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Walrow

A Tudor Revival on Goodwyn.

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Goodwyn Street was once part of Geraldus Buntyn's cotton plantation. Buntyn's house, one of the few extant antebellum houses in Memphis, stands on the west side of the street. After Buntyn's death in 1865, his property was divided into 81 lots. Several new streets were installed in the subdivision in the early 1900s, including Goodwyn, named for R.D. Goodwyn, Buntyn's son-in-law.

The street is lined with estates built in the 1920s and '30s. Its distinctive houses designed by regionally prominent architects in a wide range of popular revival styles (Greek, Italian Renaissance, Spanish Mission) are a visual encyclopedia of early 20th-century residential architecture. Walrow is a local landmark example of the Tudor Revival style, inspired by medieval architecture as popularized by the English Arts and Crafts Movement in the mid-19th century. Completed in 1925, Walrow was designed by Irven McDaniel of the firm Sieg and McDaniel, which had offices in Hot Springs and Memphis. The house name was derived from the surnames of the original owners, Kathryn Walter and her husband, A.K. Burrow.

Walrow is an elegant but restrained asymmetrical composition, with Indiana limestone walls, wide banks of windows, and a steep, complex slate roof with multiple hips and gables. Its main entry is accentuated by an oriel window positioned above the front door. The house has a broad facade and is one room deep across much of its width, a design which provided good cross-ventilation and superb natural light throughout the house. Its 50-plus leaded-glass windows have small stained-glass panels featuring various heraldic motifs. Many of the rooms have windows on three sides and most windows frame garden vistas. Walrow's four-acre, park-like setting is screened by mature trees and embellished with specimen trees, numerous dogwoods, and hundreds of azaleas.

The house is an example of an important development in residential-space planning. During the 19th century, houses usually had single-use rooms linked by hallways. Walrow shows the new preference for open plans, with rooms arranged en filade (in a string), connected by large openings. At Walrow, several pairs of French doors allow visual connection between rooms even when the doors are closed. The French doors have curved muntins, echoing the lines of the Tudor arches framing the doorways. The main stair in the entry hall has carved-oak newels with pendant acanthus leaves at each corner. Millwork throughout the house features elements derived from historic English, French, and Italian sources.

The major rooms on the first floor have intricate plaster moldings given individual treatments in each room. The sun room has painted panels depicting the gardens developed by the Burrows. On the rear of the house, an arcaded gallery leads from the breakfast and sun rooms to the porte cochère, which was probably the principle family entrance.

The kitchen is a pleasant blend of contemporary functionality and traditional styling, with several well-equipped work areas and ample cabinets and pantries. The kitchen flooring is slate, which was found stacked behind the garage, perhaps originally used on one of the garden paths. The rear entrance vestibule has a glass-front china cupboard and temperature-controlled wine storage.

The second floor has two major suites flanking a library at the top of the main stair. The master suite includes a bedroom with a wood-burning fireplace, bath, dressing room, and study. The bedroom opens to a roof terrace above the gallery and porte cochère. The secondary suite consists of two bedrooms and a bath with all its original finishes and fixtures, including a "luminous radiator," a heater powered by large, frosted light bulbs. The attic has a fourth bedroom and a full bath with a claw-foot tub and a distinctive vanity fashioned from an antique dresser.

Walrow is a splendid example of early 20th-century American domestic architecture on a grand scale, meticulously preserved and ready to provide the setting for another century of elegant living.

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