Sweet Salvation 

Circa-1910 Queen Anne in Higbee Heights.

This was one of those back-from-the-borders-of-hell jobs. At some low point, this cottage was converted into a triplex -- an ignominious fate for sure. Fortunately, a kind-souled woodworker bought it in the 1970s. The house was gutted and rebuilt top to bottom. Ah, sweet salvation.

Typical of turn-of-the-century Queen Anne cottages, the entry porch runs across the front and turns a corner down one side. A half-light front door, with intricate detail below and a transom above, is set at the end of this turn. Decorative glass, possibly etched, would add interest to this entry as would reinstalling the street numbers in black and gold on the transom.

The front yard is most appealing. A hand-laid brick walk leads from two boxwoods at the street to the porch. An off-street parking space is nestled under a tall, westerly shade tree. The wide front porch is most welcoming, and a trellis with a sweet autumn clematis would easily make this picture-perfect.

The living and dining rooms were opened up, leaving only the exposed-brick, wood-burning fireplace as a divider. Floors of pecan were installed on the diagonal, adding another modern touch to the public rooms. A wall of storage shelves was built across the rear of the dining room from floor to ceiling and will hold a lot of china, a ton of books, or both.

The kitchen and breakfast were also opened up to each other. The kitchen was built of rough-sawn lumber both on walls and cabinets. It's probably an element that won't prove timeless and could do with a rethinking. The layout, although not large, is efficient, and there's both a large pantry and an adjacent window seat with plenty of storage. There's also a rear laundry/mud room which connects to a deck and brick patio out back. The rear yard is privacy-fenced and invitingly shady. There is, however, not much landscaping besides grass, so it's either badminton or off to the garden centers. You choose.

Two bedrooms and a full bath occupy the remainder of the ground floor. The middle bedroom has a full wall of closets and a bay window, both of which add immeasurably to its appeal. The rear bedroom has a walk-in closet with beadboard-covered walls and ceiling that look to have originally been part of the back porch. Either of these rooms could easily double as a home office or den, which is always handy.

Upstairs was probably only storage before the renovation, but every inch was reclaimed and put to maximum use. The narrow space at the rear where the staircase enters has a long wall of closets providing more storage space than you can imagine. The central area is now the master bedroom. A cross gable has had another full bath tucked into it. The roof is not generously scaled over this bath, so if you are a wee-bit short and occasionally overwhelmed in big spaces, you're gonna love this. There is even a second-floor balcony off the master suite looking over the backyard. It, too, is not overlarge, but for a private spot to sit tucked into the trees and rooftops of Midtown, it offers all the salvation any soul could need. And that's sweet.

2002 Harbert Avenue
2,200 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 baths; $139,500
Realtor: Coleman-Etter Fontaine, 767-4100

Agent: Faith Gary, 682-2588

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