South Main St. Marion Ohio Modern Industrial Overhaul

Okay the photo above might be reachin' for the stars but the concept of the look is what has been in my mind's eye since I saw the Coffee Shop and the potential of the apartments. As a visual designer by trade I tend to visualize things at million dollar level and the same was true with the apartments. When I first drove through Marion my heart was crushed at how much potential it had but the dismal sight of what it had become. Initially I hated it and immediately wrote off the thought of finding anything there that was my little piece of zen that I am seeking. When I saw your place and we talked about your goals and the dream of revitalizing this small town one building at a time I fell in love. Maybe that is the transition my life is taking, revitalizing what used to be and what could have been.

The apartment is cute, clean and probably safe and obviously affordable. BUT it can be so much more. My design mind began thinking of the bones of the building, the potential to be the first really cool building in the revitalizing of the town and what I would do if it were mine. Investing a lot of effort, a little time and of course a bit of money is something to consider for this project. Without further blah blah, here is a little visual of the style that I have in mind. It is very inexpensive to decorate in the modern industrial style because it is supposed to look rustic, the materials are easy to find, inexpensive yet lend a very upscale yet cool feel. The apartments will lease for at least 50% more than your current valuation and even more important they will attract the right tenants that you want in your building. You also have a very good income potential using Airbnb for furnished units on a monthly, weekly or nightly basis. Hotels in Marion are 33% higher than surrounding areas, I assume because of families visiting MCI. Furnishing these units similarly to the photos I have used will be super inexpensive, IKEA, yard sales, goodwill and a keen eye for simple, classy and budget friendly. Something to consider at least.

This image is still my favorite and the concept I would use when hunting materials for the first apartment revamp if given the green light.

The photos below are all a bit over the top on décor and budget BUT I wanted you to get a feel for the textures and materials I have in mind. Original hardwoods refinished properly, exposed brick, clean neutral paint colors, funky industrial lighting, hand cut counters and wall shelves, removing the cabinets to open the room and create visual pop with industrial metal hardware and hand cut wood shelving, clean white subway tile or even maybe a glass, metal mosaic backsplash. The materials are so cheap, reclaimed wood is going to be easy to find and free or dirt cheap, tiles we shop and compare and find on sale, hardware for shelving is minimal, paint minimal, you will need decent appliances but not over the top. Just good. Check scratch and dent sales at Lowes weekly.

Make My Dreams Come True. Tell me there is potential for this to happen.....

Okay maybe not....Yet.....

The Plan

Without a clue as to the amount of time and investment you want to make in this apartment project I am going to just throw this out there and see what you think. We can discuss and amend to what works for you and hopefully come up with a plan that works.


Each apartment revamp should take 30-45 days depending on the hours I am able to put in and the help I am able to get from your team for the big stuff. My idea is to move into the front tiny 1 bedroom and bring with me the least amount of "stuff" so that I can easily work on the apartment. I would like to start with the bathroom which will be super quick and easy. Better lighting, nice tile on the floor and maybe halfway up the wall. Maybe update sink and toilet if I can find them on super sale and I have no idea yet about the shower, I need to look at it in the light but something. That bath area is so small this will be the fastest cheapest part of the project. Moving on from there That Kitchen.....First on the agenda. Demo those cabinets, and tile over the crummy walls with subway tiles OR if that wall has underlying brick lets bring some out. Next the wall shelves and a tiny island (hand made natural wood) with storage underneath. (costs about $100 if that) Next up would be replacing the counter and cabinets below with either a handmade wood counter (see top right photo in the grid above for that idea. Or you can go super cheap, clean and modern with a stainless kitchen counter such as THIS. That would look cool, no tenant will ever damage it, and it will open up the tiny space. Lighting is next and then hopefully I have found a couple bargains for the appliances. At that point we can evaluate our timeline and budget and see if pocket doors are in our future. These are simple to make, but the built ins would need to be removed but saved for use in another area please.... Paint and floor refinishing thoughout the apartment and viola we are finished with unit 1. We could also do a dual attack and complete each task in both apartment 1 and 2 at the same time but apartment 2 has a bathroom that even HGTV doesn't know what to do with. We will have to map that out and maybe draw up some designs and get demo estimate costs. That bathroom layout is stupid. But fixable. So we are at 60-90 days on those 2 apartments and in the meantime I would assume that you have done whatever demo is needed in the back 2 apartments so that they are in livable condition. Those apartments I will need to measure and make a firm plan but pretty much more of the same flow from the first 2 apartments. So a basic estimate of 6 months to revamp all 4 apartments and have something WOW. Obviously all of these dreams can be toned back if budget and or time depend on getting them rent ready NOW. Or they can be sped up if the budget is there for more help to knock it out faster.

Material Cost

Without measuring and hunting for materials I can only give a loose guestimate based on previous remodel projects that I have DIY completed. Apartment 1: 500-1000 (this does NOT include appliances or bathroom fixtures or any wall demo needed to expose brick or do pocket doors. Apartment 2: I have no flippin clue. That bathroom demo is going to be the PITA on this one and the budget breaker as well. Square footage is also larger here so I am going to guess 2000 without bathroom demo, appliances or bath fixtures. Apts 3 and 4 I did not consider size or layout really so I have to get back to you on that.

What You Provide

  • Power tools, ladder, workbench or sawhorse, lighting, paint, supplies and materials and manpower to haul said materials up the stairs to me.
  • Manpower for larger tasks such as walls, any demo, clearing out demo, and the heavy lifting.
  • Electricity and High Speed Internet in all apartments being worked on.
  • A big ass fan.
  • Communication with me about likes, dislikes, opinions and honest feedback
  • Free rent and utilities in apartment 1 for the duration of the project. (yes I know that sounds like whoa ) BUT think about it. Rent is 400. Even if I were only working 40 hours per month at $10 per hour on the remodel that would equal $400. Whereas in reality I will devote at least 80 hours per month, my skillset is worth way more than $10 hr. AND all of the improvements that are put into the apartments will be increasing the value. I am not undervaluing myself by making this offer, because I love the therapy of a project like this, I love taking something ugly and making it beautiful, and I want to be able to use the photography and video I take while undergoing this project as part of my portfolio plus I get to live in the coolest apartment in Marion Ohio.


I am certain that this was NOT what you guys were thinking when you advertised the apartment. You were thinking income property ready, let's start getting some moolah in the bank. Gotcha and if that is what is needed then I shall rent the front apt. for $400 and I will small scale fix it up enough to be what I want to live in for the next six months and then I move on to a house with a yard and I prepare for an Ohio winter. BUT the possibility of not only the eye appeal of the Apartments after remodel, the buzz that this little corner of Church and Main is making a come up but the higher income potential after remodel only makes sense to me. I hope you guys think on it and come up with something that fits us both. IF not you keep these ideas and visuals and maybe one day implement them into this project or a future project.

Created By
Lisa Muse

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