German Smear anyone? And we’re not talking bagels.

While in Columbus, Ohio we came across German Village.

They had the best german smear we’ve seen outside of Bavaria.

German Village is a historic neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, Ohio. Initially platted in 1814 in Columbus’s South End, the German Village area primarily developed between 1840 and 1914. It was settled largely by German immigrants in the mid 1800s. German descendants at one time comprised as much as a third of the population of the entire city of Columbus.

As the neighborhood faced the possibility of total demolition, Frank Fetch defied common wisdom. In 1959, he and his father-in-law bought and restored a small cottage on Wall Street. The following year, Fetch and a group of like-minded people created the German Village Society, to promote the preservation and rehabilitation of the “Old South End.”

At the time, Fetch’s dream of reversing urban blight through preservation and rehabilitation was a radical approach. Ironically, the same characteristics that urban renewal studies of Columbus used to describe “blight” are the very attributes that give German Village its unique and appreciated character today: small lots, narrow streets and the absence of new development. Those attributes brought working-class people armed with dreams and elbow grease back to German Village. Significantly, this Village revitalization has been privately funded without the aid of government programs or subsidies of any kind.

We were so charmed by this impeccably restored historic village. It was like walking into a Hansel and Gretel storybook. Every detail was delight for the eye. Old brick walkways, homes, shutters, slate scalloped roofs, flower boxes, intricate iron gates and the old world pubs and shops. Interior designer’s candy shop. We were in heaven. If you find yourself in Columbus, it is a must see!


Wait, wait, we totally forgot to talk about the german smear. First, does everyone know what this is? Oh my word, if you don’t you must know. German smear is a technique to give brick that aged look. It looks like plaster that is falling off the brick. Brick is nice but after you see what german smear does to the look of brick, we swear you will find yourself asking “to german smear or not” when you look at brick. Best of all it can be a do-it-yourself project.

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Supplies: drywall compound and drywall scrapers
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Apply drywall compound to wall with varied degrees of pressure. You want some areas to get more and others less.
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Stand back and evaluate. Here is where the artist in you takes over.
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Take your scraper and scrape some off to allow brick color to show through. You can also use rags to rub off too. Do you want more white? of more brick. You decide. It is supposed to look like plaster that’s aged and fallen off the brick.


Now don’t try it on your bagel.

But what a great way to give your plain brick home of facade a facelift.




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