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21st century design replacing an aged property on Toledo’s north side

July 6, 2009
By John Speer, Editor

TOLEDO CHRONICLE-It started out as the planned restoration of a classic - a 144-year-old two-story brick home on Toledo's north side. It ended up in rubble last week. But...

English designer and builder Steve Bridger has something new arising on the site - he says "the most technologically advanced homes in the midwest."

One unit of four which are planned was slated for completion last Friday. An adjoining home is expected to be quick to follow. All are for sale. They will feature two bedrooms, spacious kitchens, laundry rooms and garages.

Article Photos

This 1865 brick home on Toledo’s north side was demolished last week after it was determined the structure was beyond repair. It makes way for new condo units.
Photo by Rose Wiese

Bridger said he came to the United States and to Illinois to find locations upon which to build. He saw the old Toledo property offered for sale on the internet and subsequently bought it in November, 2007. But after purchase, he found the property had simply deteriorated too far.

He was able to sell the antique staircase which was in the home, but not much else.

Last week he was using an end loader to push the remains to the back of the property.

Bridger said just one of the unique things about the project is he is not "filling up your landfill" with the demolished home. Rather, it is being used as fill material and will form the base for a common or patio-type area for the new homes. Looking to the north, residents have what Bridger describes as a "vista" for a view of the gently rolling farm land.

He said any toxic materials were removed.

On the east side two of what he calls "semis" - codominium units - are the ones nearing completion. He intends to build another pair on the west side of the property.

Some of the material dfrom the demolition is also forming the base for the driveways, which will be heated.

Bridger is using heated water lines looped through the walls and under the floors to provide heat. The walls, floor and roofs are specially insulated. He said he is employing "Scandinavian technology" in the construction process. Bridger said he has employed "high-tech rediant foil" to prevent heat loss.

For more details on the construction visit - the link to Bridger's website accompanying this story at No internet? - Toledo, Tama and Chelsea public libraries provide free access.

The old home-

Steve Bridger said his research had only turned up sketchy details of the home at 403-405 East Mason street. He said it was of French design and was believed built in 1865.

One feature was the elaborate staircase which he said had a low handrail. He said this was typical of the times "because elegant ladies wanted to be seen with their arms straight as they descended the stairs."

The staircase was sold and went to Indiana.

A review of the 2003 Toledo Histroy Book didn't immediately find any reference to the property.

It is known the property was Fitch's Home, a facility for mostly elderly residentsin the 1950s and later was the home of the Haynard and Mary Valline family.



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