Monday, February 23, 2009

383 Park Avenue -- Now and Then

Recently golf went to visit a Victorian house she and Larry lived in about 17 years ago. They were only renting the house, but they had painted the interior rooms and decorated it to fit its age. It has since been sold, allowed to deteriorate, went into foreclosure, and was purchased in 2001 to be renovated. The current owners have adapted it to modern use, in a way that makes the house much more livable in terms of insulation, new windows (but the old wavy glass original windows were replaced), new wiring and plumbing (apparently the original copper pipes were all removed for profit) but virtually removes much of the original footprint and interior of the house. Below are pictures of the house now and then. golf feels that the "period" appearance of the "then" pictures will be fairly obvious.

The current appearance is the yellow house on the left; the right is how the house looked when golf and Larry lived there.

On the left is the current foyer, wherein the paneling under the stairs has been removed to open up a door to a bathroom. During golf's tenure, that bathroom was a "mud" room with a closet under the stairs. golf doesn't have a major problem with this usage, as it is more practical and could actually be the original plan.

This is a view from the current parlor on the right side of the house (as you enter it) looking back into the foyer. The previous owner who went into foreclosure removed a single pocket door that was about 48 inches wide and simply put an open double-door-wide opening here.

Below is a view from the dining room into the parlor during golf's occupancy. This doorway has pocket doors, which fortunately remain.

Below is a similar view today, showing the fireplace, which has been stripped of years of paint. This is good.

Below is the same fireplace when golf decorated the room for Christmas.
A simliar perspective view of the current parlor.

One more view of golf's parlor from the dining room, not at Christmas. Note the large wooden door on the right. This was originally a pocket door (note the wide door frame) that had been cut off at the top and hung on hinges. This is the door that has been removed and the doorway widened.

Below is the current dining room on the left, with golf's dining room on the right. golf had a WONDERFUL 10-foot tall sideboard in the angled corner where there had originally been a fireplace (the house had a coal-burning fireplace in every room).

Just "behind" the dining room was a very large room that golf and Larry used as the master bedroom. They had a half tester bed. Today is is merely a bedroom.

Across the hall from the dinng room was another bedroom during golf's occupancy. This room has been virtually removed, with the hall wall torn down, along with the wall behind the headboard of the brass bed shown below and a new kitchen constructed. (This formerly white-painted fireplace has also been stripped, which is good, basically.)

This is a lovely, usable, open, airy, modern space. But it really doesn't fit in this house, in golf's opinion. The kitchen could have been made with the former kitchen and an old bathroom behind it, leaving this bedroom in place. Now it's a "media" room in a 1900-era house, when no one knew what that word meant . . . .
Below is the upstairs hall, now and then. The "sleeping porch" at the end of the hall at the back of the house has been converted to a modern tile, chrome, and mirrors bath. golf had wall paper and wainscotting in the hall, along with a stained glass table and an Oriental runner.

The former sleeping porch, now a modern bathroom.

At the top of the stairs is the first upstairs bedroom. When golf lived there, she turned it into a study/library. It is now simply another bedroom. Here's golf's library:

The current bedroom is on the left; a view of the fireplace in golf's library on the right.

Down the hall to the left is another bedroom. This became golf's "rose room." That was the kindest thing that could be said about the paint in the room that was supposed to be "dusty rose." It turned out, once on the walls, to be more Pepto-Bismol pink! Fortunately her walnut furniture and Jacobean curtains made it look at least semi-planned . . . . (Note another stripped fireplace surround.)

"Behind" golf's green room/library study is another bedroom. This became the "blue room." This is currently the master bedroom of the house because the attic that was beyond the white door in the picture on the right below has been turned into a huge, stoned master bath with large walk-in closet beyond. (Note this formerly white-painted fireplace has also been stripped, which does look better. ) (All these stripped fireplaces surrounds are, golf supposes, good in that they are back to the probable original wood condition. The problem is that stripped wood LOOKS stripped! It looks bleached out and dry. It might takes years of mink oil and elbow grease to get the fireplaces looking really pretty.)

The "attic" bathroom. It is lovely . . . . .

When golf and Larry lived there, the house needed a LOT of work -- they fixed it up merely cosmetically because they were only renting and the landlord wouldn't give credit for anything done to the house. Most of the "basics" HAVE now been done, which is good for the house -- and the owners, apparently -- as the landlord would have sold the house to golf and Larry for $125,000 in 1992. At that time, they wouldn't pay that much for it. Even in foreclosure in 2001, the value placed on the house was around $300,000, when it needed at least as much work if not more than it needed in 1992. Now, with current renovations, it is valued by Zillow at more than $1 million. "Location, location, location" and size -- around 6,000 square feet -- in the historic area of Grant Park in Atlanta has a lot to do with that value. But I frankly doubt that the house will sell for anywhere close (within $200,000 or so) of that amount. In golf's opinion, the "historic" value of the house has been corrupted with the current renovations, which could hurt its value. Most people who want to buy in the Grant Park area want the "history" of the house. This house no longer has it. And probably, technically, it needs as much exterior work as has been done structurally for the interior. golf thinks it is still probably one of the four largest original houses in Grant Park -- but it is no longer "original."
Time will tell. The owners expect to put the house on the market sometime in the next few months. golf has ideas about how to re-structure the "media" room to be more "period" than it currently is and get the Victorian "design" back in place. What a pity that the potential new owners don't know to get in touch with her and take advantage of her ideas . . . . oh, well.

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