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Bucolic Beauty

A Tudor Revival cottage in Hein Park.

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If you can't follow Robert Browning's advice to "be in England, Now that April's there," you might try a leisurely drive through Hein Park, which at this time of year is much like an English village with its winding lanes and meadow-like green expanses. The area was originally a dairy farm, part of which was sold for the campus of Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College). In 1923, the Hein, Mette, and Gerber families, who owned the Memphis Steam Laundry and the John Gerber Department Store, began selling lots subdivided from the property. They called the area Hein Park and wanted the development to have a broad socioeconomic mix. Lots sold from $500 to $16,000, and houses ranged from cottages to mansions.

Hein Park was one of many streetcar suburbs developed within or adjacent to the Parkways during the early 1900s, but its curving streets and deep front yards distinguished it from most other subdivisions with grids and houses set close to the street. Its design is a fine example of the City Beautiful movement, which was greatly influenced by the 18th-century English Romantic and Picturesque landscape movements. While there is a great variety of architectural styles in Hein Park, the Tudor Revival is predominant.

This Tudor Revival cottage has all the hallmarks of the style: a multitude of steep gable roofs, a prominent chimney, half-timbering, groups of small-paned windows, and masonry walls, in this case stone and stucco. The front door, made of stout boards bound by heavy strap hinges, looks like the entrance to a medieval fortress. The entry hall has a coat closet with a diamond-paned slit window through which you can see the porch and front yard. One end of the large living room is entirely open to a sunroom with French doors that lead to a side garden and patio.

The living and dining rooms are joined by a wide archway. Off the dining room is an unusually large breakfast room which has its original built-in china cupboard. The breakfast room, kitchen, and front entry have quarry tile floors. The kitchen has lots of cabinets as well as a pantry. The work areas are perfectly adequate, but the space could be easily expanded by combining the kitchen and its adjoining utility room/back-entrance hall. Remodeling to convert a back bedroom to a family room connected to the kitchen would create a "great room" with access to the pool terrace.

A long, wide hallway runs through the center of the house. Three bedrooms, the kitchen, a bath, and the stairs to the finished attic are ranged along the hall. The house still has many of its original details, including a tiny telephone niche and radiator covers with a faux bois finish to match the red-gum woodwork.

The original master bedroom downstairs has two sets of corner windows overlooking the back garden and pool terrace. It also has its own bath. A second master suite upstairs has a huge, sky-lit bath and a series of spaces which could be used as bedrooms, home office, or walk-in closets and dressing rooms.

The deep lot is not immense, but it has been intensively developed. The front lawn is a lush swath of green leading to the broad, open front porch. The foundation plantings around the porch spill out to the side yards. One side has the driveway; the other has a path that leads around to a garden that runs the length of the house and connects to the pool terrace, a fenced area that is surrounded by dense shrubs and specimen plants. The pool house forms one end of the pool terrace and adjoins the garage. This truly charming cottage is one of the reasons why Hein Park is one of Memphis' great neighborhoods. n

685 Cypress Drive

3,300 square feet

4 bedrooms, 3 baths; $285,000

Agent: Susan Overton

Realtor: Re/Max Elite of Memphis

Agent: B.J. Worthy

685-6000, 754-5177

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