Chateau On Central 

Circa-1900 house in Central Gardens.

This whimsical and picturesque house is especially distinctive -- even in the architecturally eclectic Central Gardens. Its facade, carefully balanced yet asymmetrical, has a bold, rough-faced ashlar-stone tower with beaded mortar joints and a conical roof that incorporates elements of chateauesque French architecture and the Romanesque style popularized by Henry Hobson Richardson. The extremely steep front gable roof terminates in curved rafters above the porch. The two bays of the deep porch are flanked by robust, square stone piers not unlike the piers found on many Craftsman bungalows in the surrounding neighborhoods. The pair of rectangular openings to the porch form a horizontal block which balances the strong vertical tower element.

The curving roof, the wood-shingle siding on the second floor and the front-facing gable, the leaded-glass windows, and the tower are all elements of the Queen Anne style, popular throughout the United States from the 1880s to the early years of the 20th century. The applied tracery on the facade is derived from the work of Robert Adam, an 18th-century English architect. On this house, the tracery is used to emphasize the front gable, the spandrel between the tower windows, and the tower cornice.

The entrance foyer has the feel of a baronial hall, with a stone fireplace and a pair of arched alcoves: One is used as a small music room, the other is formed by the bottom run of the staircase and its large landing with a bay window. The stair's solid balustrade of quarter-sawn oak panels extends into the adjoining alcove, where it becomes a screen wall in the music room.

Two pairs of pocket doors lead from the hall to the living and dining rooms. The first-floor tower room is now used as the dining room, adjoining the parlor behind it through a third pair of pocket doors. A big breakfast room and a nicely remodeled kitchen extend across the back of the house. The kitchen has a good, workable layout and is embellished by a painted frieze above the cabinets.

Some time ago a large den, a kitchenette/wet bar, and a full bath with a claw-foot tub were added to the rear of the house. The den opens to a huge covered porch, which is both a visual and functional expansion of the den.

The second floor has two distinct areas: two bedrooms and a bath, which open off the hall, and a master suite consisting of a bedroom, sitting room, walk-in closet, and a full bath with a shower. The third floor has one long room with a sloping ceiling and narrow stained-glass windows in each of the gable-end walls.

The house sits near the front of a large lot (almost an acre) with a side parking area, between the street and the vast, fenced backyard, which is entered through an automatic gate. In the back garden, a waterfall cascades down a stone wall into a pond. Extensive beds of perennials and a border of mature trees contribute to the park-like setting. The placement of the main house and a one-bedroom guest house on the east side of the lot leaves a large area available for development as pool, tennis court, or more gardens. Now close to 100 years old, this little castle has been beautifully preserved and sensitively augmented to provide amenities not often found in Midtown, and it is nicely outfitted to provide the setting for another century of pleasant living.

1475 Central Avenue

3,950 square feet, 4 or 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths (Guest house: 420 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bath)


Realtor: JPM Properties, Inc., Agent: J. Patrick McDowell

278-6300, 537-4952 (pager)


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