Resale Homes

Smokin' transformation

Fire-damaged 1914 home now a modern masterpiece

JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA/Eric Neumann of Realty Executives' First Choice

Sometimes, a disastrous event can be the precursor to a positive one.

To find an example of that, you only have to look as far as a Crescentwood classic found at 803 Dudley Ave. Not long ago, a fire in the home next door (which razed it to the ground) spread to the east side of the venerable, 96-year-old home.

The result was that part of a gorgeous oak staircase and the adjacent foyer were damaged, in addition to extensive smoke damage.

Instead of doing run-of-the-mill repairs to the home, the owners' insurance company decided to -- surprisingly -- go the extra mile in restoring the home, says Realty Executives' Eric Neumann.

"They really went above and beyond in repairing the home," he says. "Basically, they had the contractors take the home down to the studs. The new walls are two-by-six with updated insulation, new drywall was installed, the electrical system was updated and new plumbing was also installed. All the (oak) hardwood floors are new, as well."

Although 803 Dudley was built in 1914, the floor plan works, which isn't always the case with homes built around the turn of the century. In many cases, the kitchen is small and lacking in function, while the living (or sitting room) is small. To top things off, there's often no well--defined dining space.

That's not the case here. There's actually a large formal dining room bordered by a latticed piano window on the left and huge leaded glass window behind. Thanks to another large window in the living room -- which is large enough to hold a sofa, love seat and easy chair -- natural light is abundant. There's even a little nook where a TV stand could be placed -- or a flat panel TV hung on the wall.

The main level's most notable feature is perhaps the kitchen. Once closed off from the dining room -- with the exception of a three-foot-wide door that provided an entry/exit point -- it was an isolated, stark space.

Today, the kitchen is united neatly with the dining room by a large oak-trimmed cutout in the wall -- a feature that adds volume, both in terms of light and perception of space.

"It's a very functional area," says Neumann. "The kitchen has been totally redone, with maple veneer cabinets, (textured) tan laminate counter tops, smart vinyl flooring and a (huge) new window. There's also a recessed area at the back of the kitchen that houses the fridge and more cabinets. The big thing is there's lots of room to move in the kitchen, because everything is on the outer walls."

As you wander through the home, the earth-tone colours (tans, beiges and whites) -- and oak window casings, door trims, lintels and five-inch baseboards -- combine to create an interior that exudes warmth and character. That character increases when you enter the foyer to take the oak staircase up to the second level.

"The contractors really tried to retain the character of the home as much as they could, so even though the stairs were damaged by the fire, they were able to save the railing and spindles from the original staircase," he adds. "So you've got a nearly century-old hard carved railing combined with beautiful new oak steps. The oak hardwoods also run throughout the entire upper level."

While the upper level is finished in vintage fashion, it -- thankfully -- isn't vintage in design. That's crucial, because with three bedrooms and a four-piece bathroom fanning out around a compact landing, your first thought is that all four spaces are going to be on, well, the small side. That's not the case here, says Neumann.

"All three bedrooms are larger than normal for a home of this age. Each has a new (oversized) window, as well. And storage space isn't an issue with two of the rooms having big walk-in closets."

The rear portion of the upper level was also reworked to provide a pair of welcome bonus features, he adds.

"There's a sunroom of the master bedroom, and the bathroom was opened up and outfitted with all new fixtures including two new windows and a (acrylic) soaker tub/ shower combination. The flooring (a terra cotta/grey vinyl that mimics ceramic tile) is also brand-new. Like the main level, the second floor is well laid out and offers combines old and new design features extremely well."

Last but not least is -- another rarity for a home this age -- a level basement (with three larger than normal windows) that can be equipped with a rec room, bedroom, bathroom and storage room.

"There's about 500 square feet of usable space down there (already insulated and drywalled) that you can finish how you want -- plus a newer high efficient furnace and washer and dryer," Neumann says.

"This family home is in a great location, and boasts tons of character in a virtually new home."



Location: 803 Dudley Ave., Crescentwood

Size: 1,216 sq. ft.

Year Built: 1914

Style: One-and-three-quarter

Lot Size: 25' x 100'

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 1

Taxes: $2,698.93 (Gross 2010)

Price: $219,900

Contact: Eric Neumann, Realty Executives First Choice @ 885-8999

Details Location: 803 Dudley Ave., Crescentwood Size: 1,216 sq. ft. Year Built: 1914 Style: One-and-three-quarter Lot Size: 25' x 100' Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 1 Taxes: $2,698.93 (Gross 2010) Price: $219,900 Contact: Eric Neumann, Realty Executives First Choice @ 885-8999

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