Friday, July 11, 2008

Marge Schott's Ambleside

SELLER: Estate of Marge Schott
LOCATION: Blome Road, Indian Hill, OH
PRICE: $5,400,000
SIZE: 7 bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: A rare & unique opportunity to own historic Ambleside! Truly exceptional design & construction in glorious setting. More rooms & detail than can be listed. Gorgeous woodwork & windows! Includes greenhouse & kennels, 15+ lush acres!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We spend a great deal of time around here yakking about properties on the coasts, but today we're going to jump on the Reading Railroad and head into the heartland of America to discuss a posh property in the flyover state of Ohio, a place that Your Mama confesses that we've never actually been.

Anyhoo, baseball's bitchiest ol' bat Marge Schott may have gone to meet the Great Umpire in the Sky in March of 2004, but it's only now that the charitable foundation to which she left her suburban Cincinnati estate called Ambleside is getting around to selling the place. Thanks to the Cincinnati Snitch, Your Mama has learned that sprawling estate on Blome Road in rural and wealthy Indian Hill which the famously cantankerous coot owned since the dawn of time has been listed at $5,400,000.

As the children might imagine, Your Mama knows about as much about baseball as we know about sumo wrestling. However, we do know that Miz Schott was the first woman to buy a major league baseball team as opposed to inheriting it from her huzband. We also recall from our reading that although the foul mouthed right winger was banned for her scandalous and despicably racist comments, no one loved her team the Cincinnati Reds as much as Marge Schott.

According to Cincinnati Snitch, Marge Schott's Ambleside originally spread over 62 acres, but the foundation has split the great estate up and is selling the place off in chunks. The main house sits on good sized parcel of just over 15 acres and according to Mister Snich, there another ten five acre lots. Mister Snitch swears one of the lots, the one with the pool and pool house, has already been sold but Your Mama can not verify that sale.

Property records show the house–which looks to Your Mama like the sort of house Hansel and Gretel would buy if they were tire tycoons–measures in at 12,087 square feet. Listing information indicates there are seven bedrooms and 8 bathrooms (5 full and 3 halfs) in the main house. Included in the sale are the greenhouse and kennel where Miz Schott kept her beloved and big bodied St. Bernards including Schotzie whom she reportedly allowed to defecate on the well manicured turf at Riverfront Stadium, much to the chagrin of the grounds keepers, natch.

Only a precious few interior photographs have been included with the listing but from what we see, Miz Schott's house is a grand old ladee indeed. We're not loving the churchy feel of the main living room, but the room with the mouth watering woodwork is exquisite if in need of some spit, polish and restoration. Your Mama somewhat sheepishly confesses that we're digging the room with the robin's egg blue paint–which we think is the dining room. We're also thinking that if we could replace the chandelier with something positively poofter like this, remove the rug to expose the dark wood floors, paint the firebox black, toss in a few white sofas (because everyone knows Your Mama loves us some white sofas) and pull that gorgeous blue color up and and over the ceiling we might be in heaven.

The Cincinnati Snitch also whispered in Your Mama's big ear that the somewhat shabby looking manse has not been updated since the 1950s and that there's still coal in the basement for the furnace, the heat is radiator and there is no central air conditioning. We've read that Miz Schott was a bit of a penny pincher, but damn woman, certainly you could have afforded to run some air conditioning ducts so that your terlit gurl didn't have a damn heat stroke scrubbing all eight of your poopers in the hot and humid dog days of August.

Given that his house has a whimsical exterior, elegant bones on the interior and a fair amount of privacy making acreage surrounding it, we imagine that some steel magnate or rubber executive with a big bonus will scoop this place up and let his wifey who likes to decorate with floral fabrics have her wicked ways with it. Not only does Your Mama recommend that the new owner hire a nice gay decorator (and they surely exist in Cincinnati), we also strongly encourage anyone who buys the place burn a few pounds of sage to get all Miz Schott's joo-joo out of the house.

Wouldn't it just be purr-fect if a homosex black Jewish person bought this house? Your Mama would love that!

39 comments:

StPaulSnowman said...

NOW WE'RE TALKING! This place has soul. I am sure it will take months to get the smoke smell out of this house and Marge was maybe into chew as well so the carpets may need changin'............I could live here in a heartbeat.........as long as I didn't have to go to Cleveland for anything.

sandpiper said...

To whom do I write the check? Two thumbs up, plus my big toes.

Nice catch, Mama! :)

Alessandra said...

You should visit OH, Mama. There is some fabulous architecture that puts the coasts to shame.

I prefer Hyde Park to Indian Hill, but potato, potahto. It's still a glorious and magnificent estate.

happy jack said...

I see a new trend

Charities/Churches/Non Profit organizations selling their properties to keep the cash rolling in, obviously they are low on the coffers.

They are all full of shit

they are all about money

pathetic...

Parker said...

I'm not usually a huge fan of the large homes, but when I saw this, I actually said, "Wow!"

Anonymous said...

Ellen and Rosie should pool together the 5 mil and donate it to the Gay & Lesbian Center of Cincinnati under the condition that they hold their Pride Festival on the lawn. That would keep Miz Schott spinning in her grave for a few decades.

lil' gay boy said...

Nice neighborhood.

Now this is more like what "Tudor" or "Elizabethan" should look like, with a gen-u-ine crenellated tower, to boot!

Not that faux pile Peter Morton is trying to flip in Beverly Hills.

Want to see the old bitch REALLY spin? Make the Midwest White House when Obama wins…

;-)

StPaulSnowman said...

Has anyone found any more pictures of this lovely house? It would really be fun to have the money and/or time to make the landscaping your own. I hope Mama lets us know which, almost certainly non-celebrity, buyer comes through with the purchase. I would worry that this house will be razed so that the fifteen acres could be added to the rest to develop a vinyl townhouse development.

Anonymous said...

I am with Alessandra on the preference of Hyde Park to Indian Hill. Hyde Park has more architectural diversity. However, you would never find a 62 or even a 15 acre parcel there as it is closer to “downtown.” Indian Hill was originally founded as the location for country homes of the city-dwellers of Cincinnati. This house is beautiful, truly a treasure of Indian Hill.

Anonymous said...

Stpaulsnowman, as a current inhabitant of the area surrounding the Schott estate, I can tell you that Indian Hill has created bylaws that prohibit any lots smaller than 3 acres. These bylaws were created specifically in an effort to keep the country charm of Indian Hill, so don’t worry, there will be no vinyl townhouse developments. It is almost certain, barring any unforeseen circumstances such as structural damage, that this house will not be razed in the near future. What is almost guaranteed is that the houses built on the newly subdivided grounds will be of the heinous brick and stone transitional style. All over Indian Hill houses in that style are built. There is absolutely no creative genius in this style and it does not maintain the character of the area.

Here is a listing for the house, I would recommend checking out the rest of the Indian Hill listings as well.

http://comey.com/displaylist.asw?listnum=1134491&mls=cincy

pch said...

I think this place is swell. Too cool. Cincinnati is a seriously cool town...I'm with Alessandra on the Hyde Park preference, but Indian Hill ain't too shabby an alternative.

StPaulSnowman said...

Anonymous 11:45; Thank you very much for taking the time to post this information. I really appreciate it and look forward to checking out the listings is your area. It an area of this age, I hope you are blessed with screening mature trees so you don't have to look at the new McMansions. Thanks again.

StPaulSnowman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Why would a charity want to keep this property? Much better to sell it off and use the proceeds for better use.

Though she may have said stupid things, she did great things too.

Every year in this house she hosted a fundraiser for a local childrens cancer hospital. also, she gave away mostly all of her money to charity. Actions speak louder than words.

Alessandra said...

Indian Hill is definitely zoned for larger parcels with actual acreage. That's the major appeal. You can have a horse property there, for example.

My preference for Hyde Park is merely because it is closer to downtown Cincinnati and because it has its own little village area that is quite charming.

I wouldn't ixnay Indian Hill by any stretch of the imagination, especially an estate such as this one.

Anonymous said...

Great example of a classic Tudor, and as LGB said, what they should look like. Using stone rather than brick looks sooo much better, as does keeping the stucco paint color about the same as the morter color used between the stones. If it were mine, I'd lighten up the dark brown trim to a warm medium spice brown to update and freshen it's curb presence is all.

German Village said...

It is a beautiful estate. Mama you should really come to ohio for a visit. Columbus has a beautiful village just south of downtown called German Village. The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the largest individually owned, privately financed neighborhood restorations. Beautiful brick cottages, brick italianites, brick-paved streets, superb gartens, etc. www.germanvillage.org

so_chic_darling said...

Am I only the only one who thinks this place is dark and spooky?

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 1:57,

Good eye!

The tone of the stucco is important; matching the mortar pulls the whole structure together, as does the stonework, the generous and evenly spaced diamond-paned fenestration, and especially the buttressing and modified eyebrow dormers on the garage.

I especially like the way the roof is executed; the rhythmic modulation of the height of intersecting gables, the lovely patina of the copper gutters and downspouts, and the way the slates on the roof are done, laid in slightly uneven courses to suggest thatching.

The landscaping needs to be "pulled back" a bit, but there is a lovely allée on a minor axis to the house you can see from the bird's eye view. Lightening up the half-timbering, as you suggested, could only improve such a specimen.

So_Chic,

Dark & spooky? Perhaps it's just "The Foul-Mouthed Ghost Of Marge…" (or the unmarked graves); a good exorcism should do the trick.

;-)

StPaulSnowman said...

As a lifelong fan and inhabitant of old houses, I am really curious about the attic spaces. The most interesting spaces and views are often found in what were originally servants' quarters, sewing rooms, winter storage, etc. Here in old St. Paul, families have done really interesting things with these large, treetop spaces. An added benefit is that, unlike additions, these changes do not destroy the character of the exterior architecture of the house or of the neighborhood.

Chris said...

The price is what is interesting. Just imagine what 5.4 million might get you in Santa Monica or the Hollyweird Hills. A vast estate? Pahleeeze....

Alessandra said...

Well, it is a bit under-priced because of its condition.

But yes, you can buy a hell of a lot of house in the Midwest, as compared to the west coast, as my family reminds me on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

LGB, Anon 1:57 here again. Totally agree with your insights, especially about the roof on this home. If Max Mutchnick and Erik Hyman were to give Pete Sampras' former home on Loma Vista they recently purchased an 'authentic' facelift along the lines of what we discused here regarding this one, it would be a dramatic improvement, imo.

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 1:57,

Great idea!

I'd completely forgotten about that house - it could only benefit from such a redo.

Let's hope the girls are listening…

StPaulSnowman said...

tickets go on sale Monday for the guided bus tour of Marge Schott's haunted Tudor. I am offering a substantial discount to those of you who didn't get the Hugh Laurie tickets because you were out shopping for Iphones.

Todd said...

I just emailed this link to Your Mama. It has 155 photos of the Schott property. Photos taken when house was being packed for personal property auction.
http://picasaweb.google.com/balthazaro/MargeSchott8505BlomeRoad?authkey=AGusmKVx5cg

House is not visible from the road. A billionaire lives just a few hundred feet behind this house on Fox Cub Ln.

I forget the rumors, but I'm pretty sure at different times Marge allowed the Cincinnati Zoo to send elephants to this property to roam for a while. This is also the place where Marge hid several dozen new cars she reported as "sold" to Buick so she could keep her franchise.

To the people that don't understand Midwest prices... It's not that your houses on the west coast are built better, it's just that your dirt cost more. That's the only difference. Supply/demand.

Todd said...

One other thing... I know some of the photos are repeats, but I didn't have time to sort through them all and weed out the doubles. Maybe about 30 are repeats.

Marge may have had a mouth on her, but she did leave the marjority of her $120m estate to charity.

Sincere said...

She may have give much of her money to charity (she was also known for bing nice to children) but that doesn't excuse the fact she wasn't a foul mouthed racist who regularly made inexcusable remarks about people's ethnicities.

plot said...

I can just smell this house by looking at those pics - something like the twang of old iron, thick moist basement dirt, and wood saturated by nicotine.

The old bitch loved her dogs. Wonder how many people were bitten after honking their horns and blamed by Marge for teasing the beasts.

Great house!

StPaulSnowman said...

I tried to enter the address and see the other photos but got shut down with a "bad request". Do you need to enter the entire address as listed?

bentley said...

Mama, you're killing me yet another incredible house that I want.

I'm not sure where I sit on the Indian Hill v. Hyde Park debate. I think I like the idea of being in a more pastoral setting, with horses meandering around yet with downtown still very accessible. Sounds nice.

Couldn't agree more on the fun you can have with attic spaces in old houses! After admiring the under-stated grandeur of the main floor rooms, it's the part of the house I always want to explore next.

Chris said...

I'll take a foul mouthed "racist" who left millions to charity over a selfish dike who spends 40+ million on three or four houses for herself and her girlfriend to luxuriate in.

Ch. Manson said...

This kind of property buy up really speaks to an individual's, or a couple's, sense of self importance. Sure she is talented and loved but this "enclaving" is really unappetizing. The great stately homes in England have traditionally had pedestrian, equestrian and water ways to allow both the natural and architectural beauty to be enjoyed by others. The commoner could admire the magnificent setting, the homes and outbuildings and fantasize about the wealthy powerful owners. They understood that they didn't camp, litter or go through the owner's trash. The "I Me, Mine" mentality is sadly selfish. I do understand that owning large chunks of land is problematic but the extent to which these people go to close roads and shut everyone else out is ultimately dangerous......and I should know.

Floridazephyr said...

Charlie; Shouldn't this be under the Degenerossi post........just wondering.

Anonymous said...

floridazephyr - The further back (and sooner forgotten) in Mama's posts the better for chris & charlie to display their jealousy of the ladies.

Anonymous said...

I've only been in Cincinnati for q few years now... And I have to say for a city of only 2.5M there's A TON of incredible old architecture and a wealth of well preserved, guilded age homes in this town. Every time I think I've found all this town has to offer... ... I end up getting lost in yet another neighborhood packed with incredible 3 story victorians.

If you consider the industrialist history of Cincinnati, it's easy to understand how and why there are so many neighborhoods full of amazing, old world, German craftsmanship homes. The Great Depression wasn't nearly as hard on Cincinnati as it was the rest of the US, and that probably has a lot to do with many of the 1930's mansions you see in Indian Hill (and in the rest of the metro area).

You'll see a lot of the same "guilded age reminders" in nearby cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee btw. The rust belt cities are no longer nearly as wealthy, but there is a lot of left over old money AND the upper middle class (and in many cases the middle classes) have the benefit of owning very large, old homes for a fraction of the price of the coasts. In a way you could say it makes up for not having an ocean nearby. But I have to say for people who are married and raising families, Cincinnati's a very livable metro area. Low traffic, low prices of everything, and amazing old architecture everywhere. I keep meeting people here who are NOT rich and yet they all seem to have walk up 3rd floors and incredible old homes in general.

Indian Hill is more or less Cincinnati's Greenwich CT. It was never built to be a suburb... It was built as a hunt country enclave for the wealthiest in the region, and only in the last 50 years has it become a popular place for luxury builders to churn out homes. The Village might have stringent development rules, but as with most hunt country towns in the US, it's more of a suburb than ever now.

To the commenter who talked about "the owner's sense of self importance..." Many of Cincinnati's early industrialist families were fairly well off German immigrants (well off before they left Germany)... ...people who brought over an ingrained sense of self importance before they made themselves wealthier than ever here in the US. Marge Schott was not of this background though.

Anonymous said...

When checking into Cincinnati, you should really look into Terrace Park. It is next door to Indian Hill--and has a ton of history as well as a true sense of community. People who visit call it "Mayberry".

Anonymous said...

What's with the Hyde Park fixation? Second-rate houses at best. Try East Walnut Hills next door, or North Avondale on the other side of 71, if you really want to see the best Cincinnati's got to offer.

Anonymous said...

the Cincy post states that it is now offered at $3,950,000. Shame you would have to put in a pool if that portion has already sold. Looks like it mostly needs some new kitchen updates. But the old ice boxes in the walls are a must stay for the old feel of it. Plus that too could be excellent storage. I would love to see childrens wing and the servants quarters. Listed with Sibcy Cline, Hamilton county, oh for more pictures.