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.

breaking news

Springfield police open death investigation after woman’s body found

‘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

This ‘Hunger Games’ exhibit is SO worth the drive
This ‘Hunger Games’ exhibit is SO worth the drive

If you were looking for an excuse for a mini-getaway that’s less than 3 hours away, your moment has come. “Hunger Games: The Exhibition” is on display now at The Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky through September 10, 2017. Louisville is about 2.5 hours from Dayton’s center, so it can easily be a day or weekend...
Comedian Bill Cosby reveals he is totally blind
Comedian Bill Cosby reveals he is totally blind

Comedian Bill Cosby said he is completely blind, USA Today reported. >> Read more trending news In his first interview in two years, Cosby told the National Newspaper Publishers Association news service that he woke up one morning two years ago and told his wife, Camille, “I can't see.” Cosby was later told by doctors that...
Beatles’ rare outtake from ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions released
Beatles’ rare outtake from ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions released

It was 50 years ago today … Well, almost. As the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album draws near, Capitol Records is sharing an unreleased outtake from the band’s recording sessions. >> Read more trending news The disc, ranked No. 1 in Rolling Stone’s survey...
One of the Kardashian sisters reportedly hasn’t spoken to Caitlyn Jenner in nearly two years
One of the Kardashian sisters reportedly hasn’t spoken to Caitlyn Jenner in nearly two years

Caitlyn Jenner claims she hasn’t spoken to her stepdaughter Khloé Kardashian in nearly two years. The former Olympian opened up to Andy Cohen on his “Radio Andy” show on SiriusXM. “She doesn’t want to talk to me,” Jenner said. “She hasn’t talked to me in, like, two years.” She continued...
Bill Paxton remembered at premiere of final film ‘The Circle’
Bill Paxton remembered at premiere of final film ‘The Circle’

The director of the new tech drama “The Circle,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, remembered actor Bill Paxton at the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday. Paxton, who played Watson’s father, had a small role in the movie, his last before his death at 61 after heart surgery in February...
More Stories