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Bringing the Indoors Out

When The English Contractor team started this exterior renovation in Hyde Park, who could have expected that we would have all have spent nearly a year dealing with a lock down, quarantine, social distancing and other safety measures. They have lots of customers coming to them now for plans on creating an outdoor oasis. These clients were lucky enough to have already had a plan for an outdoor living space in the works so they can safely (and warmly) entertain with family and friends in their own backyard. 

These homeowners acquired an older home that had been turned into a dentist’s office. They had worked over the past few years to restore it to its former glory. They partnered with The English Contractor to enhance the exterior of the building and the backyard.

Hyde Park home front exterior: before
Hyde Park home back exterior: before

The English Contractor’s work included new paint, a new, larger front porch, a poured concrete driveway, giving gated access to the backyard, a new, freestanding garage, and a back porch and patio that could offer room for extra parking.

The backyard provided a blank slate and the perfect spot for a new two-car garage, a rarity in this urban community of older homes. In addition to adding more storage and lighting, this new structure gave more privacy from neighbors for the new entertaining and outdoor living space. 

The covered doorway and small deck were removed from the back of the house, as were the two back doors. The doorway to the home’s living area was replaced with glass French doors. A new, larger overhang was added over the door to the basement. The large composite deck is big enough to allow for a seating area. A wood wall gives real privacy from the close next-door neighbors, plus built-in planters allow for seasonal color.

This new space is truly made for outdoor living. It includes a built in outdoor television, an outdoor kitchen, and a gas fire pit. We included all of the conveniences of the indoors to this outdoor space. Filled with comfortable and warm details, these homeowners will be able to enjoy this space all year round. 

The trend now is for outdoor spaces that are an extension of the indoor living space. These customers were ahead of this trend in planning for this outdoor oasis and now many customers are following suit. 

For more information on this project, check out this video from The English Contractor. You can read more about this and other projects on The English Contractor blog.

The English Contractor is not only a 2021 Title Sponsor, but is also a Platinum sponsor of AIA Cincinnati’s CRANawards. Learn more at

Submitting Firm: THP Limited, Inc.

Project Name: University of Cincinnati Fifth Third Arena Renovation

Location: 2700 O’Varsity Way, Cincinnati, OH 45221

Date Completed:  2018

Project Team

Architect: Populous

Local Architect: Moody Nolan

Owner: University of Cincinnati

Construction Manager:  Skanska USA

Structural Engineer: THP Limited, Inc

This icon of Cincinnati Bearcat basketball received an $87 million renovation in 2018. The arena’s interior was gutted to accommodate a state-of-the-art facility with new luxury suites, better views, and updated fan amenities. The new arena features upgraded permanent lower level bowl seating and two 360-degree concourses, with one leading to a new open entrance plaza.

THP worked closely with the design and construction team from the start of conceptual planning to develop a new arena plan that could meet the university’s needs while maintaining the project budget and working within the existing building’s structural limitations. With half of the arena located over existing occupied space below, the new structural layout was carefully coordinated with the architectural floor plan to minimize the amount of reinforcement needed. A new lightweight stadia seating material was used to reduce overall weight within the existing arena. THP’s on-site presence allowed for quick resolution of unforeseen conditions that arose during construction.

THP Limited, Inc. is an Advisory Partner of AIA Cincinnati’s 2020 VISION program.

Credit: MSA Architects

Submitting Firm: Spohn Associates, Inc.

Project Name: Blue Ash Summit Tower

Location: Blue Ash, Ohio

Date Completed: April 2018

Project Team:

Architect: MSA Architects

Customer: City of Blue Ash

Contractor: Turner Construction

Photographer: Lindsay Nesbitt

Manufacturer Rep/Installers: Spohn Associates, Inc.

Brief Description

Spohn was very excited to see this beautiful project come together! The City of Blue Ash decided they wanted to erect this incredible 180′ observation tower in Blue Ash, Ohio. MSA Architects, Turner Construction and Spohn Associates collaborated to help in the design process. Spohn provided the entire exterior skin. This includes the perforated and ACM panels, the point supported glass, the ornamental railing, etc. 

Because of the scale and complexity of the job, Spohn has had a dedicated project manager on site since its inception. Spohn’s local sales rep in Cincinnati, Andy Muhlada, has also played a big role in the process, and had this to say: “From the beginning this has been a testament to teamwork. As each new challenge arises, there is a confidence that we have all the right players to overcome any obstacle.”

Spohn Associates is a Visionary Partner of AIA Cincinnati’s 2020 VISION program.

Submitting Firm: Reading Rock

Project Name: Xavier University Health United Building

Location: 1723 Cleneay Ave Cincinnati Oh 45207

Date Completed:  11/15/2019

Project Team

Architect: MSA Design

Owner: Xavier University

Mason: Ollier Masonry

GC: Messer Construction

Manufacturer: Reading Rock, Inc.

Brief Description: 

Technology and Teamwork Yield a Positive Result.

Sometimes positive + negative = positive. That’s what Matt Mintus, Project Solutions Coordinator in Messer’s Operations Technology Solutions (OTS) department, discovered when asked to work through façade challenges at Xavier University’s Health United Building in Cincinnati.

The building’s architect, MSA Design, envisioned a series of sports-themed concrete medallions adorning the building’s exterior. The only thing the project team had to start with were conceptual drawings in PDF format. Bringing them to life required technology and teamwork over the course of eight months along with Reading Rock’s ability to produce the medallions.

“These medallions are a staple piece of this building that’s highly visible on campus,” Mintus said. “The OTS department prides itself in specializing in the most up-to-date processes and technology. The biggest win is that the artist’s design touched three different companies and the final product stayed close to the original intent.”

Reading Rock is an Advisory Partner of AIA Cincinnati’s 2020 VISION program.

Submitting Firm:  NOLI Modern Italian Kitchens

Project Name: Hughes Residence

Location: 1826 Elm Street

Date Completed: January 2020

Project Team: 

Terry Boling, AIA, Architect

Damon Long/DesignBuildGC, General Contractor

Joe VanDeHatert, Photography

Karen and Bradley Hughes, Owners

Brief Description:

Architect Terry Boling, AIA was charged to remodel an historic OTR home (circa 1880) and capitalize on the unique layout to add a modern extension for open living.  With NOLI, they collaborated with their clients to design a bright, elegant space that connected the open kitchen and living areas to an inviting outdoor courtyard.

Designed to inspire and celebrate the clients’ culinary enthusiasm, the kitchen features two islands of 64 square feet of beveled, honed granite, and 70 linear feet of MAISTRI cabinets in a 24-in pattern (except the 30-in ovens). With MDF slabs finished in a tonal grey lacquer matte, the kitchen became a warm, efficient workspace. The bar and entertainment centers are hidden behind double pocket doors, while the VIVA beveled-edge doors, softly backlit counters, lacquered channel grips and low toe kicks contribute to the visual silence and sophistication of the space. 

Project contributed to LEED Platinum.

NOLI is a Bronze Level Sponsor of AIA Cincinnati’s 2020 CRANawards.