PROFILE: The Stone House

Published 4:00 am Monday, March 14, 2022

“This is going to be my last project,” Tim Kleinman declares as he is in the midst of renovating a house that he has adored since he was a kid. “I’ll be 74 in August.”

He said he’s had several surgeries, including repairing a toe that he dropped a casting on when he worked in a foundry.

“I’ve got a lot of aches and pains. I’ll be sitting, watching a football game and start stiffening up and my neck starts hurting. So, I’d rather be doing something like this, because it takes my mind off it. But I do have to quit. This will be my last house I do.”

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The house in question is what he calls the Stone House, on the corner of 11th Street and Kemp Avenue. He remembers riding his bike by the house and just being in awe of the house covered in stones that, if you look at closely, have tiny sea shells in them.

“Paul Sweikhart, he owned Sweikhart Lumber and he built this house for himself about 100 years ago and his brother built the one next door three or four years later,” Kleinman said.

Kleinman has had a lot of careers in his life.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything,” he said. “I’m the type of person I can’t stand doing one thing at a time. I love the car lot, but I love doing projects too.”

Kleinman was a member of the rock band, The Fugitives. They started off as a local band in the ‘60s, but became big enough that they hooked up with a promoter and got gigs in New York City, toured with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars and with such national acts as the Young Rascals, the Left Banke, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels.

He came back to Ironton and has owned Kleinman Brother’s Auto in Ironton for nearly three decades and had a furniture stripping shop back in the ‘80s.

He got into that profession after the Malleable foundry shut down and he was out of a job after 18 years. He headed off to Wisconsin to take a two-week class in furniture restoration.

“I loved antiques,” Kleinman said. “So it seemed like a good idea.”

He convinced his brother to go and the pair slept in their car because he didn’t have money for a hotel room after losing his job.

“Slept behind a gas station and went to a roadside rest that had a 50-cent shower,” Kleinman said. “He’d jump in and jump out and then I would jump in. We’d bathe for a quarter.”

That class led to some ten years of furniture refinishing and doing renovations.

Kleinman said renovations are just something that he likes to do, and mainly by himself, because he’s fussy about how it is done.

With the Stone House, he did call in family to help tear out walls and take out the 40 tons of old plaster, slate roof- ing and other building material. It was a lot of work.

“I lost 40 pounds in the first three months,” Kleinman said. “I ripped everything out.”

Keeping the rounding stairwell and a brick fireplace, he put walls in to give the place a more open space. The first thing to be modernized was “a horrid looking kitchen that was maybe redone in the early ‘70s. Just awful,” he said.

He also put in new wiring and plumbing and got quarter sawn Oak flooring out of Florida to match the existing flooring for a floor guy to put in. New beams were put in as well to replace load-bearing walls. He had central heat and air put in, since it was still heated by radiators.

“I didn’t plan on doing all this, but when you get into it, you might as well do it right,” he said. “It’s been a bear.”

One of his favorite things in the long process was finding out the original door to the sun room was still there, although it was hidden between rock on the outside and plaster on the inside.

“I took it out and completely refurbished it,” Kleinman said. “It’s got the thickest lead glass I have ever seen. I love the original stuff.”

He said he loves the work of re-doing a house.

“There are a lot of guys that just love to flip a house,” Kleinman said. “They don’t want to do a lot to them.
I just don’t know why. For me, I’ve never done a house that had this much potential.”