Local entrepreneurs Jake Gerth and Duru Armagan have lived on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine for eight years. After establishing successful businesses and having a sweet little girl, the gas-lit streets of Clifton have beckoned. Today, their fourth-floor condo is on the market, and it probably won't last long. It's gorgeous.
We caught up with Jake and Duru to piece together their story of living in the neighborhood and what's next for their family of three.
Cincinnati Refined: When did you move into your apartment on Main?
We moved to our Main Street condo in 2010.
CR: Did you always own it? If not, when did the switch from renting to buying happen?
We rented it from 2010 to 2015. When we found out we were pregnant, we decided to buy it and renovate. We were not ready to leave OTR yet, but we also knew we wanted to upgrade our place and make it more livable with a baby. There wasn’t a part of the condo we didn’t touch. We really made it our own.
CR: What brought you to OTR initially?
Jake: We were barely 21 looking to move in together. Every weekend we would rotate between Northside and OTR, debating which was a better fit for us. We always took the future seriously, so we researched for months before deciding. We spent many nights at The Comet and Grammer’s, working diligently to find the answers.
Duru: Ultimately, we both knew we wanted to start our own businesses and thought OTR was the better move. We loved the energy and walkability of it all. Everyone had ideas and goals. Everyone shared them, and we shared ours. It was such an inspiring time, and it’s still such an inspiring place.
CR: Jake owns/runs Frameshop and Goods on Main. Is he involved in anything else at the moment?
Duru: Frameshop is the major gig. We hope to grow the business on both the retail side and with larger projects around the world. GOODS is more of a co-op. We both were founding members, but Jake is the only one currently involved. Jake is always working on projects; consulting, graphic designing, events, modeling, etc.
CR: You started Sloane on Vine Street but recently sold it. Any other professional projects on the horizon, or are you taking your time to figure that out?
Duru: Yes, I owned Sloane Boutique for a little over six years. After Jake Ayla was born, it became harder for me to balance the store with motherhood. I felt guilty either way. I wanted to be able to spend more time with her when she was little. I am currently doing retail consulting on the side. One of my biggest projects right now is Sorella Boutique opening in Liberty Center later this summer. I’ve been able to help with everything, from the design of the store to the buying, while still being able to spend more time with my daughter.
CR: How has Main Street changed since you’ve lived there?
Many new businesses have opened (and closed). We have all the necessities right outside our door now. It's completely walkable — grocery, coffee, the best restaurants in the city, a pool, and a park. Ziegler has been a dramatic force in bringing people together in the neighborhood. It’s electric there.
CR: Describe your design aesthetic for the space.
Our building was developed by Bill Baum in the '90s. He was a very forward-thinker in the idea of literally opening up old spaces. He also reused materials in his projects and left things exposed that most developers wouldn’t. He opened the original ceiling, leaving us a slanted ceiling that's 15 feet at it’s highest point. When people open the door for the first time, they are usually taken back by the sense of space and light.
Overall it’s 1,100 square feet, but it feels much larger. The kitchen is minimal and mostly white, with a nice pop of yellow. It feels fresh. The bathroom is the only non-original wood floor in the space with white marble. The shower has white exposed brick and a concrete floor. With the shower's hanging plant, you feel like you’re taking a shower under a waterfall. The living room and bedroom have massive windows that almost feel like paintings of Italianate buildings to remind you of the history [with which you reside]. We have three historic fireplaces (one working) that also keeps the old world charm alive and are balanced with walls of white brick, modern fixtures, and contemporary furnishings.
Overall, it's artful, simple, and original.
CR: What has prompted the move to sell the condo, and where are you headed next?
We came to OTR young and ready to shake it up! Our condo was the perfect perch for us to see our vision for the neighborhood. We are now leaving OTR a little older with a desire to find a home where our baby girl can grow up in. We found an amazing opportunity to buy a historic home in Clifton. It feels like a dream come true but it will come with a lot of work. The neighborhood is beautiful, diverse, and the new Clifton Area Neighborhood School is right across the street!
When we first saw the house we knew this could be the place that got us out of OTR. It’s bittersweet. We will still come to OTR often, but the daily hellos, high-fives, debates, and general excitement will be missed.
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Interested in purchasing Jake and Duru's condo? Check out the listing here.