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Backyard Beauty

Hidden gem near U of M.

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The builders of this reinterpreted, traditional brick house did a masterful job of hiding it. It was built about 30 years ago on the rear portion of a large, older house with an eight-foot tall brick wall around it, facing Central. The only visible clues to its existence are a walkway gate on Frances Place and a driveway gate on Haynes, both cut into the existing wall.

It's amazing how secluded you feel inside the walled enclosure. Several large old trees increase the sense of privacy, and what's exceptional is that the land on all four sides of this house has been developed as outdoor living spaces.

The rear yard is a parking court with room for three or four cars. One side is a bower where a lone hammock offers the chance to unwind peacefully. The other side yard is filled by a screened garden house with an old brick smoker. This structure allows you to relax in style with a bunch of friends at your side, regardless of mosquitoes or rain. The front yard has raised (planting) beds against the perimeter wall filled with azaleas, a hot tub, and a large patio. The front door is sheltered by two mature Japanese maples.

The cathedral-ceiling living room is obviously the center of this house. A bay with tall windows and a semicircular transom fills this room with south light and views of the front walled garden. In the winter a wood-burning fireplace creates a cozy ambience. A stair leads from the living room to a loft library with a great view. In addition to the library, the upstairs has two generous storage closets and a bedroom suite.

The dining room is beneath the loft library and completely open to the living room. The adjacent kitchen is a study in whites. The cabinets have distressed white paint finishes, whereas the counters and appliances are pure white. This palette is enriched by the hardwood parquet of the ground floor continuing through the kitchen, adding an upscale note.

The east side of the ground floor has two bedrooms and a bath. One bedroom has direct connections to the bath, as well as French doors out to the patio just opposite the hot tub. The current owner uses this room as a master suite. The previous owners made it their dining room. With its welcoming Mexican tile floor, it could also be a family/media room.

This house is centrally located but with privacy you would think available only in the country. The grounds have been well developed and offer a variety of spaces for repose and recreation. The fact that it's been parceled off of a large lot certainly doesn't prevent this house from being a backyard beauty. •

2876 Frances Place

Approximately 2,300 sq. ft.

3 bedrooms, 2 baths

$299,900

Realtor: Revid Realty,

725-7766

Owner/agent: Peter Imes, 849-0054

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