by the Sells Family largely to entertain and welcome people in. As I get more and more involved in the local community, it has naturally started to become that. A place to bring great people into my house—all locally engaged, passionate, and hustling in their own careers and in life.

You said you were energized by the purchase, whereas it would be easy to be immediately overwhelmed. What makes you different in scenarios like this? Why is this your jam?

I thrive and am motivated in situations that to most seem to be impossible things to take on and balance. I had a vision for my business, Wolfe Insurance Group when I purchased it from my father, and a similar thing happened when the opportunity to purchase the Circus House came about. The stars aligned perfectly … when I first walked in the house—the energy and vibes—I knew instantly where I was supposed to be. It was a huge thing to take on, but I thrive on risks and my entrepreneurial spirit!

What were the places you lived in before this one? This is quite the upgrade…

I had a small cape cod house in Gahanna that I bought when I was 20 and lived in for 16 years; great home, and the old Gahanna area was really cool. When I moved my company downtown in 2016, I had a great opportunity to buy a house in German Village across from Hausfrau Haven.. I loved the house! I bought it for around $600,000; with same philosophy of being involved in community, I was on the Home and Garden Tour in 2016 and from that got an offer for over $1 million for my house … it wasn’t even on the market. That was too good to turn down. The same luck and turn of events took me to the Circus House—and here I am.

What was your house like growing up, in both feel and look? Did your parents entertain a lot? What was the decor like?

We grew up in Gahanna. My dad owned the insurance business and my mom was a school teacher for 35 years. The décor was modern and current to the period; they entertained, but not to the level I [do]. Having a family with active kids made it difficult, whereas my situation is completely opposite.

Did you ever think you’d be living in a million-dollar house? (Just like on those TV shows!)

Never in a million years! [laughs]  I actually saw pictures of the Circus House in the paper 10 years ago or so and had no interest at all. But since then, my life experiences and growth brought me to the place with a different perspective. It was understanding the importance of the home in the community, the incredible story, the architecture, ambiance, and energy.

How much of the old decor from the previous owners have you kept?

I have pretty much redone the entire home in three months… repainting the entire home, gutting and redoing four bathrooms, all floors, painted the entire house and have redone 7,400-square-foot of hardwood. And [I’m] putting in a pool in this summer…

What are your favorite parts of the house? And with so much to explore, are you still finding new highlights since you moved in?

I love the entire house—literally every room. I gravitate most to the Tent Room in the front, just because of the cool décor and the awesome view of the park. I also love the kitchen area which is very open and easy to move around. But with so many guests so intrigued by the entire place, I always go to where they want to spend time the most.

Parking may not be simple, but no one will ever struggle with directions to your house ever again. What are some other pros of being the owner of the Circus House?

Well I do have a six-car garage and two driveways. The home is so welcoming and intimate despite the size—it really is a masterpiece! I wake up every day and can’t believe I am lucky enough to call it my home. I want to continue to pay respect to the history and intended purpose: sharing it, using it as a way to meet great people, network, collaborate, and keep paying it forward for the amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.

Cons?

The cons would just be the upkeep. I say, like previous owners, that I am merely a caretaker—and that is a huge undertaking with keeping everything up and preserved.

 

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Home & Garden

State of the housing market: Top buyer questions answered

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"When the mind is in a state of uncertainty, the smallest impulse directs it to either side."--Terence, ancient Roman playwright

Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of COVID-19 Coronavirus. During this time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help our clients navigate the buying process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered by yours truly, The LKW Home Team, Lauren Lucas & Jennifer Kessel-White.

1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This is the hardest question to answer and it will depend on the seller of the home. Currently homes are still available for your agent and you to walkthrough. For protection purposes, The LKW Home Team provides gloves and sanitizer for our clients. The most common trend we are seeing is no overlapping showings, so only one group at a time will enter the house (the buyers and agent) and the next showing will wait for the previous potential buyers to be finished. We are of course, offering virtual tours; this is where we will tour the home for you via Facetime, Facebook Video Messenger, Zoom and more. Hey, we have put multiple homes in contract via virtual tours, so no worries! We have high expectations for our clients, and will measure, and search every nook and cranny.. we GOT YOU!

2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority; this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. We will provide gloves and hand sanitizer for you, and will keep our safe distance.  During the tour, we suggest designating one person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing. This should be a fun and exciting experience, so have no fear, we are amateur jokesters, your biggest cheerleaders, and provide an honest opinion that only your mother-in-law would appreciate.

3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? – To start, we hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does, we will FaceTime you with cocktails and support, and listen, we will suggest options and have your lender work their butt off to find any other option possible to help. 

Most real estate contracts include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. If your financial loan can not be completed due to furlough or loss of job, there would be no penalty to the Buyer.

4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – Yup, I mean we are about to cross the finish line, and you need those measurements for that massive Ikea order, we get that, and are happy to help with those answers or meet you for a walkthrough. It’s very common for the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections and appraisals are common reasons to visit the home during escrow. 

5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal ball, (hey, whatever happened to Miss Cleo… ) but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated to sell. We are still showing and listing homes on the daily. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time. In the meantime, we will tune in with Dr. Acton and Governor DeWine each day at 2PM! 

The Columbus market was ranked 7th hottest market in the nation for March, and 38% of new listings are going into contract in the 7 days! Columbus is still booming, and we are here for it! 

Written by Lauren Lucas and Jennifer Kessel-White of the LKW Home Team, Keller Williams Classic Properties. We are ready to get the drill out and post the for sale sign in your front yard, or bring the gloves and sanitizer and/or virtual tour to you so you don't have to leave the comfort of your own home. Call us at 614-321-9262 or email us at [email protected]

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Home & Garden

Amp up your home style with color and quality from Georgie Home

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Move over, Pantone Color of the Year! A new local business offers a coordinated collection of quality home goods designed in rich color palettes, so consumers can easily and affordably elevate their home style.

Georgie Home, launched by Lauren Wagner and Laura Sullivan, offers thoughtfully designed home and lifestyle products. The company is dedicated to producing high- quality, simple, friendly goods to make your home feel fresh.

“We wanted to create something where we felt really good about the quality and offer products we’d want to have in our homes. We didn’t want something that you just run to a big box store and buy,” Wagner said.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Wagner and Sullivan’s journey to launch their company was relatively quick. The pair worked together as graphic designers at a national company headquartered in Columbus in the early 2010s. As they searched for inspiration and created mood boards for work projects, they realized they had a similar vision.

“We’d get excited and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do our own thing some day?’,” Wagner said.

A few short years later, that shared vision was realized when Georgie Home’s first collection launched in November 2019. Phoenix is a line of hand and bath towels in coordinating colors and patterns. The duo started with towels because it’s an easy way to bring a bit of luxury into the home, and high-quality towels will last. While most high-quality towels are plain, Georgie Home offers something unique by combining quality with patterns.

“When you reach a certain age, it’s nice to have a little bit of luxury, and you might as well get something that you will have a while for just a little more money,” Wagner said.

FOR THE LOVE OF COLOR

As designers, Wagner and Sullivan are passionate about color. And when they first started working professionally, there weren’t a lot of ways to feed that passion.

“I was having trouble coming up with color palettes and there weren’t a lot of online resources, so I started creating my own,” Wagner said. “I would find images that inspired me and pulled my color palette from that.” She began sharing these online in a blog about a decade ago, a collection that has evolved into an Instagram account.

As one can tell by Georgie Home’s collection, their current favorite colors (because, like all of us, Wagner said it changes over time) are sage and ochre (a warm yellow- brown) for Wagner, and dusty blue for Sullivan.

CREATE A COZY, PERSONAL SPACE WITH COLOR

Carrying color over into home decorating doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Wagner suggests using neutral colors such as whites and greys for walls, flooring, and furniture, and using pops of color throughout your space with items like throws, pillows, and wall hangings. She also likes to add natural elements such as dried flowers, which are trendy now.

“I keep my walls the same and change up everything around it,” she said. “My taste changes over time and this lets me update my décor without painting.”

This approach also makes it easy to decorate for the seasons.

“I will add things for the holidays, and I’ll add color in the summer and greenery in the winter,” Wagner said. “I keep it simple–I won’t change my wall hangings, but I’ll update my dining room table, my mantel, and towels.”

If you’re not sure where to start, Wagner suggests perusing Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

“There are a lot of home bloggers that are inspiring,” she said. “Find something that you love and recreate it.”

Wagner has a long list of local, chain, online, and brick-and-mortar stores where she finds her decorating elements. Locally, she recommends Jewelweed Floral Studio and Stump as great sources for plants, and Trove Warehouse and Elm & Iron for accessories and furniture. The outlet malls and Wayfair are great for budget-friendly options, and antique shops and Etsy are great if you’re looking for something no one else has. The big retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn Kids also have some great pieces.

WHAT’S NEXT

Wagner and Sullivan hope to move Georgie Home into the brick-and-mortar space. With the first collection launched, they are reaching out to retailers to explore wholesale opportunities locally and nationally.

They’re also planning for their second line, which will launch next spring or summer. The collection is likely to include placemats, table runners, and tablecloths. While they haven’t decided on a color palette, it will be fresh and coordinated, and inspired by the season.

Shop Georgie Home’s inaugural collection at georgiehome.com.

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Home & Garden

Columbus Cribs: Scandinavian style, minimal holiday decor in this Columbus cookie-cutter-home

Regina Fox

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Sam Berry is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about raising her daughter, Scandinavian design, photography, baking cookies, decorating her home, and sharing pics of it all on her Instagram page @chicincolumbus.

She recently moved into a builder-grade cookie-cutter-home in Columbus, which she and her husband are slowly turning into their perfect home. Keep reading read to learn how they're doing it!

614: What would you call your home style? 

SB: I struggle to describe my home style with one word or phrase. I recently took a design style quiz online that kind of opened my eyes to what my style actually is, because it’s all over the place. I love Mid Century Modern but I also like a touch of Industrial. I love Scandinavian design as well but I'm not enough of a minimalist to execute it well. I love a comfortable space that doesn’t feel too much like a magazine (not that I could ever live up to that expectation).

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4xpFyGgBfY/

614: What are some of your favorite items in your home?

SB: My favorite item in my home is the gold armchair I inherited from my late grandma. I have many memories of it in her home and love that I now have a place for it in mine. It is unique and embodies the Mid Century side of my home decor style (it’s also one of my favorite colors: mustard yellow). I also have a vintage Danish teak sideboard from Boomerang Room that I swoon over every time I walk by it. I would love to know who owned it before it made its way into my home.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2O48uogj3e/

614: Can you tell us some of the places you have found your items, or places you like to shop? 

SB: I get my things from all over, but primarily I shop either new at Ikea and West Elm or secondhand via Craigslist/Instagram/Facebook Marketplace. I have found some great secondhand deals, which turn out to be some of my favorite pieces. My favorite places to shop for decorative accessories are Grandview Mercantile, Elm & Iron, and World Market.

614: What inspires your design style? 

SB: I am inspired, as I’m sure many are, by Instagram (@_forthehome, @beginninginthemiddle, and @reserve_home are some of my current favorite feeds) and Pinterest. I love that there are so many different design styles and people out there, so there’s a never-ending supply of inspiration. I have thousands of pins and dozens of saved Instagram posts that I often review when I feel the itch to tackle a project or redecorate a space. I love to take an image that inspires me and recreate it with the items I already own.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5p7KwvgNgg/

614: What do you try to avoid while decorating? 

SB: I try to avoid buying and displaying things that I don’t really love. I believe the items we own can be beautiful and functional at the same time. I actively try to pare things back to only those that “spark joy” à la Marie Kondo. In addition to limiting my decorative items, I also try to not solely follow trends unless they align with my style. 

614: Any tips for winter/Christmas decorating? 

SB: Use what you have! I have so many items that were castoffs from my mom that I love so much so I make sure they have a place. I have added a few things over the years here and there as I come across them. Like the rest of my decor, I try to stick to only displaying those items that I love. I recently donated/threw out a lot of things I’ve been hanging on to that just don’t fit my style at the moment. Now I have room to replace them with things that fit better. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5vtlI1gcRG/
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