You’ve probably driven by this amazing Wales Avenue home — now take a peek inside
Stained glass windows, palatial vaulted ceilings, and imported European lighting are running themes throughout the grey stone estate of Dr. Nash Gabrail and Shelly Rentsch. The Jackson Township couple bought their Wales Avenue French Normandy Tudor home, built in 2001, at auction in 2008.
At one time, the couple had hoped to build a similar home in the gated community of Glenmoor, but Rentsch said they were looking for more space and fewer restrictions.
“We came in with a vengeance,” she said of auction day. “We were going to get this place.”
About 150 people crowded the first floor and hugged the second-floor balcony that day, said Rentsch, who thought they were the apparent winner in the auction until someone hidden in the kitchen started raising the bid by $10,000 increments.
Following a drawn-out bidding war, Gabrail and Rentsch won. They moved into the home in the dead of winter, snow covering the five-acre grounds.
“We didn’t even know we had a pool until two weeks after we moved in,” said Rentsch with a laugh, explaining she spotted it hidden beneath the elements while looking out a window one day.
The previous owner used home plans from architecturaldesign.com, although the plans were customized in some areas.
The foyer of the 7,900-square-foot home offers views of the formal dining room, office and the massive great room, but eyes are immediately drawn to the ornate balcony, finely detailed crown molding and woodwork, all created with trees from the property cleared by Amish builders.
Berlin Construction of Strasburg created the woodwork, as well as the hardwood floors the couple had
installed to replace carpeting. The builders also constructed the outside entertainment area and lower level.
Upstairs, Rentsch enjoys a scenic view of the Timken estate’s lake from the treadmill in her workout room. She said she sees deer and other wildlife often. The massive master bedroom suite has a separate sitting room, walk-in closet and laundry room, which is off a unique master bathroom that features an enormous tiled shower.
“It holds five Amishmen and a table saw — and I have the picture to prove it,” said Rentsch with a laugh.
The lower level of the home is a source of pride for Rentsch.
“I picked out every tiny detail in the basement,” she said, adding that the builders would be skeptical at times.
“They’d look at me and say, ‘There’s no way,’ and I’d say, ‘There IS a way,’ ” she said.
The basement features a large bar and sports viewing area, a living room and home theater — but the piéce de résistance is the cigar smoking room. It is sealed and separated from the rest of the lower level by stained glass windows of Gabrail’s Assyrian flag, his home-country flag before Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq.
A humidor along its back wall holds dozens of cigars, some of which were made by one of Gabrail’s three sons, who recently started a cigar business called Tosa. Tosa was Gabrail’s original last name as a child in Iraq. The name Tosa is etched into the glass of the humidor.
“We host cigar-tasting gatherings,” said Rentsch, explaining that they will invite four or five guests who will sample and rate different cigars. And yes, she smokes them too.
Outside, the couple has created a 3,800-square-foot, multilevel, stone entertainment area fit for a five-star resort. Besides the pool, the patio area has a waterfall, two fireplaces, a bar, hot tub and life-size chess board.
They may start offering their home as a venue for upscale weddings soon.