Quaint Queen Anne 

Renovated cottage in Central Gardens.


Charm is what this cottage in the east end of Central Gardens has got going for it. Even from the street the turned porch posts and balustrade are an inviting three-color paint scheme. An old brick walk leads from street to porch, and the grassy front yard is bordered by masses of azaleas.

Queen Annes were built in the latter part of the Victorian era, and the formality of the period is expressed here by an entrance hall where you can greet guests before admitting them to the public rooms. The entry is also the point at which a staircase rises to the finished second floor and is large enough for a sizable table or maybe even a piano.

The living room has one of three original fireplaces. These were built narrow for the use of coal and won t work for wood. However, there are gas coal-grates available (like gas logs), which would be another charming touch. The original tile at hearth and surround is wonderful, as is the oak overmantel with its beveled mirror.

The living and dining rooms are connected by a pair of French doors that add yet more interest to the house. The dining room features the second fireplace and gains additional floor space and light from a broad bay with three tall windows on the west side. The original pine floors are in excellent condition and colored a rich brown tone.

The kitchen is larger than I expected. It easily accommodates a good-sized table, but I d opt instead for a smaller one (after all, the dining room is next door) so there d be room for a comfy chair or two for guests. New cabinets and appliances were recently installed, and the prep/clean-up area is ample and well-laid-out. The stove, however, is sited by its lonesome. But by moving it to the adjoining wall, a side cabinet could be added as a staging area.

There is a master suite downstairs. It has a private bath with shower, and the bedroom is graced with the third fireplace. The closet is small, but the stairs to the second floor cut through an upper corner of this room and an armoire would fit well there or you could wall off that floor space under the stairs, creating a large closet. The full bath on this floor has a deep, footed soaking tub. There are two back rooms, one best for an office and the other a sunny bedroom that overlooks the well-groomed backyard.

Upstairs has been finished by the current owners and is now the largest bedroom in the house. There are huge walk-in closets but no bath on this floor. That s the next project that would most benefit the house, and there is certainly plenty of room to create a very spacious bathing suite without compromising the second-floor bedroom or the closet space.

As for the rear yard, it s picture-perfect. There is an old brick terrace behind the house with a low, serpentine brick wall and steps down to a bucolic central lawn. Meandering beds of hosta, fern, hydrangea, and camellias are all bordered by cobblestones, which surround the lawn. A stone-edged water garden is set slightly off-center in a sunny spot, which permits a colorful display of aquatic plants to be enjoyed all season from the rear terrace of this quaint Queen Anne.

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