Marlow Street

The rescue and renovation of a historic single engine fire station.

After a long process of pursuing the right contacts at the City of Cincinnati who was intending that the facility be used for storage, the former CFD 51 fire station was purchased in the fall of 2009. The fire station had been abused over it’s 100+ year life with little maintenance or remodeling ever taking place. What work was performed in it’s duration of service was of mediocre craftsmanship and ultimately created hazards that had to be dealt with. Every single square inch of the building had to be touched. All wiring, plumbing, and hvac systems were completely removed and replaced with modern systems. The existing roof was failing and the building had no insulation so a top of the line white EPDM (rubber) roof was installed over 7+ inches of rigid insulation. Once the core systems of the building were addressed, the remodel was able to take place:

The original lineoleum tile floor was removed from the concrete slab. The slab was cut and trenched to allow the installation of new plumbing. In floor radiant heat was placed on top of the existing slab and a new topping slab was poured. The concrete was then stained and sealed. The kitchen received new maple cabinets, stainless appliances, stainless counter tops, and custom light fixtures. The custom artistic touches included an island that was wrapped with reclaimed beadboard and topped with a paper decoupage that looked like leather when finished. A custom mural of the original Ahrens-Fox (fire engine manufacturer) was painted on a wall. A hand built banquet was installed to create seating for the custom table that was made from a reclaimed bowling alley. The original exterior horse door (the kitchen was originally the stable) was refurbished.

First Floor Bath:
The existing bath on the first floor was originally the kitchen, which was originally the stable. This space was quite large and only housed a throne and a sink. This room was demolished and a smaller 3 piece bath installed. This room was finished in floor to ceiling white subway tile. The spacious shower featured a sliding glass door and a rain shower head. The sink was a reclaimed wall mount pedestal with chrome legs. A custom shelf above a subway tile knee wall provided privacy for the throne.

This space once held the call center. The wall next to the stairs originally had the switch board, alarm switches, and teletype. Unfortunately these items could not be salvaged as the presented a dangerous fire hazard. The beadboard wainscoting was refurbished. The linoleum floors were removed to reveal the original maple hardwood floor. This floor was sanded and then stained with a custom checkerboard pattern. New lighting and a ceiling fan was added to this space. The front door was replaced with a reclaimed door and a custom stained glass window (courtesy of DIY’s Desperate landscapes) was placed in the original transom location. Openings were framed in the new stair wall to allow additional light into the stairwell.

Upstairs Family:
This space was utilized as the living space for the firemen. The walls around the stairwell were torn down to create a more open space. Linoleum floors were removed to expose the maple hardwood which was refinished. Ceilings were torn down on the entire existing floor to allow for new lighting and wiring. The structure was then painted and then left exposed.

Guest Bath:
The original and one and only 3 piece bath was quite primitive. The bath mat in front of the knock together metal shower had to be removed from the painted concrete/plaster floor with a floor scraper. This space was gutted and then divided to create a space for a new full bath and mechanical closet. The bath was finished with 12in white tile on the floor and iridescent green mosaic tiles in the shower.

Guest Bedrooms (2):
The space which now houses the 2 guest bedrooms was originally the open air dorm and exercise space for the firemen. New walls were constructed to frame 2 bedrooms which was divided by a hallway that led to the original fire pole. The fire pole was framed into a closet with a glass door and accent lighting. The two bedrooms featured closets that were created by painstakingly salvaging the original bead board lockers from the locker room. One was framed to create a loft above that could hold a bed. Access to these rooms were created by placing reclaimed doors on barn door hardware. Plush carpet was installed to create a warm feeling to the space.

The space which is now the office was originally the fire hose drying tower. This space had a large opening that went from the garage up to a small structure on the roof. The opening was encased by a beadboard enclosure. The enclosure was removed and the upstairs floor was filled in to separate it from the garage. The roof structure was opened up and large picture windows were added. The walls of the roof structure were clad with reclaimed pallet boards. The office received cork flooring. The original wood clad wall was refurbished and surrounding brick was exposed. Natural light pours in down the hose tower to the desk. Custom lights made from reclaimed firehose provide light at night.

Master Suite:
This space was once the locker room and part of the sleeping quarters. This space was demolished and then framed to create a large master bedroom, master bathroom, and walk in master closet. The bedroom featured exposed beams and painted hardwood floors. The door to the bedroom is a reclaimed metal clad fire door weighing several hundred pounds. The master bath feature heated floors with tiles that look like wood planks. The large open walk-in shower featured black river rock floor and large 10×30 white tiles run vertically. His and her sinks with Caesar stone tops on a modern furniture vanity. The throne was placed in a room of it’s own. The large walk in closet featured ample shelving and is access through the master bath.

The Exterior:
While busy with the renovations inside the structure, word was put out to Desperate Landscapes of the dire status of the front yard. Their response was an immediate yes. All existing landscaping was removed. A new front porch seating area was created near the front door. This area featured brick pavers and was surrounded by boxwoods. A Water feature was added and incorporated a functioning fire hydrant. Two large October Maple trees were placed on either side of the large concrete driveway. Boxwoods continued on the other side of the driveway to carve out a space for roses and decorative grasses to balance out the front. The gardens were flanked with tall arborvitaes. Some color was incorporated through black eyed susans. A new garage door cleaned up the façade and a custom stained glass window made by a local artist was placed in the transom above the front door.

The spacious back yard was the original location of the 140’ tall communication tower which had to be torn down as a requirement of the city. The yard was fenced in and a large paver patio was installed off the back of the house. Reclaimed gooseneck barn lights were placed off the back of the house to provide lighting over the patio.

Junction North
301 N. Union Street