Architect J. Fraser Smith came to Memphis to work in 1921. William Chandler hired him to lay out a development called the Village at the southeast corner of Poplar and Goodlet in 1938. The neighborhood became a bastion of Colonial Revival-style houses on large lots with gently curving streets.
The designs were inspired by those of colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The excavations and exhaustive studies of that town's architecture began in the mid-1920s and had a pervasive influence on domestic design for many years.
This house, built in 1945, shows all the hallmarks of the late Colonial Revival style. It's got a steeply pitched roof with two front-facing dormers. The windows here, unlike the original colonial examples, are ganged in double or triple units. The exterior is sided primarily in shingles, but the two front box bays are sheathed in vertical tongue-and-groove wood. The whole exterior is unified by a light, earth-toned neutral color, with the trim called out in a crisp white and the centrally placed front door accented in red.
The living and dining rooms are across the front, each with a box bay window. The living room has a fireplace fitted with gas logs inside a nicely detailed period mantel. The oak floors are honey-toned and look like new.
The bedroom wing is pleasantly secluded. There are three bedrooms and three baths in the house, and a separate guest quarters attached to the garage holds a fourth bedroom and bath. Custom built-ins in the guest room allow this space to function as a home office, too, giving both guests and office clutter their own area out of the mainstream of activity.
The master suite has the smallest of the four baths, as they used to be before the current craze for airplane-hangar-sized dressing and bathrooms. Installing a new, frameless shower and simple pedestal sink in a minimal space would make this bath feel twice as big without the expense of a new addition.
The real draws here, other than the neighborhood, are the expanded kitchen and new family room. The rear wall to the original kitchen was removed, allowing the cooking space to be doubled and a spacious seating area to be added as well. The ceiling height in the rear addition was lifted to further expand the space. The current owners installed granite counters and a multi-hued, tumbled-limestone backsplash. The professional-model gas stove has a matching stainless-steel hood and a handy pot filler. The cabinets are painted white to match the trim and have lots of glass doors to bounce light around. The floors in the kitchen and the rear seating area are oak to match the rest of the house.
This 50-plus-year-old neighborhood has numerous family events during the year, such as an Easter egg hunt and a Fourth of July parade. It's hard to find that small-town atmosphere in such a centrally located, older subdivision. Even during this economic slowdown, few houses sit on the market long in this recession-proof area. •
Approximately 2,700 square feet
4 bedrooms, 4 baths
FSBO: 680-0910; will co-op