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Marketing Modern Architecture

Marketing Modern Architecture
A Cincinnati woman has turned her love of contemporary style into a booming mid-century modern real estate business that uncovers architectural gems around the city.

 

072511FASHION1.jpgSometimes there are people whose personal style and choice of career seem so perfectly enmeshed, one wonders which came first. From her shiny VW to her chic, un-fussy and sleek fashion sense, Susan Rissover is one of those people.

 

As a child growing up in Sylvania, Ohio, Rissover loved the contemporary home she lived in with her parents and has always been attracted to the clean lines of modern design. She attributes this in part to family drives which would often include stops at the open houses of contemporary mid-century modern homes. Little did she know at the time how this was shaping her own future in the world of real estate, she says.

 

In 1986 Rissover and her husband, Arlen, purchased their first mid-century modern house in one of Cincinnati's first suburbs, Paddock Hills. Rissover knew very little about the modernism architecture movement at the time, but the fact that their little 1950s gem had come with its original blueprints fascinated her. She tracked down Abe Dombar, the home's architect, and Edna Abrams, its original owner. After gleaning all of the information she could, she quickly realized her true passion for these unique homes and her lifelong journey of learning began, she says.

 

For many years, however, this love of all things modern was for the most part a hobby for this full-time mother of three and part-time volunteer. Rissover had also built up a very 072511FASHION2.jpgsuccessful business designing and selling wedding invitations. Step inside her present mid–century modern house in Amberley Village, and it's clear to see that over the years, her education and skillset paid off in a tasteful and elegant neutral décor, resplendent with the best of original 1950s and 60s furniture. Splashes of bright color abound in the original prints by Cincinnati favorite Charley Harper, and everywhere there are sparkles from Finland's Iittala crystal. 

 

In 2003, with her youngest daughter in school full time, she decided to take the leap and finally put her 1209KROMBHOLZ.gifextensive knowledge of mid-century modern architecture to the test, she says. Could she make a living sharing this love with others? Over the years, Rissover had discovered that there were thousands of these architectural diamonds in the rough scattered all over the tri-state area and thought that perhaps she should be the one to ferret them out and showcase them as a niche in the real estate market. Her website was set up as a hub for her real estate world, she says, and she quickly became the go-to expert on these properties.

 

"Marketing and selling modern, unique and architecturally-significant homes is a highly specialized area of real estate," Rissover says. "Our main objective is to market your home to those who see the value of architecture. Our website, combined with social networking, gets thousands of hits a month from buyers and agents seeking unique homes."

 

Not only has she been featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Best magazine and Housetrends magazine, but her listings have also received national attention in the The Wall Street Journal and Dwell magazine. Rissover herself is now recognized as a national expert in residential midcentury modern architecture and has appeared on HGTV's What You Get for the Money and HGTV Pro. She is also co-author of the book 50 from the 50s: Modern Architecture and Interiors in Cincinnati. Often sought out as a speaker on the topic, she co-founded the group cf3 (Cincinnati Form Follows Function) as a local forum for fellow lovers of these jewels in the Queen City's crown.

Ilene Ross -

Ilene Ross is a staff writer and the producer for the "Cincy Chic Show." E-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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