Rob and Beth Vogt, longtime residents of the Victorian village, were delighted to share their beautifully restored 134-year-old Queen Anne home on last year’s short North Home & Garden tour. Meeting as students at Ohio State University, the two became great neighborhood champions after spending 40 years in the community.
“We love our proximity to Goodale Park,” says Rob. “We are within walking distance of 25 restaurants; walk to hockey, baseball and OSU games; cycle the Olentangy trail; and kayaking on the river. We have all of this and also live in this historic house.
The couple’s first home was on East First Street for seven years, and now they’ve been in their current location for 32 years. When the couple first moved into the worn-out Park Street home in 1990, it had been divided into five apartments. Unfazed, they looked beyond the cut-out spaces and dreamed of converting the house back into a single-family residence.
“It was the staircase that first caught Beth’s eye,” says Rob. The massive L-shaped staircase crowns the narrow foyer with a detailed balustrade, hand-carved posts and oak paneling. Inside the house they discovered other treasures – four original fireplaces, ornate ceiling medallions, carved moldings, decorative glass windows and hidden pocket doors.
Outside, they fell in love with the house’s classic Victorian elements, including an asymmetrical facade, multiple gables, ornate brackets and decorative brickwork. They admired a giant white oak tree that shaded the backyard and was likely planted decades before the house was built in 1888 for the Gregg family.
The couple learned that the house had been seized years ago and then belonged to the former White Cross Hospital, which used it to hold classes for its medical school.
When the Vogts moved in and began renovations, they tackled the interior first, hiring a carpenter for structural elements and finishing work. They undertook finishing, painting, hand stenciling and wallpapering projects themselves. Along the way, they discovered other gems such as a signature wallpaper hanger, dated 1889, which was discreetly tucked away in a corner. Over time, they modernized the house, converting a fourth bedroom into a master bathroom and transforming a living room into a large walk-in closet. They have also updated the kitchen and converted the gas fireplaces making them easy to use throughout each winter.
Over the years they filled the rooms with heirlooms and antiques. A rosewood sofa and side chair from Rob’s grandmother fit perfectly in the living room alongside an 1820s grandfather clock, game table and hutch from the Beth’s family. Older furniture and a collection of eight mechanical clocks fill other rooms.
“My dad would say historic clocks give rooms momentum and bring them to life,” says Rob, who faithfully winds the clocks every five days.
At Christmas they decorate the house in a Victorian style appropriate for the era with trees in almost every room, displays on coats and a dinner table with antique dishes that seats up to 18 people.
“I love the holidays and totally decorate the house anew,” says Beth, who particularly treasures her holiday collections of ornaments and Victorian postcards.
Outside, the first thing they added was a garage, designed to look like a small accessory barn traditionally painted red. They recreated the house’s original four porches using historic images to replicate its gables and brackets.
“We were climbing ladders to strip the paint off the gables,” Rob explains. They finished the exterior trim in pink to match the sandstone and lintels. Dark green accents have also been added.
For the roof, they restored the original slate roof of the house and retained its decorative pattern. They considered removing an addition to the back of the house until they found an 1892 edition of the Lantern campus newspaper tucked into a wall and realized the intrinsic value of retaining the historic addition. They kept it, then added a back door and a deck to connect the raised area to the ground below.
“Although the decks aren’t Victorian, we gave it balusters and a balustrade to accommodate it,” says Rob.
In 2008, they added a unistone patio in the open space between the house and the garage. It is now supported by a retaining wall covered in Boston ivy. Landscape architect Greg Krobot, another resident of the Victorian village, created a master plan for the patio and lawn. He designed spaces around their legacy landscaping elements, including a semi-circular path in front, tree bumps in the driveway (once planted with elms), and a host of plants that previous owners had saved from homes. neighbors before the land was sold to developers.
A dawn redwood posed a challenge in the middle of the back yard. While only 7 feet tall and newly planted, it was expected to reach 50 feet and take over the patio.
“The metal basket was still around the rootball,” Rob explains. So they decided to move it to the front yard, and today it’s as tall as the three-story house. At the back of the house, they added a 7-foot cypress tree along the garage to obscure the view of a telephone pole. Twelve years later, it stands 30 feet tall.
“It creates a green oasis here as if we were in nature,” says Rob.
Krobot recommended an initial palette of perennials that included many natives, and Beth and Rob have since added to the mix. Over the years they have found that some selections have failed while others have been successful and even multiplied.
“It’s kind of garden fun,” Rob says, pointing to the backyard bleeding hearts that surprisingly popped up in the front yard one spring.
Today, a huge border of perennials really shines along the brick front driveway. Here, queen of the prairies, daylilies, globe thistle, catnip, lemon balm and colorful annuals greet guests and passers-by.
“We’re outside every night in the spring, summer and fall,” says Rob. “We like to grill and dine on the terrace. “There’s no better place for a cigar and a scotch.”
For Beth, owner of Over the Counter restaurant in Worthington, there’s no better atmosphere for entertaining family and friends. A low country boil cooked and served outdoors is a summer highlight.
“I really like the intimate garden setting, the nighttime lighting and the tranquility even one block from the High Street,” says Beth. “It’s a lovely place in the evening.”
This story is from the September 2022 issue of monthly columbus.