Surely you've noticed the Greenstone. It's the grand old stone apartment complex on the north side of Poplar at I-240. And it is green. George Arnold built a major mansion here in 1885. Later, Seneca Anderson bought the house.
The house was demolished in 1926, but, amazingly, the Ohio green sandstone and Indiana limestone were reused as the polychrome cladding for the apartment building. Even the magnificent staircase was salvaged and installed just inside the Poplar Avenue entrance.
In the late 1920s, this was a fashionable address on one of the main trolley lines running downtown from the new subdivision around Stonewall. Now it's prime property again.
The current owners have certainly done their historical due diligence. They went the extra mile for the exterior restoration and had deteriorated limestone balusters cut in matching stone. The original entrances from the 1885 mansion, with their deeply carved, intricately detailed limestone surrounds flanked by polished granite columns, survive intact.
The interior required more work but has been beautifully updated for this building's next century. Smooth, unblemished wall finishes and tall ceilings are highlighted by traditional Midtown trim. The original floors, mainly of quarter-sawn oak with heart pine (originally covered with linoleum) in the kitchens, have been refinished but have a rich patina. Door hardware — including the hinges! — has been stripped of paint and replated with a deep bronze finish. You don't often see this attention to detail.
Kitchen and baths look right for the period but with all the latest conveniences. All of the kitchen cabinetry is custom, with ball-and-claw feet. Wall cabinets echo the look of original butler's pantries with glass doors. Countertops are white Carrara marble, shot through with gray veining. Backsplashes are subway tile, and appliances are stainless steel, of course.
The layouts are simple but functional — big enough to add an island or breakfast table and with walk-in pantries as a bonus.
The likewise classic baths feature Calcutta Gold marble floor tiles laid in a running bond pattern, and the tub surrounds are subway tile all the way to the ceiling. A few original, tall, storage cabinets with mirrored doors have been reproduced for every unit. Original cast- iron tubs have been reglazed and gleam anew.
There are 18 units to choose from, most with two bedrooms and one bath. The two largest units have three bedrooms and two baths. All of the rooms are spacious and bright. Hubert T. McGee, the architect of the 1926 construction and of the equally colorful Pink Palace, did an amazing job with the floor plan. Every unit has openings on three sides, creating spaces with great light and ventilation.
Fine details abound. The original double-hung windows have been fully restored so that both the top and bottom sash are operable. New storm windows allow you to open the interior window sash from the top and the exterior storm window from the bottom and exhaust air by natural convection.
A mature stand of oaks on the west side and tall pines on the east, screening the interstate, add welcoming shade. New landscaping and lighting focus attention on the exterior stone and ornate entrances. There's no way new construction could match the rich materials and elegant spaces found here. When it comes to green construction, as in recycled, the Greenstone, now in its third incarnation, is about as green as it gets!
1116 Poplar Avenue
1,130 sq. ft.-2,400 sq. ft.
2 and 3 bedrooms, $165,000-
Realtor: Kendall Haney Group (725-1968) and Downtown Condo Group