Dilapidated Covington property remodeled to $550K home

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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This story originally appeared in the Nov. 18 edition of the weekly LINK Reader. To see this story and others sooner, subscribe to the weekly newspaper here.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the home with a Holman Avenue address. LINK nky regrets the error.

Real estate in Covington has become a prime target for small investors looking to turn dilapidated homes into modern masterpieces. 

Covington’s housing stock has a variety of structures ripe for renovation, with historic homes lining the streets in neighborhoods across the city.

Clyde Kessen, a real estate agent and investor, gave LINK nky the opportunity to tour a property he recently renovated at 301 Orchard St. When strolling down the street, pedestrians will be able to identify the property by the large mural featuring a rooster painted onto the side proclaiming, “This place matters” – not the only eye-catching feature of the home. 

The property is evidence of what is possible when transforming buildings that have fallen on hard times into desirable homes for Covington families.

Kessen bought the property from the city for approximately $50,000. It initially was a five-unit apartment complex. He said the building was in shambles after sitting vacant for over a decade. The roof was faulty and the floor was rotting.

“Literally everything that you see was not as it was,” Kessen said. “There was a pretty bad roof leak where you’re standing right now. I mean, it just kind of destroyed everything in its path. From sitting vacant for 13 to 14 years, it got pretty bad.”

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The house was put on the market Friday, Oct. 28 with a list price of $550,000. The house was put on the market Friday, Oct. 28. In total, it has four bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms.

Kessen stripped the structure down to the bare bones, giving him a completely blank canvas. He hired Covington-based architect Tom Covert to help with the redesign.

“I definitely went overboard,” Kessen said, chuckling.

A large center island with a breakfast bar is the centerpiece of the kitchen. Photo by Kenton Hornbeck | LINK nky

When entering the building from Orchard Street, guests are greeted by newly installed oak floors and can peer into the kitchen from the front door. Eyes are naturally drawn to the large kitchen island with a polished nickel faucet over the white cabinets, garnished with brass handles. All the light fixtures on the first floor have elements that are custom-made. 

“They’re definitely more custom than what you would get at Home Depot or Lowe’s,” Kessen said.

Outside the home, a new concrete patio can be reached from the kitchen door. The patio is surrounded by a privacy fence, with two parking spaces beyond its borders.

Upstairs, there are two bedrooms on the second floor. The primary suite has three closets, a double vanity and an oversized marble shower. The second bedroom features an en-suite bathroom, ample closet space and a historic mantel. The third floor has two more rooms, which could be used for children’s bedrooms, Kessen said. Each room has a walk-in closet space as well.

Other updates to the building include a brand new roof, new windows, two HVAC units, new electric and plumbing, and new appliances.

Marble-top counters and an oversized walk-in shower are the main features of one of the home’s bathrooms. Photo by Kenton Hornbeck | LINK nky

Kessen wanted to stay as true to Covington as possible, seeking out local craftsmen and companies from the city to install in his building.

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“I wanted to keep everything in the house as local as possible,” he said.

The renovated building is joining a growing number of projects changing the housing landscape of Covington. For Kessen, the project was a challenge but ultimately rewarding.

“The work was pretty intense, but it was a great feeling to see the vision for the project completed,” Kessen said.

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