Dreamland

Hidden house on Monroe.

| March 29, 2002

Years ago, this was maybe a backhouse or garage. Its origins feel, rightly, lost in time. A drive meanders between beds of groundcover planted with understory dogwoods and redbuds beneath taller trees. Ultimately, you reach a wrought-iron fence set between brick piers. Only after you park and approach the gate does this board-and-batten house come into view, as if it had been hiding but suddenly changed its mind.

Brick between batten timbering surrounds the front door. A large conifer hides a spacious brick patio tucked under an enormous Japanese maple. Beds of surrounding perennials are now showing those first tentative buds. English ivy climbs up a tall brick chimney, and bits of stained glass sparkle. The elements recall the careful disarray you'd relish in a Cotswold cottage.

Inside, it's not even a surprise that the ceilings are a wee-bit low and the doors, of course, are round-headed. Even the firebox has a neatly arched opening. A finish of rough stucco on the walls and ceilings catches the changes in light. Dark beams resting, as they should, on corbels don't lower the ceiling but make it seem taller. These interiors seem "felt out," and they unfold slowly the way one proceeds down a garden path in spring.

There's a cold entry and then you're in the living room. The dining room is next with a bank of high, eastern windows. Wood flooring runs through these rooms. Down a step or two behind the dining is the galley kitchen. Black stone countertops and white painted cabinets add graphic punch, as does the overscale, vintage gas range with griddle. More stained glass and a large skylight don't hurt either.

Out back is mostly deck (a lawn mower is useless at this house). There's a screened gazebo with a hot tub. A tall, wooden fence and trees add privacy. There's a detached storage building and an additional wall of attached storage running the length of the house.

The west side of the house has an office/guest room up front and looking out onto the patio. A middle bedroom shares the public bath across the hall. Though the bath is situated deep inside the interior, a skylight over the tub fills the room with light. The floor here is all tiled, and the walls have the same stained, vertical board-and-batten finish as the exterior.

The master suite extends to the rear (hence light and air from three sides) and has its own doors out to the deck and the hot tub. The private master bath has tile on both the floor and high wainscot. Yet another skylight over the decked tub allows you to pretend on occasion that you're floating on some bucolic pool under the stars.

Be warned: This house will entice you. It's like you knew it from an innate fantasy of what houses should be or from a childhood dreamland. Too bad we all don't live like this.

2234 Monroe Avenue

1,900 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths

$199,000

Re/Max Elite, 685-6000 • Agent: Kendall Haney, 680-9922

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