Brick by Brick: Couple is transforming Slavic Village one house at a time

Anthony and Tiffany Andreoli see beauty in what is old an often forgotten. The couple have spent years now renovating abandoned houses in their Slavic Village neighborhood—breathing new life into the neighborhood’s once-dilapidated homes and streets and revitalizing an area the was hit hard by the 2008 financial and real estate crisis.

 

At the time Anthony, a third generation tradesman, was working as a union carpenter to better develop his skills and Tiffany was working with Union Miles Community Development Corporation.

 

Third generation tradesman, Anthony Andreoli.In 2009, a year before the Andreolis were married, Tiffany bought a vacant, foreclosed house on East 69th St., where only one of the five houses on the block was occupied.

 

“She bought the house we’re living in today in a short sale,” recalls Anthony. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I had to do the rehab myself and we did it on a shoestring budget.”

 

The experience triggered something in both Andreolis to make Slavic Village’s residential revitalization their life’s mission.

 

“Between Slavic Village Development (SVD), and my wife and I, we’ve acquired [properties], then rehabbed them, and then sold them all since 2010,” says Anthony, who works for SVD’s Slavic Village Rediscovered, an alliance between SVD, Forest City Enterprises, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and RIK Enterprises that is dedicated to real estate acquisition, home renovation, urban development and home sales. “We’ve done a half-dozen or more on our own.

 

Ten years after renovating that first house, the Andreolis have developed quite a good reputation in Slavic Village for their restoration work as well as their intense commitment to the community.

 

Today, Tiffany and Anthony are raising three children in the original house they bought on East 69th Street and have successfully built Andreoli Restoration—renovating homes and creating unique furniture, and art, from nature and salvaged the items they restore.

 

Anthony has taken his trade skills and put them toward creating furniture, functional art, and public art using new and repurposed materials.

 

Works includes everything from transforming a felled tree into a dining table to crafting a public art sculpture of a pig for Saucisson butchers across the street, or a cow for Daisy’s Ice Cream on East 56th Street—even creating a giant orchid pagoda and a tree sculpture for the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

 

“Slavic Village has been our home for over a decade now, our roots for our family are here, the affordability and lower cost of living has allowed us to pursue our dreams of entrepreneurship in real-estate, construction and the arts,” says Tiffany of their dedication to the neighborhood.

 

In 2018 they began the next step in their plan—they bought commercial building at 5401 Fleet Ave. to house Andreoli Restoration company headquarters and a space for the community to gather.

 

“It was ready for the wrecking ball, literally,” says Anthony. “I cut it off the demolition list, but I was worried I was going to drive down the street and see it torn down.”

 

A year-and-a-half later, the Andreolis have already restored the bottom half of the interior—turning it into an 8,000-square-foot maker space what Anthony calls his “dream workshop.”

 

“We have dreamed for a long time of developing a commercial live-work space and had many failed attempts to acquire a building,” says Tiffany of the Fleet Avenue space. “But this was the perfect spot for us at the right time for us.”

 

The space now has makeshift stage, drum set, and PA that helps draw the neighborhood over to socialize.

 

“Pre-pandemic we did open community jams,” says Tiffany. “So, anyone could stop in and pick up and play—even some kids from the area.”

 

Andreoli Restoration is comprised of owner, entrepreneur Anthony Andreoli, wife Tiffany, and a great cast of supporting members.The Andreolis have hosted smaller events too, like a homeschool group-build sessions.

 

“And Anthony is almost weekly helping a neighbor with one project or another, from welding running boards on a truck to fixing a vanity, to building sculptures for the street—always a project,” Tiffany says, adding that they even opened their family Thanksgiving celebration to the entire community last year.

 

She says they plan to hold many more events and workshops, once the threat of COVID-19 is over.

 

The work Anthony and Tiffany have done to build the Slavic Village community earned the couple the third annual Citizens Bank Small Business Community Champion Award.

 

Each year, Citizens awards $20,000 $10,000 prizes in four states to small business owners to celebrate the extraordinary contributions they make to strengthen their communities.

 

“Restoration means using our hearts and our hands to affect change, creating economic vibrancy for our communities,” the Andreolis wrote on their application. “The restoration work is not only returning a vacant building into a useable space, but also provides a space for community live music nights, interactive art, training workshops, and community meals.”
 


 

Tiffany says they plan to use the $20,000 for exterior work on the building and to create an architectural garden and community space in adjacent vacant lots.

 

 

“The funding from Citizens Bank has allowed us to take on the next phase, despite setbacks due to the Pandemic,” says Tiffany. “I cannot wait to see what will be next for us as we continue to find our sweet spot between building community and a maker-based business—it really is a rust-belt dream unfolding.”

 

Anthony says that eventually they will also finish the second floor of the building. “I feel so fortunate and we know we’re where we’re supposed to be,” he says. “The way doors have opened, there’s no way someone’s not looking down on us.”

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