CITY / FAMILY: Exploring the things that transform a house, a place, and its people into a home.
Adam, Jessica, and their two children moved out of downtown and into a historic home in East Price Hill. Together, they live the life of a city family with the added comforts of owning a yard. With a goal to adopt a front-porch mentality in a diverse neighborhood, the Shaws are enjoying every ounce of Price Hill as they raise their children. This is their story.
What are your names?
Adam and Jessica Shaw (and Micah and Elliana).
Tell us a little bit about your family.
We’ve been married for five years and have been living in our current home for three. We have two babies. Micah is almost two years old and Elliana is two months. Our household is loud, fun, and dynamic to say the least.
What brought you to (or kept you in) Cincinnati?
We both moved here for university, Adam at UC and Jess at Xavier. Neither of us expected to stay here after graduation. However, this city has a way of surprising us. The people, job opportunities, and variety that Cincinnati offers kept us here. Its growth is exciting.
What do you do?
Adam: I’m one of the owners of Deeper Roots Coffee. I spend my days sourcing unique coffees and making sure they’re roasted in the best way possible. Current hobbies are rock climbing, music, bread making, and photography.
Jess: I’m a hematology/oncology nurse at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Ideally, I spend my off days outside with Adam and the kids. I’m still figuring out room for hobbies, but they would be running, baking, reading, and dancing.
What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there?
We live in East Price Hill.
Why did you pick your neighborhood? What do you love about living there?
There are many answers to this question. On the practical end, we love the well-priced, historical, amazing housing. We live five minutes from downtown so we get the benefits of being close to all of that activity combined with a yard and off-street parking. On the spiritual end, there’s an incredible community of people here that we’ve known since university. They have a lot of love for this neighborhood and the people and are contributing to the community here and creating opportunity in innovative ways.
What are some challenges of living where you do?
Adam: I want to be a good neighbor but also be relatable to all the different types of neighbors that we have. Sometimes I feel there are certain people groups that, as much as I want to relate to them, I just can’t right now. Language and socioeconomic differences can be hard to authentically bridge.
Jess: I feel what I believe is productive tension, but it’s still tension. I want to be aware of the struggles of those around me and respond to them. It’s tempting to want a comfortable, unchallenged life that I can predict. I hope that any challenges we face from inner-city living will help us avoid complacency.
Have you done any major renovations on your home? What makes it yours?
Our focus in the renovations is to preserve and restore the beauty of this home while still making it very functional for our uses. The house was built in 1891 and we bought it as a half fixer-upper after it had been converted from a single family, to a multi-family, and then back to a single. A neighbor redid a collapsing driveway, built the front yard retaining walls, and refinished the floors.
Adam’s dad restored an original fireplace mantle. We’re still in the process of installing baseboard and window trim which we had made to match those original to our home. We also built out a master bedroom closet in what used to be a connecting nursery. We’ve done a lot of the work and plan on including our children in this process as well.
Let’s just say we’ve written a lot in sharpie behind the drywall.
Do you have a favorite park or place to hang out?
Mt. Echo Park has the best view of the city and is within easy walking distance. Smale Park is another favorite in short driving distance. We love getting breakfast and coffee at Bloc Coffee Co since their breakfasts are better than anything we could possibly make at home.
Is there anything specific you hope your kids will learn from living where you do?
We hope they develop a “front porch” mentality. When we went to see this house as prospective buyers, neighbors met us out on the street to see who we were and to say hi. That, coupled with the diversity, drew us here and we want that to impact them as they grow.
Be visible. Have real conversations with those around you. That’s what Price Hill is teaching us.
What changes do you hope to see in your neighborhood in the next 10 to 20 years?
We hope that the momentum of economic development keeps going and that the people who were here before it started are not displaced. We would all benefit from increased walkability and resources around us. There are grass roots movements happening here in East Price Hill. The unprecedented after-school music program, My Cincinnati, Oyler School’s nationally acclaimed school-based healthcare programs, Bloc Ministry’s unique approach to giving aid to women coming out of prostitution and the Eco-Village on Enright are just a few things that have been successful here in EPH.
We hope those moving to the neighborhood see the collaborative/entrepreneurial spirit of solving inner-city problems and join in the intentionality that has been sprouting here for the past several years. Also, we want all our friends to move in beside us.
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Scroll back to the top to get a peek inside the Shaw's home.