One of the first International Style residences in the state, the house was designed by Modernist architect John Becker for insurance executive Frederick Rauh and his wife, Harriet. Both architect and client were part of a dynamic community that advocated for the arts, civil rights, the benefits of contact with nature and the thoughtful treatment of food. In fact, later in life Becker retired from architecture and joined his wife, Marion Rombauer Becker, as an editor of her best-selling cookbook, The Joy of Cooking.
The Rauh family remained in the house until the early 1960s. During the real estate boom of the mid-2000s, the land was platted for building lots and the house, stripped and left empty, almost demolished as a “teardown.” Two demolition permits were secured by the owner/developer, both of which expired.
Through local and national media, CPA, local Modernist advocates and preservation-minded neighbors drew attention to the house’s plight. Frederick and Harriet Rauh’s daughter, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, who grew up in the house, became aware of the situation. She purchased the house and complete site in 2010 as the development failed. The house and land were given to the Cincinnati Preservation Association in 2011, along with funds for a complete restoration.
The restoration of the Rauh House was a daunting effort presenting many technical challenges. The house sat vacant for five years with a failing flat roof, resulting in structural deterioration, ceiling collapse, water damage and mold infestation. Restoration began in 2010 with extensive mold remediation, followed by structural stabilization
The 1938 International Style residence was restored to the original design in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The painstaking project preserved and restored as much original fabric as possible and duplicated missing features to match the originals. The work utilized traditional craftsmanship and seamlessly integrated modern technology and sustainable features. Modern mechanical systems, geo-thermal heating and cooling and insulation were incorporated in a non-intrusive manner. Custom steel windows were manufactured with insulating glass to match the originals in size, shape and operation. The walls were rebuilt with traditional three-coat plaster and reproduction wood parquet flooring.
Restoration of the Rauh House demonstrates that even a severely deteriorated house and degraded landscape can be brought back to their original glory in an environmentally responsible manner. CPA is proud to have facilitated the restoration of this Mid-Century Modern masterpiece.
The property was sold in 2014 and is under private ownership. CPA still retains Historic Preservation Easements on the exterior of building and property.
The property was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.