This past weekend Wendy and I took a little break from our HVAC attic work to get cleaned up and venture out into the sunlight. The weather was nice and the open house market was bubbling with a few new properties. Far be it of us to miss a good open house.
The home we visited, located at 325 S. Pitt St., is one we've passed many times before and often wondered what the interior of the home looks like. The house sits in a short row of several Victorian homes which have significantly elevated first floors and rather grand entry vestibules.
This particular home was built around 1890 according to both the city records and the real estate listing, but this isn't always spot on. It seems that 1890 is a generic listing of age when the house was built sometime before 1900 but after 1870. After we looked around the house I wouldn't be surprised if it was actually built about 1885, similar to our home.
From the exterior, the house has several very unique characteristics beyond the very elevated first floor. The windows have a very intricate and arched top, the mansard roof with small window is not very typical of a smaller home in our area, and the entry transom that mimics the tops of the windows is uncommon in our area.
Walking up the several cement steps on the outside of the house you may expect a somewhat traditionally decorated home, but as soon as you walk into the entry vestibule and up the four additional steps, the walls and light fixture visible in the entry hall let you know this home has something a little different about its decor.
Like many homes of its era, the floor plan has you walk into an entry hall with a parlor immediately inside to the left. This parlor is configured as the home's living room amd seems like a very bright and welcoming area with tall ceilings and a large single window. While many of the original molding and detail elements are fully intact, the current owner's style is completely apparent and non-traditional.
Yes, that's a cow hide on the floor. Yes that's a giant orb light fixture. Yes, this is the most eclectically decorated home that remains in good taste of all of the open houses we've seen. Note: I said "that remains in good taste." We've seem some really bad ones.
The dining room is just beyond the front parlor and houses many different built in book cases and shelving units. One thing that is for sure about this home, it makes extremely efficient use of the space it has available. There seemed to be nooks and shelves all over the place. As you may know from our obsessive attempts to maximize space, this is very important in a home like this.
The main staircase of the house is located in the center of the home just off of the dining room, which presents some furniture challenges but also adds a lot of visual interest and openness to this room. The staircase is light and bright, and as Wendy would call it, a perfect "Christmas staircase" where she would hang garlands and decor for the holidays. (Are you sick of hearing about Wendy's desire for a Christmas staircase yet? I don't blame you if you are.)
The house is really only three rooms deep with the front parlor, dining room, and kitchen as the primary rooms, but the stairs and a small powder room sit between the dining room and kitchen. The kitchen, while clean and updated, is extremely tight. Though the mirrored backsplash fools the eye into thinking there's more room, I can't picture having more than one person in here at a time without constantly bumping into one another.
When upstairs, if you head to the front of the home you find the master bedroom. It's a generous sized room with two small closets, two beautiful windows, and soaring ceilings. Wendy also happened to be in love with the current owners' decor choices, especially the orange side tables.
Also on the second floor is a small but charming bedroom, currently in use as a nursery...
...As well as one full bathroom. It's a nicely sized and updated bathroom with beautiful ming green marble mosaic tile on the floor.
Another feature of the home that we really enjoyed is the unexpected third floor. We often pine for a third floor in our home, and are routinely jealous of homes that have them. In this case the third floor would be a wonderful space for a home office.
There is a hidden bit of storage beyond the front of the third floor, and the views of Old Town out of the front windows are really quite nice. Just look at how far you're able to see. I'm always fascinated by all of the unique roof lines and church steeples you can see from the taller homes around Old Town.
I wish we had our wide angle lens for this photo, as my iPhone just can't capture how cool it is.
Back down the stairs, all of the way into the basement, there is a bit more of a surprise. The finished basement space offers a full bathroom.
And though the ceiling is low, it's an area you can easily use as a guest suite.
The door off the front of the basement exits right at ground level (remember how high the first floor is).
One of the drawbacks to this home is the small lot that it sits on. The block is completely full of homes and there really is very little outdoor space to speak of. There is a small deck that is large enough to entertain a few people, but you are completely enclosed and it doesn't really feel like you are outdoors.
In all, it's a unique and interesting home that has some cool nooks and crannies, a relatively functional layout, and makes very efficient use of space. The three beds and two and a half baths are nicely sized, and the openness of the first floor while maintaining the original floor plan is appealing. However, the back yard is small and there is no reserved parking. But at least it has some good hardware.
If you're interested in more details, be sure to check out the home's listing.
And now for our game...
Would You Trade
Alex: I'm going to go with a "no" here. I do love the original details as well as the layout of the house with a third floor, and I'm totally obsessed with the views from the front windows. But the lack of outdoor space is sort of a deal breaker for me. The home has a ton of potential, and it's been somewhat recently updated where important, however the amount of outdoor space is fixed. So no matter how amazing we could potentially make the interior of the home, we still can't do much (short of a roof deck...which would be hella awesome) to fix that. Hrm, roof deck. A roof deck might make me reconsider, but as of now without a roof deck, still a "no."
Wendy: As much as I love the curb appeal of this home, the interesting windows, the staircase perfect for holiday garlands, and the general quirkiness, no, I wouldn't trade. I also liked the fact that it had a walk out basement. Despite these positive features, I wouldn't be willing to give up parking, our ample outdoor entertaining space, a first floor family room, or having an en suite bathroom. The kitchen also was a little too small and closed off from the rest of the house.
Interested in reading about other interesting homes for sale? Want to offer your take on "would you trade"? Check out the Open Housing section of Old Town Home.
Photo Credits: Listing agent, McEnearney Associates Inc., and Ann Duff where "2012 MRIS" is noted in the photo watermark.