A lot of my friends dream about finding a place out in the country that has a few acres of land, a huge barn for a woodworking shop and an abundance of quiet.
Not me. I’ve always loved cities, especially the old sections. I like 19th-century architecture, alleyways and the bustle of city life. I also like being able to walk everywhere I need to go and being in close quarters with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, street vendors, theatres and all the crazy little businesses that crop up in a metropolis. Heck I even like the constant hum.
For the last 15 years, I’ve lived in one of the older suburbs in Cincinnati. Our house was built in 1928, I can walk to the grocery stores, the kids can walk to school and we are less than five minutes from downtown Cincinnati. It’s a nice, leafy suburb. We would be fools to leave.
But I have been plotting the next move for Lost Art Press (and my family) and am eager to leave suburban life forever. Just down the road from us is Covington, Ky., an older city right on the Ohio River and across from downtown Cincinnati.
It has a huge inventory of old residential, commercial and mixed-use properties. And I have started scouting buildings. I want a storefront on the ground floor for my workshop and our publishing activities. And I want to live above the shop. I want a back alley. A loading dock. A tin ceiling.
Lucky for me, Covington is lousy with properties like this. Even luckier: My spouse feels the same way that I do about this crazy plan. Her family owned a drugstore on Madison Avenue until Covington’s economy collapsed and all the stores moved to the suburbs. They lost their drug store. So moving back to Covington to set up business has some emotional appeal.
Last weekend I started looking at some buildings up for sale to get a feel for the market. The first stop: A building on Madison Avenue, one block down from the old drug store.
That property turned out to be wrong in too many ways. But the process – and the view from the sidewalks of the city – felt exactly right.
— Christopher Schwarz