Hot Properties

Southern Scandinavian

Renovated foursquare in Annesdale Snowden.

by John Griffin

here’s no such thing as a Southern Scandinavian foursquare, and this really has some elegantly pared down Renaissance Revival details. But besides getting your attention, I think there are several aspects of this house that suggest the clean lines and functionalism that are hallmarks of Scandinavian design.
No gratuitous ornament is allowed. The limestone-clad exterior has strong, simple, rectilinear porch columns. The porch railing is composed of an open checkerboard of stacked, square limestone blocks. The major exterior design element is the front bay window accentuated by its own gabled top. Inside, it creates generous niches that add immeasurably to the rooms. Even the small details are kept to paired brackets visually supporting the deep roof overhang and the subtly flared roof line.
Inside has been completely redone, and here, too, the watchword was simplicity. The oak floors have been sanded and sealed – without the traditional dark stain – brightening every room. Even the staircase with its oak newel posts carved with leaf forms is now light. This
staircase wraps around a built-in seat to the entry with deep storage drawers below. Ornament is restrained primarily to windows and light fixtures.
The entry door has geometrically patterned leaded and beveled side lights and transom. The staircase, living, and dining rooms have pale stained-glass windows with a simplified plant-form motif. At night, when the windows are dark, elegant period drop-pendant light fixtures with decorative glass shades hold center stage.
Newly finished ceilings allow for lots of recessed lights to highlight all the rooms. The deep cove that ornaments the ceiling line has been carefully preserved. A modern, light-wood mantel and matching bookcases terminate the living room under the high stained-glass windows. Light woods, white walls, and recessed lights all play wonderfully against the high ceilings and large rooms that characterize ofttimes dark foursquares.
The kitchen, too, is brand-new. A heavy, commercial vinyl floor unifies the new kitchen, pantry, and breakfast rooms. All new light birch cabinets wrap three sides with a hard rock, maple butcher-block countertop. It’s so Scandinavianly blond I’d have to buy cobalt cookware and dinnerware if I lived here. The new layout tucks a large, walk-in pantry behind a three-quarter-height wall that holds the stove. This cleverly doesn’t block any light, while hiding tons of storage. It’s an unconventional solution that makes perfect sense.
The rear of the ground floor has been reconfigured, forming a guest and/or TV room with a brand-new, all-white, full bath. Behind the kitchen is a bright breakfast room. Both rear rooms access a large deck, the rear yard, and a detached studio with cathedral ceilings and skylights aimed to capture only cool, northern light.
The light oak continues up the stairs where a deep landing contains another built-in window seat. The original sleeping porch has been incorporated into the master bedroom. This is now an elegantly large room with double closets and a rear wall of windows overlooking the yard. The recessed lights are continued on this floor, too. The bath on this floor has a heavy cast-iron tub enclosed by a modern white tiled deck and new shower. It seems to typify the whole approach to the renovation of this house – keeping the best of the old and playing it against a light, bright modern sensibility. I still think it should be Southern Scandinavian.
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1238 Sledge Ave.
Approximately 2,790 square feet
5 bedrooms, 2 baths; $139,900
Realtor: Ligon Hughes, 272-0008
Agent: Nancy Ligon, 550-1412


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