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River City Living: Pre-Civil War House Transformed in Newport


The popular Beyond the Curb urban living tours that typically take place twice a year in Northern Kentucky's river cities, is virtual this year.

The Catalytic Fund, which produces the tours and aids in urban development projects, moved to a video tour series this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sagging house on the edge of Newport’s East Row neighborhood looked unsafe and uninspiring to most passersby. Mark Ramler, owner of Mansion Hill Properties, looks at houses like this a little differently. He jumped at the chance to bring it back to life, uncovering unexpected treasures in the process.

“This house was built before the Civil War,” Ramler said. “One of the coolest things I found was a mold for casting a Union belt buckle.” 

He also found extra wide wood planks originally used as attic flooring. When he and his team vaulted some of the ceilings, they used those planks to make an unusual kitchen island, range hood and bathroom vanities.

“I loved repurposing the materials and keeping them in the house,” Ramler said.

Other examples of creative repurposing include the installation of two interior windows that came from the building that is now Hotel Covington. Kitchen cabinets from a few different Newport renovation projects were brought together in this home and look like they have always been there. One wall of the master bathroom’s shower is actually a bricked-up fireplace that was original to the house.

When Ramler opened up the ceiling in one of the bedrooms, he left part of the attic level intact, creating a loft area. It is currently used as a home office but would also make an inviting playroom.

The episode features photos of the home before the renovation and the changes are dramatic. What once was a tumbledown multi-family house is now a one-of-a-kind home for a young family, putting down roots in Newport.

Catch new episodes of Beyond the Curb: River City Living here. The previous 12 episodes can be viewed at