Amazing Custom Homes in Columbus…

3 racing kings put their million-dollar houses up for sale

Jim Weiker | Columbus Dispatch | March 24, 2013 | link

  • EAMON QUEENEY | DISPATCHBelow: The home of Jeg Coughlin Sr. has an open floor plan with reused English stone in the foyer and main hallway.

You may not be able to drive like a race-car driver, but you can live like one.

Three of the six most expensive homes for sale in central Ohio are owned by professional drivers.

Before you buy, you might want to race to the bank: The three homes range from $3.5 million to $5.9 million.

Here are your options:

• Bobby Rahal, 60, the Indianapolis 500 winner who owns a racing team, is selling his 13,000-square-foot Georgian mansion in New Albany. The home, custom-built in 1995, offers seven bedrooms, a nanny suite, 11 baths, an in-ground pool and a car barn on 8 acres. The asking price: $3.5 million.

• Jeg Coughlin Sr., 76, a former driver who founded JEGS automotive supply company and owns a race team, has just listed his home off Olentangy River Road south of Delaware for $3.995 million. The 10,000-square-foot New England shingle-style home, built in 2003, includes four bedrooms, five baths, a billiards room, an elevator and a wine cellar on 65 acres overlooking three ponds.

• Coughlin’s son, Jeg Jr., 42, a pro stock driver, is selling his 15,000-square-foot contemporary home north of his father’s on Olentangy River Road for $5.9 million — the most expensive home for sale in the Columbus area. The 14-year-old home includes four bedrooms, eight bathrooms, radiant floor heating, three kitchens, an elevator, a nanny suite, an indoor pool and tennis courts on 10 acres with a waterfall and lake.

Besides their high price tags and luxury features, the homes share another ingredient: dramatic garages.

Coughlin Jr.’s home offers a four- or five-car attached heated garage plus a detached heated garage of the same size, while his father’s house features a three-car heated garage and an old barn.

In addition to an attached four-car garage, Rahal’s home includes a car barn that at one time stored 10 of Rahal’s prized rides. The barn, with a heated brick floor, includes an office loft with a half kitchen and a bath.

“If you don’t use it for cars, you can use it as a party barn,” noted Rahal, who has hosted fundraisers in the building.

Rahal, who spends much of his time in his Chicago home, thought he had a buyer for the home a few weeks ago, but the sale fell through.

Securing a buyer for the costliest houses in the Columbus area can be difficult, especially after the recession. During the past three years, only one central Ohio home has sold for more than $3 million.

The homes of Rahal and the younger Coughlin have been on the market for more than three years, and both have dropped their asking price by more than $1 million.

“That price range narrows down the group of possible buyers drastically,” said DeLena Ciamacco, a RE/MAX Connection agent who is listing the home of Jeg Coughlin Jr., who is planning on relocating in central Ohio.

Ciamacco and Jennifer Freday-Hyland, an assistant to Rahal’s real-estate agent, Jane Kessler Lennox, said likely buyers include doctors, executives transferring from more expensive parts of the country, and, of course, sports figures.

Does it help if the home is owned by a famous race-car driver?

“Some people are intrigued by that, but the bottom line is we don’t have to sell the house on that,” said Freday-Hyland, with New Albany Realty.

Cutler Real Estate agent Molly Amsler Silcott, who is listing Coughlin Sr.’s home, agreed.

“I don’t think someone will buy it because they’re into racing cars,” Silcott said. “They’ll buy it because they’ll fall in love with the home and the property.”

Buyers who can afford that rarefied price range tend to build custom homes, as did the three drivers, who came up with homes as big and distinctive as their owners.

Rahal’s home was designed by Allan Greenberg, a prominent Connecticut architect who specializes in the Georgian style. The home was built by Kevin Knight, one of central Ohio’s premier custom builders, with the help of Amish craftsmen.

“The quality in this house is just amazing,” Rahal said. “This house is in excellent condition considering that it’s going on 18 years old.”

The home offers a Colonial brick and slate-roof exterior with a traditional center hall entrance, but it’s loaded with Rahal’s personal touches, such as a walnut-paneled office on the first floor and a knotty pine trophy/billiards room on the lower level.

With its barn-wood floors, window seats and loads of built-ins — and minus a massive great room — the home has an intimate feeling that is rare in homes of its size.

“It’s a cozy house,” Rahal said. “It’s not just this big open area.”

An architectural world away is Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s home. The home, built by well-known custom builder Ralph Fallon, was designed by the Columbus firm Acock Associates as a modern twist on rural living, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, soaring cathedral ceilings, stone columns and heated travertine floors.

Between the two, geographically and stylistically, is Jeg Coughlin Sr.’s home, built in 2003.

The home’s exterior is distinguished by barn gables, stone and shingle siding and a wraparound porch. While the interior is dominated by traditional decor, it features an open floor plan with distinctive touches such as 1904 iron elevator doors from the St. Regis Hotel in New York, a petrified wood countertop from Madagascar and reused English stone in the foyer and main hallway.

Coughlin and his wife, Audrey, have bought a smaller house in Muirfield that they’re redecorating, Silcott said.

Now that most of his children are grown, Rahal has also decided that he no longer needs a home as large as his New Albany retreat.

“It’s the passing of an era for us, but that’s life,” Rahal said. “We had a lot of fun here as a family, but whoever buys it will have their fun now.”


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