Renovated foursquare in Annesdale Snowden.
by John Griffin
heres 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. Its so Scandinavianly blond Id 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 doesnt block any light,
while hiding tons of storage. Its 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. n
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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