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The Benefit Of Hindsight

A new Queen Anne in Cooper-Young.

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If you were buying your first home in Memphis around the turn of the last century, this is the style of house you would likely be considering. It is being built in Cooper-Young 100 years after its heyday. Queen Anne cottages were the darlings of the late-Victorian era. Poke around older parts of North and South Memphis or any street in Cooper-Young and you'll find plenty of them.

So why a new Queen Anne? Well, there's been a large empty lot on a nice block of Blythe Street. A neighborhood non-profit that's renovating and reselling homes in Cooper-Young decided to build a house on this lot. Much like those who rebuilt in the Evergreen corridor, the organization wanted a new house that echoed the massing, materials, and proportions of the area. A Queen Anne fit the bill.

Massing required that the house sit well off the ground so a back-filled concrete slab was used. Queen Annes were tall and came with a prominent roof, which suggested 10-foot ceilings and a steeply pitched roof. The tall ceilings add the grace note so often associated with older homes, and the roof not only "feels" right, it also adds tons of expandable attic space.

The exterior has a wraparound porch typical of the period. Cedar shakes create a fish-scale pattern in the front gable. Concrete board siding gives the look of wood but holds paint better and lasts decades longer -- a significant improvement over the traditional material.

The interior is not finished but is far enough along that it should be completed before the end of the year. A big kitchen was planned from the start, with plenty of workspace, a breakfast nook, and access to a covered back porch. Other touches tell you this is certainly not a turn-of-the-last-century home. A small room with a built-in desk is a home-computing center. A master bath with separate shower, spa tub, and double vanity not crammed into a closet suggest good planning.

All of the finishes are not yet in place, but plans indicate a warm and inviting interior. A fireplace in the living room will have a wood surround and mantel. Floors in the public area will be wood. The kitchen will have maple cabinets and a dishwasher, stove, and microwave will be provided. The kitchen and bath floors will be tiled for easy care.

Both bedrooms have the luxury of outdoor access. The master in the rear has a door onto the back porch. A door at the far end of the front porch connects to the front bedroom. This allows the second bedroom to be used as a home office with its own entrance. All these features should make this new Queen Anne appealing to the young urban professional as well as a family looking for the character of an older home with all the amenities.

1057 Blythe Street
1,900 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths; $159,500
Realtor: Sowell & Co., 278-4380, Agent: Randall Wilder, 327-9900

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