Grown-up Shotgun 

Circa-1912 Cottage in Central Gardens.

This house looks like it originated as a two-room shotgun with a bathroom on the back porch — and like Jack's beanstalk, it just grew and grew. Today, it's up to 1,560 square feet, with an intimate courtyard down one side and still room for a yard and a garage in the rear.

The original front porch with its beadboard ceiling has been glassed in to make a sunroom. Then the two windows between the sunroom and the living room were removed to open the living room up to all that light. Top-mounted, Bahamas-style shutters were added outside the sunroom to insure privacy. A fancy Eastlake door with old, rippled glass, easily original to the house, is now the entrance to the sun room.

The living room has 10-foot ceilings and narrow planked floors, now painted, but most probably of heart pine. A fireplace with gas logs is set off by a period mantle. A den has been recently added adjoining the living room. It provides overflow seating for larger gatherings and, with French doors and a private half-bath, can double as an occasional third bedroom/guestroom.

The kitchen and dining room are next in line and are the functional center of activity. A wall of casement windows that overlooks the courtyard fills the kitchen with light. There are a couple of generations of counters, some ceramic and some granite, but they all blend well with the off-white, antiqued cabinetry. There is a comfy breakfast bar and another serving bar between the kitchen and dining area.

Beyond the kitchen is a short hall with an exterior door to the courtyard that makes dining outdoors just a step away. In the courtyard, old brick paving is complemented by a tall latticed fence and extended rafters that create an arbor, allowing vines to clamber up and over the narrow exterior space, creating a lush, cozy setting any time of day.

The rear yard is sheltered under a massive Southern magnolia. The one-car garage has seen better days but is the kind of rebuild that won't impact your life while it's happening. A wood fence lends privacy from the side street.

A bath and bedroom with a spacious walk-in closet are just behind the kitchen. A newly built master suite simply extends the shotgun roof ever more rearward. The master bedroom ceiling is vaulted and a pair of French doors to the courtyard provide a private exterior focus. The master bath and its walk-in closet buffer this area from the rest of the house.

Even though this shotgun retains a very linear plan, its seating areas are adjacent, its kitchen and dining area are well connected, and the bedrooms are tucked away to the rear. Many brand-new houses are neither as well laid out nor as imaginative an assemblage of materials and spaces as this grown-up shotgun. •

541 Rembert Street

Approximately 1,560 square feet

2 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths $179,000

Realtor: Crye-Leike, 756-8900

Agent: Tonda Lea Thomas 219-7259

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