Unbelievably Uptown 

Circa 1912 bungalow in Greenlaw.

Memphis' first suburb, Greenlaw, was laid out in 1856 and mostly built out by 1900. A last few lots saw development through the first two decades of the 20th century. Its next major building period will be remembered as the first decade of the 21st century, when Greenlaw was dubbed "Uptown" and new housing that was a smaller, more suburban adaptation of the Harbor Town model was built.

This bungalow, however, was built in 1912, on a nice rise looking south toward downtown. The full-width front porch with exposed rafter tails and a wide overhang with triangular knee braces are defining elements of a Craftsman bungalow.

Most of the current housing available in Uptown is neotraditional new construction. This bungalow is a surprising find: an older house that has been renovated with great care and is recently on the market. Whereas the new houses are all concrete slab on grade with floors covered in carpet and vinyl, this house is conventionally framed with a large, dry basement and beautiful hardwood floors throughout.

The front porch faces south, so it blocks summer solar gain, and this helps passively cool the house. The porch also has a new beadboard ceiling of yellow pine with a clear finish to accentuate the grain. All of the windows have been replaced with screened, double glazed units in the original openings.

The interior has nine-foot ceilings with smooth finished plaster. The original red oak floors are newly sanded and sealed. The renovated kitchen has exotic Brazilian cherry flooring that is richly grained and deeply colored.

As is typical of bungalow plans, the living and dining rooms are open to each other through a wide cased opening. The kitchen is behind the dining room. A former pantry and back porch are incorporated into the new kitchen floor plan, providing ample space for a breakfast room and a spacious rear entry. The kitchen cabinets are all custom hardwood construction, and the counter is a stone-like plastic laminate.

The lot is deep, and the backyard is open, flat, and fenced. Three large trees add welcoming shade. An alley and drive gate allow access in addition to the off-street parking up front. Area zoning allows construction of a detached garage and workshop, even with a rental unit above.

The two bedrooms down the other side of the house book-end a central bath that was gutted and rebuilt. A new pedestal sink is set off by tumbled travertine marble floors. The same sumptuous material was used in the tub/shower. There is an open linen storage area, and the toilet is discreetly placed.

Permanent stairs lead to a floored attic with lots of storage space and the new central heat and air unit. There's a new security system, too.

This is an above-average renovation with lots of unique detailing, none of which looks like it came from a big-box home-improvement store. Even the light fixtures are all vintage.

If you're not a fan of new construction, you might well overlook housing in Uptown, but this custom renovation offers the charm of a 100-year-old house at an unbelievable price. •

634 Looney

Approximately 1,200 square feet

2 bedrooms, 1 bath


Realtor: Crye-Leike, 754-0800

Agent: Rick Travers, 218-3961

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