What House? 

Circa-1957 hidden delight in East Memphis.

Curb appeal isn't a possibility. Keeping up with the Joneses is out the window, too. From the street all you glimpse is a wall of wood and masonry columns. And some great trees. Two blue Pfitzer junipers flanking the property are the largest and best pruned I have seen in Memphis.

You see the house number and amble down the drive. Lo and behold, two gates appear. Choose the gate on the right and you're in a lushly planted private yard. Flagstones lead past mounds of shrubs. Crepe myrtles and bottlebrush buckeye stand out.

The L-shaped house wraps around this yard with an entry from a large patio tucked into the corner. Perimeter fencing makes curtains an option, not a necessity, and since this house has a lot of glass that's a good thing. The other gate leads down an elegantly planted walkway to another entry that's slightly more formal. From here there is another yard minimally landscaped with tall hedges and a streambed running through open lawn. A private dining patio overlooks this quiet garden.

Either gate eventually leads you to the center of the house, where you'll find a sunroom big enough for a home office. The family room has a stone wall with a fireplace at one end and a wall of glass at the other. This floor plan offers a lot of options. Cathedral ceilings of pickled mahogany make the ample rooms feel even larger.

The kitchen and breakfast room have been completely redone. Even the wall of glass adjacent to the dining patio was recently replaced. High-tech, low-voltage lights accent sleek new cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Lest you think it's all too modern, salvaged elements such as old stained glass add an eclectic air.

The large living room enjoys the changing views of the garden with its mixed shrubs and perennial borders. Away from the street run what were originally three bedrooms. At some point a wall of the middle bedroom was removed. That room is now used as an intimate dining room.

The master bath is the most recently renovated space. It's sumptuous. The original bath and adjoining porch were combined. Cabinetry is all of hand-selected curly maple. The long, Chinese marble-topped vanity gently bows out into the space. A steam shower stands opposite. At the garden end a spa tub has been installed so you can enjoy the ever-changing horticultural display through a wall of glass without a care what the neighbors think.

After you get past the garden gates and inside this hidden house you realize rather than "What House?" it's more aptly "What a House!"

4764 Normandy, 2,300 square feet, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 baths; $249,000, FSBO; 763-2366


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