A Georgian Revival

This once abandoned property in Woodland Park was saved from the wrecking ball and endured a yearlong renovation back to its original grandeur.

In Columbus’ near east side sits what could be one of the city’s best-kept secrets.  The Woodland Park neighborhood is home to several unique communities blended into one melting pot of people and structural design.  Established during the turn of the 20th century, Woodland Park was one of Columbus’ first planned, upscale-suburban districts.  It was home to local notable artist Emerson Burkhart as well as business and community leaders of the early 1900s.  Today, the neighborhood’s quiet streets, convenient location and grand mix of architecture make it appealing to a diverse group of residents.

In this exceptional cluster of homes, architectural styles range from Arts and Crafts, Victorian, English Tudor (Tudor Revival Period), Mission and Dutch Colonial (Colonial Revival).  One home in particular is a Georgian Revival on Woodland Avenue in the heart of Woodland Park.  This home just north of Franklin Park Conservatory was sadly scheduled for demolition in early 2002, until the current owners put in a bid to purchase and save this piece of history.  Closing the sale in September 2002, the owners began a 13-month renovation process to restore the building from a dilapidated apartment building, to a stately four-bedroom manor. 

Like many urban neighborhoods, Woodland Park experienced re-birth in the 1980s and 1990s.  This particular property served as a four-unit apartment building for several decades.  Guardian angels arrived late, but the new owners took great care in restoring the residence to its Georgian roots, while adding updates for 21st century living.  Before the bulk of the renovation could begin, the owners, their family and hired contractors gutted the four apartments, leaving only the supporting walls. 

One year, 52 large construction dumpsters and 550 sheets of drywall later, it was time to call the once abandoned house a home.  When visiting this residence, the owners’ extensive work and eye for detail is very apparent.  Their vision for the renovation was to re-create the space as one of hospitality and entertainment.   Oversized furniture, period lighting and original artwork combine to produce a living space inviting to all.  Most impressive is the collection of art and the role it plays in the residence.  Ranging from Dalis, Degas and Picassos, the pieces do not add pretentiousness, but compliment and work with the other design features.

Homes of this style were purposely built on a massive scale.  During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, homes of this nature were not only built to impress visitors, but to also make them feel comfortable while being entertained.  Large pieces of furniture were also typical of this period, and homes had to be large enough to accommodate.  Upon entering the home, guests become immediately aware of the size.  The focal point of the hallway is the grand staircase, which is gorgeous in detail, with its wainscoting, painted spindles and two-toned stained banister and knoll posts.  Most impressive is the extensive work the owners did to strip and refinish the woodwork throughout the home, including the staircase.

On the first floor, the owners’ favorite room is obviously the library, which now serves as a family/TV room.  The unbelievable coffered ceiling exemplifies the workmanship and detail of a bygone era, which was re-created for modern times.  This ceiling originally would have been a stained wood finish.  However, the new white paint helps to brighten and update the space.  Upstairs, the owners’ majestic master bedroom suite is impressive both in size and detail.  Boasting a cozy sitting area graced with a fireplace and bold artwork, this suite rivals those found in upscale hotels.  The master bathroom once again highlights the renovators’ emphasis on historical detail.  Most bathrooms in older homes were able to accommodate furniture pieces and the owners kept this tradition with an antique cabinet for storing towels and sundries. 

Of the many homes in Woodland Park, this gem on Woodland Avenue is one of numerous examples of historic preservation in Columbus’ urban neighborhoods.  Time, effort and money have turned around many of the forgotten communities in this city over the past 40 years.  Woodland Park is worthy of a visit by those not familiar with the area, because no other “village” in Central Ohio has such a wide-variety of beautifully restored architecture.