Laura and Brian Quinn say they always seem to fall for the worst house on the street, but as long as they’re in Dayton, every house has endless possibilities.
The Quinns are married real estate investors who have turned their latest and greatest project into a video series called “Couple of Quinns.” They’re currently renovating a 1905-built “fixer-upper” in Dayton’s Grafton Hill neighborhood and documenting their journey with a new episode on their YouTube channel every Friday at noon.
About 12 years ago, Brian and Laura met at Dublin Pub on St. Patrick’s Day, were married less than two years later and will celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary this year. They shared a deep love for their hometown, and celebrated their wedding reception at Carillon Historical Park.
Instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles, their wedding guests celebrated the union by folding and throwing paper airplanes in a nod to the Wright Brothers.
At the start of the pandemic, the Quinns bought the Grafton Hill home they now call “The Federal,” and though it’s far from their first undertaking, it was the first time they began documenting their journey.
“During COVID, we have not been able to see Brian’s parents, as his father is very high-risk,” Laura said. “We just started taking videos to send to family members, and then we had so many people on Facebook saying ‘Put this on YouTube!’ And we have people we follow and love on YouTube and we thought, ‘Well, we can give it a shot.’”
They launched their channel in January and quickly generated a following of more than 1,000 regular viewers. Along the way, the Quinns have had fun sharing their love of Dayton history, their individual talents, their appreciation for design and their love for each other.
Laura is a realtor and interior designer by profession, and Brian is an information technology specialist, so becoming a home-renovation powerhouse wasn’t a far jump for the couple. The Quinns own several homes in the Dayton area that they have completely turned around themselves and which are now rented or maintained as Airbnbs.
“My techie side really flows over into the electrical stuff,” Brian said. “I thoroughly enjoy doing the electrical work.”
“What gets me most excited is planning all of the design and then watching it come to life,” Laura said. “It’s that vision in my head (and) being able to see it finished in my head motivates me to keep working.”
“The Federal,” named for its Federal-style architecture and because it’s one of the only homes on Federal Street in Grafton Hill, the Quinns hope to move in and make it their own new home by summer of this year, if all goes well.
“When COVID first broke out, we were under contract, and we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, are we making a mistake, should we back out of the deal?’” Laura said. Instead, “It has kept us busy, it gave us something to do and something to look forward to, and honestly, I think it gave our family members something to look forward to and share.”
Brian was laid off from his job in November 2020 and has since made The Federal his full-time job. The more time and passion the couple puts into their future home, the more they fall more in love with it, Brian said.
“I think that’s part of the allure of old homes,” Laura said. “They suck you in without really knowing what you’re getting yourself into. … Just being in Grafton Hill, I feel like we’re so much more a part of Dayton’s history. The neighbors we meet, everybody knows a story about, ‘This house used to be that, and this house used to be that,’ and it’s so interesting to be a part of that.”
One bit of rumored history the Quinns have heard about The Federal is that it used to be a popular candy store. They’ve also learned that it was once the home of a well-known French teacher at Northmont High School who had a beloved dog named Iris. When the dog passed away, the teacher planted Irises in the back yard that still bloom every year.
“We can’t wait to see them (bloom) this year,” Laura said.
The Quinns are working with a Dayton historian to uncover as much as possible about The Federal, all to be shared in future episodes of “Couple of Quinns.”
“Our bigger goal outside of just the renovation of The Fed is to help encourage people, if they’re interested in purchasing an investment property,” Laura said. “When we first started this, we tried to treat it as a business, (and) we came up with core values and things like that, and one of our values was just always showing Dayton in a positive light.”
People can follow the Quinns and their progress on The Federal on Facebook, Instagram and on their YouTube channel, “coupleofquinns.”
Sarah joined the Dayton Daily News team in fall of 2019 covering general assignment. Since then, Sarah has covered the higher education beat, authored a daily COVID-19 column and currently covers Greene County.