You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

‘This Old House’ to feature Kettering woman’s pergola project

1950s ranch update inspired by magazine story


A tiny home in Kettering is about to get some national attention.

In May, This Old House magazine will run a photo of Marjo van Patten’s ranch as its “Reader Project” feature.

“This is my 15 minutes of fame,” van Patten said.

The retired reference librarian lives in an 840-square-foot ranch house built in 1951, just south of the Fraze Pavilion.

“It’s one of the first Huber homes (named for legendary local developer Charles Huber), designed as a starter home for World War II vets,” she said.

It’s a bit of shift from her former residence, a five-acre estate in Bellbrook called Thunderbolt Hill that she shared with her late husband, Robert van Patten. But it’s exactly what she’d been looking for.

Marjo van Patten found the Kettering site on a foreclosure listings website in June 2010, while looking for a smaller place to enjoy during retirement.

“This house was the first one that popped up,” she said, “and I thought – that’s perfect! This is the house that I want.”

‘Bingo!’

The single-story ranch required a complete overhaul, she said, from replacing the roof, floors, doorways and windows to gutting the bathroom and kitchen. After renovations, the van Pattens rented it to another family.

“The idea was to rent this until it was my turn to live here,” she said. “It was a lot shorter time than I’d hoped.”

Robert died in August of 2011. Three months later, Marjo moved to her new home – after making a few additional improvements to the house, including a German-inspired, tile-backed living room wall that holds a gas fireplace, media center and pantry.

“It makes me feel really urban and urbane, like I live in a New York City loft,” she said.

But one area of the house still needed help – the front. Its plain, flat, sparsely landscaped exterior was, well…

“So ugly,” van Patten said, flipping through a “before and after” photo album. In 2012, she finally found inspiration in one of her favorite magazines, This Old House. One of its “Photoshop Redo” entries featured a similar ranch house in the Midwest.

“They added a pergola, landscaping and some paint,” she said, “and I thought, ‘Bingo!’”

Wait pays off

Soon, her Kettering house had a new, fully accessible concrete walkup and driveway, fresh landscaping and an eye-catching white aluminum pergola from Buschurs Home Improvement Center in Dayton.

That Christmas, van Patten snapped a photo of the completed project and sent it to This Old House, thanking the magazine for its inspiration. They requested additional photos.

“Then I heard nothing for well over a year,” she said. Then, on March 5, she received an email:

“I know you’ve probably given up hope by now,” a This Old House magazine editor wrote, “but we in fact will be running your ranch pergola as the Reader Project in the May 2014 issue.”

Buschurs owner Terry Paxton said some of the company’s proprietary products have been featured in This Old House in the past, “but this is the first time we’ve had a customer (submit one) on her own. It’s really nice of her to do it — and really nice of them to run it.”

As for van Patten, she’s delighted to get to share the project and the news.

“I was so excited, I had to send (the email) to 50 of my friends,” van Patten said.

Let the 15 minutes of fame begin.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Burt Reynolds to auction replica 'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans-Am
Burt Reynolds to auction replica 'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans-Am

Remember the iconic muscle car driven by Burt Reynolds in the kitchy yet classic 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit? Who wouldn't want to own a Trans-Am just like it? Bidders will get their chance Friday at an auction in Arizona, MSN Autos reports.  A listing for the Barrett-Jackson sale in Scottsdale shows a Pro-Touring Firebird...
Report: Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concert
Report: Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concert

Holliday retweeted The Wrap's report on her Twitter account.In a letter addressed to "my beloved LGBT community," Holliday explained why she initially accepted the invitation to perform at the inauguration, saying she wanted to perform for the people, not for Trump. But after a vocal backlash, Holliday has decided not to perform.  According...
Children remember your words for the rest of their lives

“Parentspeak - What’s Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children — and What to Say Instead” by Jennifer Lehr (Workman, 276 pages, $14.95) We’ve all seen it. And heard it. In public places, watching parents interact with their children, what’s being said and done. Heck, maybe they were your own kids and you are evaluating...
Clark State Theatre Arts to hold auditions for ‘The Clean House’
Clark State Theatre Arts to hold auditions for ‘The Clean House’

The Clark State Community College Theatre Arts Program will hold auditions in January for their spring production of The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl. The Clean House centers around Matilde, an aspiring comedian, who has come to “metaphysical Connecticut” via Brazil to clean the home of Lane and Charles, but instead secretly works on developing...
'The Exorcist' author William Peter Blatty dies at 89
'The Exorcist' author William Peter Blatty dies at 89

Author William Peter Blatty, who wrote the best-selling horror novel, "The Exorcist," has died at the age of 89.
More Stories