Ben Fry is a rising name in the local home-building arena. His works are notable due to their exclusivity—no two homes he and his team build are the same. When someone walks through a home he's built, they're in for a unique tour through something custom-built. Whether it's a Mt. Auburn house overlooking the city or a tailor-made abode in the suburbs, there seems to be nothing Fry can't do in his field.
Because of his growing popularity, we asked him a few questions over email about his background, how he designs his homes, and about his most recent projects.
For photos of the CiTiRAMA homes he discusses in the interview below, head to the gallery above.
Cincinnati Refined: First of all, please tell the audience who you are and what you do.
Ben Fry: My name is Ben Fry, owner of Fry Homes in Cincinnati. We are a custom home building company that specializes in medium to high-end custom homes and renovations in and around the Greater Cincinnati Area.
CR: How’d you get into the business of building homes? What do you love about it?
BF: It all started when I was in college at the University of Cincinnati. During that time, I flipped houses while working on completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate. After college, I continued flipping houses, which led to a large condo conversion in Mt. Auburn (published in Cincy Refined). The conversion was a complete gut, but we were able to maintain the original historical elements of the exterior. It was different from other flips because we practically built all new in the interior of the home. Other flips I had done in the past weren’t as extensive and this project gave me a little taste for what new builds might be like. After kicking around the idea for a while, I started building new construction homes the last few years.
CR: What’s your motivation for building homes? Do you also design them?
BF: It’s an incredible feeling seeing a new construction home go from the very beginning to the end. There are so many tiny-yet-vital details that go into building. I’m on-site at each location nearly every day during all phases of construction to ensure that all of our homes are built with high quality. We take our clients directly to our architects to discuss style, layout, and must-haves. This creates a personalized experience and design for each home buyer.
CR: Do you only build new homes or do you renovate existing properties, too?
BF: Currently, we are placing an increased focus on new construction. We do take on some renovations for homeowners, but [we] are currently extremely busy.
CR: What’s CiTiRAMA and how did you get involved?
BF: CiTiRAMA is an annual home show produced by the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati. As a member, the opportunity arose to participate in the show and I thought it would be an amazing way to showcase our product. This year was my first year building in the show, which was located in Springdale, Ohio just off of Route 4 and I-275 in a development called Springrose Meadows. I had two custom homes in the show and I’m hoping to have the opportunity to participate again next year.
CR: Tell us about 479 & 480 Dorothy Lane and how those homes came to be.
BF: 480 Dorothy Lane was originally the only home I was going to have in the show. It was designed to be a modern farmhouse style. We had an idea of what exactly we wanted the exterior to look like so we began by looking online for something that would fit the lot that was close. After we found something, we took it to our architect where several improvements were made to the design we had originally found.
The opportunity arose for an additional home to be built in the show and we jumped on it. We really wanted to put out two completely different style homes to show how personalized our custom homes can be. Since we have done several projects within the city of Cincinnati, we thought we would bring a little downtown to the suburbs. 479 Dorothy Lane exhibits this with a transitional style.
CR: Are they for sale? What makes them unique?
BF: Each home is currently for sale. We did not do any premarketing of the homes before the show to allow us to have 100% control of the design to showcase our vision.
The selections made for 480 Dorothy Lane were chosen to emphasize the “modern” in a modern farmhouse. On the exterior, this home features an eight-foot double-entry door, cedar ceiling covered front porch, and spacious back patio for entertaining. The interior of the home offers a first-floor master suite, formal dining room with exposed beams, butler’s pantry, gas fireplace, and 18-foot vaulted ceiling in the great room. The kitchen has a large island that offers seating, a drop-in gas stove, a wall oven, and a custom herringbone range hood. This home has some major upgrades which include heated tile floors in the master bath, invisible shower drain, phantom sound system, custom staircase and railing, whole-home central vacuum system, and R-19 wall insulation. In total, the home has four-bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a two-car oversized garage, and a finished basement.
479 Dorothy Lane showcases a much different style: transitional. This is a blend of traditional and contemporary. In total, this home has four-bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a two-car garage, a finished basement, a study, and a spacious deck area off of the great room. This home is made unique by its finishes. The home holds many matte gold accents, an electric color changing fireplace, solid wood cabinets, and a dry bar in the basement with custom concrete countertops. We included in the design of the home many geometric features including some light fixtures, tile, and millwork. The study is warm and inviting with herringbone millwork and navy blue paint.
CR: What did you particularly enjoy about building these two homes?
BF: It was a lot of fun being able to build two homes with completely different styles and floorplans. I was actually at the show every day for the entire day. It was incredible to hear all of the great feedback from the public.
CR: Will you be doing more homes in these types of styles?
BF: We have the ability to build these homes for customers who are interested on their lot, or we can assist them in finding a lot to build on. However, we are fully custom, so any design and style is possible so long as the lot allows for it.
CR: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
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480 Dorothy Lane is listed for $395,000. View the full listing here.
479 Dorothy Lane is listed for $375,000. View the full listing here.