Around the Block

19th-century farmhouse in Evergreen.

| October 23, 2008
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Some houses have more interesting lives than others. This is one of them. It was built on Poplar in the mid-19th century and was the Lake family's farmhouse. It has a typical Greek Revival floor plan and probably had a porch with box columns in its first incarnation and maybe even a detached kitchen.

Around 1900, it was picked up and moved north down Willett. At that time, a Victorian porch with turned columns and a spindle-work frieze was added.

The wide center hall has two large rooms on each side. A rear service ell was appended after the move, with a bath, family dining room, kitchen, and side porch.

Sometime during the 20th century, it was converted into a triplex. The windows on each side of the front doors were turned into doors, and a few other rooms were built in the side yard. In 1982, all that was reversed — the odd additions demolished, the two extraneous front doors removed, and the side porch reopened. Central heat and air and a new bath and kitchen were installed.

Ceilings in the original four rooms and hall are a stunning 12 feet tall. Four-panel doors have side-hung, operable transoms to aid cross-ventilation. The floors are richly colored heart pine, and the windows are seriously tall.

In the back ell, the baths and kitchen have been recently updated. Large porcelain tiles used on the floor of the main bath match the limestone used on the vanity and storage cabinet tops. A large shower is similarly tiled, and the ceiling is beadboard.

The dining room and kitchen are divided only by a freestanding old brick chimney that once was the heat source for both rooms. The kitchen has new granite counters and a backsplash of hand-painted Mexican tiles. The wall cabinets are all open shelving and don't provide tons of storage but could be easily replaced with tall glass-doored cabinets to good effect. A powder room and laundry are just off the kitchen.

Windows on both sides of the rear addition admit lots of light. The kitchen, as well as the front hall, connects to the side porch, which seems built for outdoor living. Custom screen doors with a sunburst motif allow for great circulation, both for air and people. A large, old crape myrtle dominates the side yard and casts the porch in shade by midday.

This is an easy-living house with a casual layout. The rooms are all well-scaled. The tall windows have half-height plantation shutters that provide ample privacy. The house is on a quiet block of Willett with a nice mix of smaller cottages and sizable four-squares, all from the first two decades of the 20th century. This is the family house for which the Lake subdivision area of Evergreen was named, and its trip around the block only makes its story all the more interesting.

286 N. Willett

Approximately 1,800 square feet

3 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths

$233,000

Realtor: Hobson Co., 761-1622

Agent: Barbara Cowles, 312-2979

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