bob Bennett grew up in Ohio, attended The Ohio State University and served as the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party from 1988 to 2009. He attended his first game (the infamous Snow Bowl in 1950) at 11, walking the one and a half miles home, where he was promptly given his first sip of whisky and put in a warm bath to thaw. So when he and his wife, Ruth Ann, decided to move from their Fairview Park house to a home on the lake in Cleveland's Edgewater neighborhood, Bob had a pretty good idea of how he wanted to decorate — with the instantly recognizable (to any true Ohioan, at least) Block O.
Oh, my: The solid mahogany front door has a giant Block O carved into it. The Bennetts' carver had to obtain permission from Ohio State's trademark department. Inside, that same O is incorporated into the stair railing designed by Finelli Iron Works. Lastly, the tray ceiling in both the great room and the dining room was formed with the same proportions as the Block O.
Resale concerns? Not really. Bob and Ruth Ann have no interest in selling to Michigan fans.
Practically perfect: The Bennetts knew exactly how they wanted to live. Ruth Ann had total control over the first floor. There is no living room or formal dining room. Instead, the square footage goes toward a large, open great room/kitchen and a cozy sunroom where she likes to work. The walkout basement — or "man cave" as Bob calls it — has a bar, sitting area and a home theater. There is also a sauna, exercise room and a hot tub with a lake view.
Football and wine? When Bob has all his buddies over to watch a Bucks game, he breaks out the beer — for them. He sips a nice pinot noir from his 1,000-bottle wine closet.
On Edgewater: Bob estimates lots in Cleveland cost half what they do in Rocky River. Plus, there's a 15-year tax abatement on new construction. It's also convenient. "I come home without a traffic light," Bob says. "There's two stop signs. That's it."
Babs was right: Ruth Ann planned on leaving her dining room table behind when she sold her former house in Fairview Park. That was before Barbara Bush showed up there for a fundraiser and saw the 10-foot-long piece of solid walnut designed by a woodworker from Ohio University. "She was going around the table, feeling it," Ruth Ann says. "She said, 'Keep it with you when you move.' " So Ruth Ann did.
Bob and Ruth Ann's one disagreement: "We're sailors," Bob starts to say, explaining what drew the family to the lake. "Wait," Ruth Ann interrupts, "You are. I'm a power boater."
Year built: 2005
Size: 7,000 square feet
The lot: 78 feet of lakefront
Bedrooms: 3, plus an office that could convert into a bedroom