Wooded Wonderland 

Circa 1960 split-level in Frayser.

In the 1950s, sprawling ranch houses were all the rage. Many of these new residential areas had been flat farmland and were easy to build on. Land was cheap and lots were large.

By the 1960s, most of the best flat land already had sprouted housing. The split-level decreased the lot width needed by making at least a third of the building's footprint into an upper level, and, equally important, the stepped plan could be easily sited on rolling land.

The interior layout of the split-level was very attractive to families. Ranch houses merely zoned sleeping quarters to one end and all of the public rooms and the garage to the other. There was little separation between noisy playrooms and more adult spaces.

A split-level placed the playroom and newly ubiquitous television downstairs. All the sleeping spaces were on the upper level, and that left the entry, living, dining, and kitchen together on the mid-level — a half flight of stairs away from everything.

The hilliest real estate around Memphis is just north of town. It's always a surprise and a delight to leave the flat city behind and cross the Wolf River into the undulating, spring-fed hills of that stretch from Frayser to Raleigh. It's no wonder folks used to take the train from Binghampton to Raleigh Springs as a restorative.

This split-level was built in 1960 on the northwest edge of Frayser in Georgian Hills. The lots are quite deep, and the area is heavily wooded. It's ever so bucolic and a good reminder that you're only a hop and a skip away from Shelby Forest.

Usually in a split-level, the lower level housed the playroom and the garage. Here, the plan was altered, placing the garage adjacent to the dining room and kitchen and allowing a mother-in-law wing to be attached behind the garage. The playroom benefited, because it is less disturbed and has a limestone fireplace with gas logs and direct connection to a covered rear patio.

The mid-level has been recently upgraded with a ceramic tiled entry and kitchen. The kitchen has all-new oak cabinets and a spacious plan. The dining and living rooms have both had narrow white-oak floors refinished to look just like new.

Upstairs, there is a rear corner master bedroom with private bath and two closets. The main bath has been zoned for better use by dividing the double vanity into one room and the toilet and tub with shower into a separate space.

The rear yard is a for-real getaway. Besides the covered patio and lawn, there is a storm shelter that would be perfect if your kid makes music. There is also a two-level deck that steps down to an area planted with ferns and hostas with a gravel walk leading to a hidden gazebo. It's a wooded wonderland only minutes from the city.

1691 Georgian Drive

Approximately 3,000 square feet

4 bedrooms, 4 baths

$159,000

Owner/agent: Glenn Moore Realty, 377-1057

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