What You Get for $550,000
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Madison, Wis. | $549,000
A 1956 prefab modern house with six bedrooms and three bathrooms, on a 0.33-acre lot
Produced by Erdman Homes, a manufacturer of prefabricated structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this house (identified as “Model C” in a 1956 issue of the trade journal House & Home) was conceived to be built into a hillside, if desired, with a two-car garage and additional rooms in the walkout basement.
It is in the Nakoma Historic District, a neighborhood about four miles southwest of the downtown state capitol building. The area’s approximately 650 houses date from 1915 and reflect a mix of architectural styles, including Bungalow, Craftsman, Prairie, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival and postwar Modernism.
Nakoma is bordered on the east by the University of Wisconsin Arboretum (a few blocks from this home). A nearby dining and shopping district on Monroe Street includes an espresso bar, a chocolate company and a supper club, among many other businesses. This house is a block from the local elementary school, which sits at the edge of Nakoma Park, and less than a mile from Lake Wingra, one of the five lakes that surround the city.
Size: 2,200 square feet
Price per square foot: $250
Indoors: A flight of stone steps leads to an entrance at the side of the house that takes you into a living and dining room with 10-foot ceilings, soaring windows, maple wall paneling and oak floorboards. A wood-burning fireplace with a black marble hearth is on one side of the room; a wet bar, built into a closet behind a bamboo curtain, is opposite. Next to the bar is an original stereo cabinet with a circular speaker embedded in the wall.
Past a bookcase that defines one side of the dining area is a kitchen with a built-in banquette with vinyl upholstery and wood cabinets with onyx countertops. The decorative wall tiles are interspersed with ceramic reproductions of wine-bottle labels. A pair of lower doors in a cabinet pull open to reveal bins for storing root vegetables or pet food. Next to the cabinet is a laundry chute.
A paneled room adjacent to the kitchen contains a closet with storage bins and a built-in desk and could be used as a study or as the home’s sixth bedroom. The primary bedroom is at the end of a hall to the right of the entrance on the main level. (The corridor is lined with wood closets topped with clerestory windows.) The bedroom includes wall-to-wall carpeting, a row of casement windows that wrap around a corner, double closets and an en suite bathroom with vintage pink tile and fixtures, including a tub with a shower head. Two additional, smaller bedrooms in this wing share a bathroom with pale yellow tile.
The lower level includes a large, linoleum-tiled family room with concrete-block walls and a fireplace; two additional bedrooms (one with a built-in desk); a bathroom with a shower; and a laundry room.
Outdoor space: The living room opens to a concrete deck. Below it is a patio area reached from a door off the family room. There is also interior access to the lower-level garage. A fenced yard is in back.
Contact: Susan Stoehr, Susan Stoehr Homes, EXP Realty, 608-212-2326; susansellsmadison.com
Credit…Lightshed Photography Studio
Gloucester, Mass. | $549,990
A circa-1900 brick colonial with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, on a 3,920-square-foot lot
An Italian fisherman who immigrated to this coastal community, about 35 miles northeast of Boston, occupied this home with his family for half a century before it was bought in September and rehabbed. The owners refinished the quarter-sawn red-oak floors and extensive woodwork, but replaced almost everything else (except the windows, which have vinyl frames and were installed about a decade ago).
The house is two blocks east of Gloucester High School and five minutes on foot from Pavilion Beach.
Size: 1,892 square feet
Price per square foot: $291
Indoors: The foyer flows on the right into a living room with refinished floors and trim, including box beams on the ceiling. The brick fireplace is centered in a wall with entrances to a sunroom on either side.
To the left of the front door, a closet was added next to the staircase, and the passage from the dining room into the kitchen behind it was widened. Plaster was stripped from an original brick chimney, and the kitchen was furnished with white cabinets, a blue custom-built island with a microwave cabinet, quartz countertops, glass-tile backsplashes and black stainless steel appliances, including a range with a pot filler. The gold tone in the hardware and pendant lighting is a homage to the décor of the prior owners.
On the second floor, the master bedroom was reconfigured, with a new bathroom built into a closet and a small, windowed dressing room converted from an adjacent study. The bathroom was given radiant-heated slate floors and porcelain wall tile next to the tub, which has a square rain shower head. The master also includes a working fireplace and opens to a deck over the sunroom.
The second and third bedrooms each occupy a corner and share the second bathroom, which has a combined tub and shower.
Outdoor space: The owners refinished the portico in front and power-washed the brick. They also added a gravel parking pad next to the house that will fit two cars in tandem.
Taxes: $4,917 (2020, based on a tax assessment of $398,800)
Contact: Kevin McCafferty, RyVal Homes, 978-869-4584; ryvalhomes.com
McComb, Miss. | $535,000
A 1957 Greek Revival-style house with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, on a 41.14-acre lot with outbuildings
McComb is a city of 13,000 near the Louisiana border, about 110 miles northwest of New Orleans and 80 miles southwest of Jackson, Miss. It was the birthplace of Bo Diddley, Britney Spears and some troubling chapters in the history of racial violence. Today, the school system and local nonprofits are dedicated to educating the citizenry about this legacy, as well as the contributions of local Civil Rights leaders.
This house was owned by a dentist and his family from the late 1950s until about a decade ago. Since then, the kitchen and primary bathroom have been updated. It is two miles west of Interstate 55.
Size: 3,600 square feet
Price per square foot: $149
Indoors: The front door, topped by a fanlight and set in the middle of a classical-style portico, opens to a graceful reception room with original hardwood floors that continue throughout the house. To the right is a sunken living room with a wood-burning fireplace and a wall of built-in bookshelves. To the left is a formal dining room with a bay window, a white wainscot topped by blue walls and a crystal-bead chandelier. Both rooms have sash windows that rise almost to the 10-foot ceilings.
The kitchen has been refurbished with white cabinets, a farmhouse sink, a mobile island and Viking and Sub-Zero appliances. A cushioned bench under a bay window serves as seating in a breakfast nook.
The primary bedroom is on the second floor. It has an en suite bathroom — a converted walk-in closet — with a large, glass-enclosed shower faced in subway tile and a soaking tub with treetop views. A second bedroom suite includes a bathroom with vintage gray tile with a blue border. There is a vintage hall bathroom that pairs with the third bedroom; it has mint-green tile and a streamlined tub with a shower head. A windowed niche at the top of the staircase could be used as a work space.
A bright lower level has half of the area of the first two floors. It was recently used as an art studio with an exercise space. A laundry room and storage room are there, as well.
Outdoor space: The house is set at least 500 feet off the road and is partially screened by mature pines. The property, about half meadow and half forested, includes a kitchen herb garden, an elegant breezeway, a detached two-car garage, a barn, a chicken coop and an equipment shed whose contents (mowers, tractor with front loader) are negotiable. Artifacts, including a gazebo, lamppost and dinner bell, are distributed around the house.
Taxes: $2,573 (2019, although a homestead exemption would result in a significant reduction)
Contact: Chuck Paulk, Cabin & Creek Real Estate, 601-810-2104; cabinandcreekproperties.com
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