This house doesn't immediately seem Craftsman. The style is usually associated with cottages. If this is a cottage, it's more in the Newport, Rhode Island, scale, where summer "cottages" from the same era ran 10,000 square feet or more. This one's not quite that large, but the look is definitely grand for the Craftsman Style.
It may be the location. Sited on the west side of Kenilworth looking into Overton Park, is a particularly fine, pastoral setting. The street is only one long block, but it's filled with a rich compendium of early 20th-century architecture. Most of the houses here are rather stately spacious porches, sun rooms and built of fine materials like this home of brick and stone and elegant green tile roof.
But all the details here scream Craftsman. The deep, unenclosed roof overhang is supported by ornate triangular knee braces. The stone columns at the full-width front porch and the porte cochere are massive. Matching stone surrounds the window openings in a rusticated manner. Most tellingly, the upper window sashes with their decorative light pattern and the small, high windows at the overscale front door and sidelights are typical only of Craftsman cottages and their more intellectual cousin, the Prairie Style.
This house has just been completely renovated. All mechanical systems have been replaced and enlarged, but what's most telling is how gently the interior has been updated. Main public rooms are unaltered. On the ground floor, only rear service spaces have been rethought to create an open kitchen, breakfast area, and family gathering room.
The living room runs the full width of the house, and it's breathtaking. The quarter-sawn oak staircase rises on the same end as the front door. The arrangement leaves lots of room to group furniture around the massive fireplace and its flanking, new lighted bookcases. The wainscoted dining room with its own massive fireplace also has its original china cabinets for storage. Beams in both directions on the ceiling here create an intricate coffering. All of the brass door hardware has been lovingly stripped of paint another elegant touch.
The new kitchen is larger than expected. Granite-topped cabinets fill all four walls, and there's still room to add a big work island. The rear family room has lots of windows and French doors out onto a private backyard and large patio. A two-car garage out back has an unrenovated second floor that would make a great home office or guest quarters. And there's even a finished playroom in the basement.
Upstairs is a master suite with three additional bedrooms and bath. The third-floor attic has been finished and is perfect for a media room. It's also got another full bath and a two-room cedar closet for off-season storage.
But the second-floor master is the stunner here. This suite runs front to back down one side. The doors were carefully aligned so that uninterrupted park views are guaranteed. The front room of the master is a sitting room with fireplace. Next are two closets and then the sleeping chamber. A bay window here is an inviting spot for a chaise or a writing desk. At the rear is a large, new bath. There's a glass-enclosed shower, a long marble-topped vanity with two sinks and a make-up area. A spa tub nestles in the back corner where a wall of windows fills the room with light. The views out back are as park-like as out front and perfectly compliment this top-to-bottom renovated "cottage" on the park.
343 Kenilworth Street
4,500 square feet
4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and
2 half-baths; $620,000
Realtor: Marx and Bensdorf,
Agent: Susan Overton, 336-5170
First open house Sunday,
May 26th, 2-4 p.m.