Real Estate » Hot Properties

Dorothy's Dream Home

Colonial Revival goes mid-century mod.



This house, built along North Parkway in 1939, began as a very traditional Colonial Revival. The primary roof runs parallel to the street, and a gabled porch sits at the center of the main mass, supported on one end by a single, large Tuscan column. But in the 1950s, a wholesale renovation swept through like a tornado, and when it was over, this Colonial cutie became one of Midtown's outstanding mid-century mods.

The first hint of this is that the other front-porch column has been replaced with a rectangular brick pier with a planter at its base. Once on the porch, the asymmetrical grid of the west side trellis appears -- a classic '50s decorative divider. The windows in the public rooms have been replaced and gridded to resemble a Japanese shoji screen. (Ray and Charles Eames also played with this same grid design in some of their famous '50s wall units.) Even the brick walks and porch floor are laid in this same pattern. You quickly figure out that this isn't Kansas anymore.

The living and dining rooms are united by white-oak floors and nine-foot ceilings. A sun room to the east was obviously once an open porch but has now been enclosed with two walls of glass, the far end filled with bookcases and media cabinetry. These three public rooms have the sweep of a loft and provide the perfect setting for a growing collection of mid-century modern furniture.

The bedroom wing is to the rear. The first bedroom could easily do double-duty as an office and a guest room. There's a wall-long built-in desk with storage to both sides. This room is paneled and might just benefit from a coat of paint. But all that the cork-tile floor needs is a colorful area rug to set it off. Midway down the back hall, the bedroom wing can be closed off with a folding shoji-screen door. This handy placement allows additional privacy in the sleeping areas when folks are still active in the front rooms.

During the same '50s renovation, a large master suite was added off the rear. It's got a spacious bedroom with lots of built-in storage and a long cedar-planked closet. The adjoining, private bath is comfortably scaled and done simply in white ceramic with black accents. The current owner (only the second in the house's history) finished the attic to create a fourth, also very large bedroom and yet another private bath.

The big production here was saved for the kitchen. All the cabinetry was replaced in the '50s and has its original stained finish and sliding doors like miniature shoji screens. Even the backsplash above the countertops is wood. Adjustable shelf units can be moved about as needed. This is a novel detail I've never seen before (and that certainly doesn't happen too often). Both the cooktop and the wall oven are by Chambers, one of the hottest names in the kitchen-appliance market. If I changed anything, I would spice up the countertops with a more colorful plastic laminate or a cool selection of stone -- but only if that backsplash could be safely preserved!

The yard is filled with a nice selection of plants and places from which to enjoy them. A double garage out back is well-screened, and the laundry room has a sink, countertop, and storage to make it a potting shed as well. The front walk runs past a local tupelo tree just starting to show its glorious fall reds. Mature azaleas abound, as do huge old crape myrtles. And a couple of Japanese maples are carefully sited. Even a sea of poppies wouldn't prevent me from clicking my heels twice and whisking right over if I were looking for a special place to call home.

1578 North Parkway

2,400 square feet

4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths; $189,000

Realtor: Crye-Leike, 766-9004

Agent: Virginia Kyle, 484-6080

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