Belmont House of the Week: 10 Woods Rd.

I have traveled by this Arnold Swartzernegger of homes on Woods Road a few times and wondered, “What is it?” A two family? Connected town houses? Or could it be a one family?

Recently placed on the market, 10 Woods Rd. is, in fact, a single residency house. And what a building. It reminds me of what happens when you put too much air into an inner tube: Give it room. It could blow!

The livable floor space is a whopping 3,661 square feet on three floors, a volume usually seen in one of the Belmont Hill manse. But this is Woods Road, the hockey-stick shaped enclosed road off Bacon Road and a block from the Grove Street Playground.

The structure dominates the surrounding homes built 60+ years ago as affordable post-war housing. For example, the average size of the nearby homes is about 1,400 sq.-ft. with its next door neighbor coming in at 1,152 sq.-ft.

Not that 10 Wood Rd. has always been a standout; until 2006, it was just like all the other houses on the street, a circa 1950 Cape that sold for $485,000 in 2005. Within four months of its purchase, the new owner gained a town permit to perform $100,000 of remodeling work for construction to the rear and to build upwards. 

The end result is the sort of “home on steroids” that prompts some residents to discuss placing additional restrictions on the acceptable floor-area-ratio in residential areas. It’s grandious for the street in both bulk and height, although the size is dampened somewhat as it’s adjacent to a rear yard to the house on Bacon Road.

I know that someone’s design preference is a personal one, but I can’t help but comment on 10 Woods Rd. Sorry but it’s a miss in many ways. It would work in a new 20,000 person gated-communities that spring up in the prairies of Colorado but here, it’s a mishmash of concepts that don’t come close to working as a cohesive housing design. From the dominate garage door, the front door is overshadowed by a pair of two-story columns (?) and the undersized “Evita” terrace above it, the lonely Victorian-style turret and the elongated windows, it’s far too busy and out-of-place to be interesting or innovative. The problem is the lot is narrow which forced the designer to cram so much in the front. Better would have been one central idea – a grand front entrance – with the upper floors set back along with the garage.

What the house lacks outside it gains inside. The renovation blew out the space to allow for an open floor plan, high ceiling heights and an open staircase. The foyer is separated by French doors to the living room, which moves into the kitchen and the dining room.

The main floor also has a family room that is adjacent to the dining area, all with Brazilian wood floors. 

The second floor has an oversized landing that opens to a home office. The master bedroom features two walk-in closets and a bathroom with double sinks and a Jacuzzi. There are two additional bedrooms and full bath on the floor.

The third floor offers a pair of bedrooms, one with a sitting area and an en-suite bathroom, ‘ideally suited for guests, older children or an au pair.”

There is that attached one-car garage and a landscaped backyard with patio.

If sold for its listed price, it will be a first for Woods Road; the first home that sells for a cool million.

Listed at $1,159,000.

Listed By: Hammond Residential Real Estate, Martha Brown.



Belmont Home of the Week: 115 Winn St.

Here is a “win-Winn” for a buyer looking for charming rather then bigness in Belmont.

(Realtors: feel free to use “win-Winn” when you are advertising a listing on the street.)

The six-room Cape-style at 115 Winn St. is your typical WWII construction, a mere 1,267 sq.-ft. (most condos in town have about the same space) so it’s a bit tight. But unlike a townhouse or a top-floor condo, you’ll have a HOUSE on a mostly quiet street (you will hear the MBTA commuter trains come by in the early morning and late night) on your own lot that includes a deck.

On the ground floor, there is a fire-placed living room, a formal dining room, an updated kitchen, a den with a bow-front window overlooking the yard and half bath. The den’s 70’s inspired-walls will remind you of the Beatles’ song, “Norwegian Wood,” complete with exposed knotted-wood panels installed on an 45-degree angle. Not to everyone’s taste, to say the least.

The second level has two bedrooms and full bath, the basement has a family room which can also be used as a third bedroom with access to a full bath.

Additional features include hardwood floors, a one-car garage, the afore mentioned deck, it is a short walk to the Winn Brook Elementary, Joey’s Park, municipal tennis courts, public transportation, Belmont Center and all major routes out of town.

Price: $649,000.

Listed by Barbara Nolan of Coldwell Banker, 617-901-6900

Belmont House of the Week: 37 Franklin St.

A friend of mine once complained that newly-constructed homes have expanded in size to where “you need a pair of roller skates to get from the bedroom to the bath.”

“What has happened to a cozy house?” she pondered.

For those of a similar mind, then seek out residential structures built during and immediately after the Depression of the 1930s. Attempting to keep building costs down, homes were built with necessity in mind, rather than the conspicuous consumption of “The Roaring ’20”: “[L]arge homes were built in the 1930′s, but they were less ornate and less concerned with the type of aesthetics common during the Victorian era” according to the website House Crazy. Livable space was at a premium with every inch used with the modern concept of personal space limited to closing the bedroom door.

If you’re looking for cozy, the white house for sale on Franklin Street should be considered. The 1937 Colonial has ten rooms in approximately 1,900 sq.-ft. located on a fifth of an acre. The house has a front-to-back living room with fireplace, wainscoting, crown molding and French doors. There is a grand-screened porch with kitchen and dining room access for outdoor entertaining three-quarters of the year. The dining room has chair rails, and lead glass beveled windows over-looking the screened porch. The kitchen has plenty of storage and room for a table and chairs. There is an electric stove, but the is a gas connection. A study, just off the living room, can also be used as a play room or office. The second floor has four to five bedrooms, one currently being used as a library, all having polished hardwood floors and new windows and the space provides lots of options to keep as-is or reconfigure for an additional bath and/or laundry. The property also has a garage and walk-up attic as well.

Price: $799,000

Listed by: Century 21 Adams KC, Anne Mahon