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Issue Date: July 2009

The Masterpiece on South Park Boulevard

Colleen Mytnick
Andrew and Robin Schachat returned to their hotel room after a day of house-hunting to talk over what they had seen. “Well,” said Andrew, “we looked at six houses and a work of art.”

They bought the work of art.

The house, on South Park Boulevard in Shaker Heights, was built in 1909 by the Van Sweringen brothers, who lived there with their sisters before building an even bigger second home in Hunting Valley (No. 4 on our list). It was originally a Mediterranean-style “little castle,” says Robin. But during a trip to England, the Van Sweringens were so impressed with the wood paneling they saw there that they brought it home. “They hired a new architect and said, ‘Make the house go with the paneling,’ ” Robin says. The result? A Tudor Revival home.

When the Schachats moved here from Baltimore in 2006, the entire house had just been rewired, and the plumbing had been restored to copper. Still, there’s always work in an old home. They’ve replaced all the flat areas of the roof, repointed part of the stone exterior, replaced the rotting wooden floor joists in the basement, redone the outdoor pool and replaced a gas line that heated it. “When you’re dealing with a 100-year-old house,” says Andrew, “there are a lot of surprises.”

Not all of those surprises cost money, though. While hanging a light near the fireplace, Robin noticed a row of nails for Christmas stockings. And in the space where the brothers worked, there were 20 old phone lines, all connected to Terminal Tower, another one of their projects.

“You can find history everywhere,” she says. “It’s fun. "

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