CITY / FAMILY: Exploring the things that transform a house, a place, and its people into a home.
Les and Jamie Stoneham came to Cincinnati over a decade ago and eventually settled on the border of Clifton Heights and OTR. Along with their five-month old, Elliot, the family lives in a rehabbed 1920s house while they soak in the inner-city lifestyle. This is their story.
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What are your names?
Les, Jamie, and Elliot Stoneham
Tell us a little bit about your family.?
Our journey about 10 years ago. Les and I were great friends for three years, through my many moves and different jobs. Now we've been married for five years [and just had a recent addition] with our little guy, Elliot. We live halfway between both of our extended families, so we cherish anytime that we get to actually see them.
What brought you to (or kept you in) Cincinnati?
We both came to Cincinnati to attend UC. Les has stayed ever since, while I moved around for a while before being drawn back. Cincinnati has a big/small town feel; we almost always know someone wherever we go, but it also offers a lot of the opportunities of larger cities. We are both entrepreneurs, and Cincinnati has been a great place to start small businesses and feel like we can make a real contribution to the community.
What do you do?
I work part-time with my two companies: FarmChef and JaC Design. I teach cooking and gardening classes throughout Greater Cincinnati with FarmChef, and I am also a freelance graphic designer with JaC Design. Les is an owner of a coffee roasting company in town called Deeper Roots Coffee.
What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there?
In 2003, when Les bought the house, our street was sold as CUF or Fairview. Today, it’s very much sold as OTR.
Why did you pick your neighborhood? What do you love about living there?
?It’s a great nexus of different communities; Clifton Heights, University Heights, Fairview (CUF); Over-the-Rhine (OTR), and the West End. While the city view was an obvious draw for buying the house, the quiet street, great neighbors, and proximity to things we love has kept us here.
What are some challenges of living where you do?
We live in an urban area, so we've had our share of issues with crime over the past 13 years. It’s a very different environment from where both of us grew up, which will always make it a challenge to raise our child here. But we feel the benefits of Elliot growing up with a diverse community and so many cultural opportunities around him will be priceless. We also both grew up close to vast open spaces and nature, and we miss being able to easily rejuvenate in the woods.
Have you done any major renovations on your home? What makes it yours?
Our house is a small, simple frame house from the 1920s. We wanted to make the most out of the square footage and spectacular view so that meant ripping out walls, opening up a lot of the rooms, and renovating the lower level for more living space. It has been a labor of love over the past 13 years, with a lot of help from friends and family.
Do you have a favorite place to hang out?
We spend a lot of time going to coffee shops and restaurants around the city. There is such a great food and drink culture in Cincinnati. Elliot is a champ at going out with us, even though he doesn’t get to enjoy the delicious food yet.
Is there anything specific you hope your kids will learn from living where you do?
We hope that Elliot will learn grace and compassion for this beautiful city and that he won’t take for granted all of the wonderful things that we have worked for and were given in life. We hope that he’ll learn to keep his head high, be smart, be street savvy, and cherish -- not fear -- the different people and cultures this rich city and world has to offer.
What changes do you hope to see in your neighborhood in the next 10 or 20 years?
Being new parents, we're concerned about public schools and what will change in the coming years with them. While we will love to see our area of OTR continue to be revitalized, we hope to see the current residents and stakeholders work together to make it a better, safer, and diverse community.
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Scroll back to the top to get a peek inside the Stoneham's home.