Young Attorney Enjoying Life in English Tudor Style Manor
The stately English Tudor style manor home at 1926 Franklin Boulevard in Portsmouth, Ohio, originally was built by local attorney and United States Congressman Henry T. Bannon in 1926. Bannon was the son of one of the founding members of the Portsmouth law firm Bannon, Howland and Dever. As fate would have it, the home is now owned by a young local attorney returning to his roots.
Scioto County native John Gambill was just finishing his last semester of law school at Cleveland-Marshall Law School in Cleveland, Ohio, when he made the decision to return to Portsmouth to open his law practice. He had a promising future working as a mediator in the Cleveland Municipal Court system, but was drawn to the charisma of his hometown. Having previously lived on Franklin in the 1990s, John had learned to ride his bike on the sidewalks of the historic street and played youth sports at nearby Mound Park. He had grown fond of the neighborhood. It was Thanksgiving weekend in 2011 when John made the decision that he would return to Portsmouth after being away for nearly seven years for his undergraduate education and law school. “I loved the Cleveland area, and you can tell by looking around that it was important to me to bring part of the city to my new home,” said Gambill of his Cleveland memorabilia on display.
Lofty oak trees line Franklin Boulevard, one of the city’s best preserved neighborhoods. Each of the magnificent homes along the street tells the story of Portsmouth during its formative industrial years. The charming all brick street graces an unusually wide strip of grass known as a “devil-strip” in some northern Ohio communities, although the term never seemed to catch on in southern Ohio.
The Gambill home is an exquisite example of the neighborhood’s impressive style. The 3,400 square foot brick and stucco home features three bedrooms, three full baths, two half-baths, and a full finished basement. A fourth bedroom was modified to accommodate an office and a walk-in closet for the master bedroom. “Everything that’s been done to the house has been done in a way so that none of the historic integrity has been compromised,” Gambill said. “That was important to me.” Another striking feature that is prevalent throughout the neighborhood is the original slate roof that Gambill had recapped last year. “My parents (Bob and Debbie Gambill) own and operate Century 21 Empire Realty, so growing up in the real estate business made me appreciate and pay special attention to the craftsmanship of this home,” Gambill noted. Even the two-car detached garage and poolhouse, both which were added later, were designed to mirror the period of the home – something Gambill noticed instantly when first visiting the property.
The ivy-covered arches and original clay tile flooring provide a distinctive entry to the front porch of this Tudor. Inside, the original restored oak flooring and beams highlight the formal living and dining rooms. A small library is located adjacent to the formal living room and is filled with law books given to Gambill by local attorney Dan Ruggerio. True English Tudor styling also is evident in every room by the original leaded glass windows, each with its original brass hardware.
The kitchen remodeling was completed by the previous owners, John and Ruth Lawyer, and offers updated cabinetry and appliances while still maintaining the charm of the 1920s. What had previously been an attached garage is now a first floor family room with Mexican tile flooring. The family room overlooks the kidney-shaped inground pool. The entire rear yard is gated and surrounded by brick and stucco fencing complimented by bamboo for privacy. An all-season spa is located in a custom designed gazebo near the pool. “As soon as I moved in, I transformed the outdoor patio area. I knew this area was going to be the focal point of my entertaining so I installed an outdoor TV mount and added the teak furniture,” Gambill explained. “My future plans include an outdoor kitchen,” he added.
“It’s been a fast-paced two years, but I’ve never regretted my decision to return to Scioto County,” Gambill said. He and his dog Harvey (rescued near his Sixth Street office last summer and named after the lead attorney Harvey Specter in the television show “Suits”) are happy here.
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