Sold in Belmont: Back on the Market 51 Years Later; No Granite in this Kitchen

Photo: A unique home just off School Street. 

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes”:

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 12.24.37 PM

• 12 Oakley Rd., Unit 4, Townhouse (2011). Sold: $850,000. Listed at $875,000. Living area: 2,810 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 60 days.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 12.34.28 PM

• 58 Foster Rd., First-floor condo (1925). Sold: $500,000. Listed at $485,000. Living area: 1,222 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 40 days.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 12.58.03 PM

• 211 Marsh St., Expanded Colonial (1934). Sold: $1,600,000. Listed at $1,685,000. Living area: 3,065 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 124 days.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.11.28 PM

• 79 Douglas Rd., Brick/frame (vinyl siding) Colonial with Dutch Colonial elements (1932). Sold: $900,000. Listed at $849,000. Living area: 2,080 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 102 days.

Back on the market after 51 years! The Douglas Road Colonial/Dutch elements – it’s that funky street located off Louise and Watson (why does Watson remain a one-way street?) in the hill country behind the Burbank School – looks bigger than its 2,000 square feet two-story/basement footprint. Bought for $36,000 in November 1965 (the day before Ben Stiller was born), the structure’s interior features have been preserved, from the built-in cabinet in the living room, the French door leading into the 21’x14′ living room with its dark brown ceiling beams, and the nice touch of paired 6 over 6 rectangular windows in the kitchen. Hinting at its age is that the garage is located in the back of the house, before the importance of the car when it was built. It is oil/forced hot water heating which shows its age, the kitchen needs a complete overhaul and the bathrooms are too small to be called quaint. But the overall condition from the town is B plus which is a testament for homes owned for half a century by the same family. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.29.01 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.29.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.29.29 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.30.21 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.31.13 PM

I knew I liked the condo on Foster Road (located to the south of Grove Street Playground): the original wood window trim and ceiling casing, the subtle bathroom renovation (in my favorite white) and storage space. But look in the kitchen. NO GRANITE COUNTERTOPS! Placed above the counter top the former owner installed Caesarstone, which is 93 percent quartz (the other quartz countertop is  Silestone) and has a better price comparison than the old-fashion granite tops. I was going to say that this house was a steal at $500,000 even before I discovered the Caesarstone, now I love it!

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 2.08.57 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 2.08.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.26.37 PM

Why, in the rare case, do some brokers want the address of the house they’re selling hidden from the public? That was the case of 211 Marsh St. While the address was not given, the photo of the house gave it away – how many aqua blue/green houses are there on Belmont Hill? Was the reason the address was omitted had anything to do with the seller’s broker being the home owner? The broker and the name on the revocable trust have the same name. Maybe, maybe not. Next time, don’t add a photograph.

Sold in Belmont: Somerset Street’s Shooting Star Flares Out

Photo: The drone view of 240 Somerset. 

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.13.17 PM

240 Somerset St. Failed modern residence (2010). Sold: $2,300,000.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.33.04 PM

17 Hammond Rd. Side-entry Colonial (1925). Sold: $930,000.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.37.26 PM

97 Channing Rd. Side-entry Colonial (1935). Sold: $654,500.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.45.41 PM

39 Sharpe Rd. Split-level Ranch (1955). Sold: $800,000.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 5.04.13 PM

6 Stella Rd. Brick and shingle Tudor (1931). Sold: $1,000,000.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.55.00 PM

65 Bow Rd. Garrison Colonial (1932). Sold: $1,154,000.


A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

240 Somerset St. Failed modern residence (2010). Sold: $2,300,000. Listed at $3,450,000. Living area: 4,166 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths. On the market: A year-and-a-half.

17 Hammond Rd. Side-entry Colonial (1925). Sold: $930,000. Listed at $999,000. Living area: 2,481 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 82 days. 

97 Channing Rd. Side-entry Colonial (1935). Sold: $654,500. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 2,481 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

6 Stella Rd. Brick and shingle Tudor  (1931). Sold: $1,000,000. Listed at $1,095,000. Living area: 2,560 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 105 days.

39 Sharpe Rd. Split-level Ranch (1955). Sold: $800,000. Listed at $799,000. Living area: 1,485 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

65 Bow Rd. Garrison Colonial (1932). Sold: $1,154,000. Listed at $1,125,000. Living area: 2,732 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 57 days.

Do you smell smoke on Somerset Street? Oh, don’t worry, it’s only the owners’ hoped for sales price for an ever-so-hip manse that crashed and burned around them. The mansion that was described as “look[ing] like a space capsule” fell more than $1 million short of its original list price after taking nearly a year-and-a-half to find its actual value. 

So how did a house designed by a signature Boston architect and built on Belmont Hill across the street from the Habitat – that itself cost seven figures to purchase – take such a dive, falling from an asking $3.45 million to sell at the bargain of $2.3 million? Well, how about a little history.

Before 2005, there was a modest house owned by the artist Elizabeth Archer on an acre-and-a-half at the tip-top of Somerset Street. Looking at the site and calculating all the money he could make developing the site, developer Ed Fay of Belmont Builders Trust gave Archer an offer she could not refuse: $2,250,000 for everything, building and land. No fool, Liz took the money and Fay kept the property in his back pocket looking to sell the property for a quick profit down the road.

But Fay waited a bit too long as the real estate market for upscale homes softened considerably with the financial meltdown of 2008. By 2009, Fay was only too happy to unload the site for $2.5 million ($1.3 million for 240 Somerset and $1.2 for 250) to a pair of “long-time friends who desired residencies in proximity to each other, and who intend to reside in these new homes with their families.”

The two were Dr. Alexandra Vacroux and Andrea Rutherford, besties since the time they were working finance in the Wild West known as post-Soviet Russia when oligarchs ruled the land and money flowed like Tovaritch vodka in a Moscow nightclub. Since Vacroux was at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian & Eurasian Studies and Rutherford was attending THE Law School, why not plop down a little over a million each and the pair can be a real life Rhoda Morgenstern and Mary Taylor Moore.

While Vacroux, at 250 Somerset St., went with a more traditional semi-Colonial/Farm House design (which, in itself, is quite interesting and aesthetically pleasing), Rutherford and her husband, former Wall Street Journal journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize winner David McClintick, decided to build with a concept in mind; the heavens and the road home. As a rock album in which all the songs relate back to a central story (re The Who’s “Quadrophenia”), this house’s narrative would be the North Star.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.33.34 PM

250 Somerset St.

And talk over the top: dubbed the “Polaris House,” the 4,000 sq.-ft.-plus abode was designed by Boston architect Robert Augustine (you can see another of Augustine’s designs – and wonderful success – on the Cambridge-side of Grove Street at 219 Grove) is a modern-day manse representing “New American Architecture” in three parts, a pair of stubby wings centered by a zinc-clad silo. You open the front door and just hope a cascade of corn doesn’t bury you. To get to the living quarters, you need to hike up a not-so-special metal circular stairway up into the circular room with the 19-foot high ceiling. Getting dizzy?

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 9.07.56 AM

Robert Augustine’s-designed house at 219 Grove Street in Cambridge.

Upstairs, one bedroom has the North Star skylight, there are large windows that overlook the Habitat and a kitchen finished in “a burnt orange, metallic, automobile-quality paint.” To each, their own.

The couple spent about $2 million building the home, completed in 2011. All totaled, think at least $3.5 million for the land, construction and landscaping the one-acre.

But it didn’t appear living in the ‘burbs – where your closest neighbors is the stray pack of Eastern wolf-coyote hybrids – in a big ol‘ house where you had to descend Somerset St. (last paved in the middle of the last century) to get to Belmont’s single renowned restaurant made it for the couple. Like the reverse of Green Acres:

Darling, I love you,

But give me Park Avenue!

Which for the couple, it was decamping to Andover (Belmont North, with better roads). 

So, what to do with Polaris? And here’s the issue for any salesperson: when it comes to custom homes: one couple’s concept and vision are a potential buyer’s deal buster. Whenever the term “eccentric” and “quirky” are used describing a house, you’ve got your work cut out for you.  

Just take a look at the big feature: the skylight aligned with Polaris. It’s all well and good that you can peer out to see the North Star, but unless you’re an astrophysicist, after the first dozen times most people could care less as it’s covered with three feet of snow and ice for four months of the year. For the select number of buyers who are looking for a multi-million home on a road that resembles a cow path in the Swiss Alps, you want some practical features along with the unique. And how many times did the salesperson hear, “How much is it going to cost to have some beautiful wooden cabinets put in the kitchen? We’re not into auto parts.”

Not that the seller didn’t pull all the stops, going so far as getting Boston Magazine – the Hub’s version of Tatler for the smart set – to run an ad/article last year.

But nothing seemed to help. And the fall was brutal: It went on the market on Memorial Day weekend in 2014 and sold a week before Thanksgiving, 2015. It must have felt like being in a meat grinder. 

May 27, 2014: $3,450,000

Oct. 7, 2014: $2,950,000

May 5, 2015: $3,200,000

July 13, 2015: $2,950,000

July 17, 2015: $2,795,000

Aug. 12, 2015: $2,650,000

Sept. 15, 2015: $2,699,000

Oct. 19, 2015: $2,599,000

Nov. 18, 2015: $2,300,000 and sold.

Minus original costs, commissions, taxes and other expenses, the former owners took a bath of more than a $1 million on their trip to Polaris. 

In a funny way, the problem with the house was location, location, location. Polaris would be a big hit in Palo Alto or Mercer Island, where some 30-something app millionaire would find it cool to put his “man cave” in the skylight room and have the North Star shine in as he plays “Fallout 4,” and not so much the staid mutual fund exec or medical insurance senior VP who are seeking a three SUV garage and hates the idea of walking up all those steps, despite the celestial view. 

Sold in Belmont: Multi-families Setting the Sales Pace as Year Nears Close

Photo: 707 Pleasant Street.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.30.27 AM

50 Bartlett Ave. Condominium (1927). Sold: $448,000.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.33.15 AM

31-33 Cushing Ave. Multi-family (1939). Sold: $900,000.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.37.48 AM

707 Pleasant St. Unique Colonial (1926). Sold: $800,000.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.58.22 AM

5-7 Pearl St. Multi-family (1900). Sold: $770,000.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

50 Bartlett Ave. Condominium (1927). Sold: $448,000. Listed at $425,000. Living area: 1,140 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 65 days.

31-33 Cushing Ave. Multi-family (1939). Sold: $900,000. Listed at $785,000. Living area: 2,728 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 57 days.

707 Pleasant St. Unique Colonial (1926). Sold: $800,000. Listed at $899,000. Living area: 1,551 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 110 days.

5-7 Pearl St. Multi-family (1900). Sold: $770,000. Listed at $799,000. Living area: 2,441 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 113 days.

Sold in Belmont: Cross Street Antebellum Colonial No Longer on Ice

Photo: A great example of worker’s housing in Belmont in the mid-19th century. 

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 2.09.37 AM

16 Leslie Rd. #2. Walk-up condominium (1925). Sold: $501,000.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 2.14.28 AM

332 Cross St. Mansard-style Colonial (1860). Sold: $641,000.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

16 Leslie Rd. #2. Walk-up condominium (1925). Sold: $501,000. Listed at $425,000. Living area: 1,185 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 56 days

• 332 Cross St. Mansard-style Colonial (1860). Sold: $641,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 1,462 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 101 days

The tiny antebellum “old-style” Colonial on Cross Street is a gem of a house (once you get by the 1950’s brick and iron stoop) that is one of few remaining examples of seasonal housing built for the ice and brick workers that populated the area from the 1840s to the 1870s. The architecture and the building construction are basic and one of the reasons many of these dwellings were pulled down when the land was turned into subdivisions. 

But this “laborer’s cottage” with the mansard roof, which could have been added later to increase the space to its second story, survived in fairly good shape. There are even the remnants of the original “front parlor.” Not on the same historic level as the grand houses on Pleasant or Somerset, but a great example how the average worker lived as Belmont grew. 

Sold in Belmont: The Beauty of the Two-Family

Photo: A two-family on Gilbert.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.45.01 AM

18 Trowbridge St. (1929). Sold: $525,000.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.52.57 AM

31 Gilbert Rd. 5+5 Two family (1925). Sold: $868,000.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

18 Trowbridge St. “Old Style” house (1929). Sold: $525,000. Listed at $669,000. Living area: 1,700 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 98 days

31 Gilbert Rd. 5+5 Two family (1925). Sold: $868,000. Listed at $830,000. Living area: 2,600 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 87 days.

There are many beautiful homes in Belmont (and some that are downright ghastly) that are made up of many styles and design features: Victorians, Classic Colonials, Tudors, Arts and Craft and, in some incidences, modern construction.

One which I love for both its aesthetics and functionality is the early 20th-century two-family. Built to accommodate the rapidly growing population in town from the late-1890s to about 1930, they were constructed simply on single-family lots; but they were built solid with good workmanship and material. Many are in great shape today without significant repairs or reconstruction required. Nothing flashy but they now hold its own stylistically with other notable designs in town.

In addition, it allows many potential home buyers with modest income – teachers, middle managers, public safety personnel – who just can not breach the $845,000 medium price barrier for a single-family house, allowing them a way to reside in the Town of Homes.

When the Planning Board gets around to reviewing and rewriting the zoning code for much of the town’s residential neighborhoods, it should consider favoring the construction of two familys.

Sold in Belmont: ‘Tired’ Homes on the Hill Sell Below List

Photo: 60 Stony Brook on Belmont Hill. 

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

48 Summit Rd. Townhouse condominium (2005). Sold: $1,345,000. Listed at $1,375,000. Living area: 2,520 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 84 days.

19 Thayer Rd. Condominum (1958). Sold: $263,750. Listed at $259,000. Living area: 625 sq.-ft. 4 rooms, 1 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 42 days.

89 Bay State Rd. Colonial (1928). Sold: $1,050,000. Listed at $1,050,000. Living area: 2,616 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 70 days.

60 Stony Brook. Custom-design/ranch (1959). Sold: $1,100,000. Listed at $1,400,000. Living area: 2,616 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 161 days.

112 Winter St. Renovated (1946/2001). Sold: $895,000. Listed at $929,000. Living area: 3,100 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 78 days.

58 Crestview Rd. Ranch (1959). Sold: $1,025,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,816 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths. On the market: 70 days.

If you’ve lived in Belmont for any amount of time, you know that not every house on Belmont Hill is a brick manse with sculptured gardens with a view of Boston. Yes, they are pricey but many are beginning to show their age especially in their design and style.

Likely the custom-built house on Stony Brook Road was a humdinger of a residency when it was constructed half a century ago. Just how trendy was it to have a two-car garage projecting out from the Colonial-style split ranch with a brick wing jutting from the side. Not like those boring Colonials! Well, while those “boring” Colonial are much sought after, this mish-mash of styles looks and feels old. The interior is cramped with little in ways of options to use the available 2,600 square feet. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the structure’s asking price fell by $300,000 before selling at $1.1 million. 

The same could be said for the ranch on Crestview (in the shadow of the Boston Temple), and the terrible retro build structure on Winter, each selling below their list. Sometimes “location” can’t help a tired old building sell for what their owners think. Sorry to say but these homes would be suitable candidates for demolition with a new building on the foundation. 

Sold in Belmont: Mid-Level Homes Also Being Snatched Up

Photo: 52 Thomas St.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

67-69 Beech St. Two-family (1910). Sold: $678,000. Listed at $649,000. Living area: 2,454 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 70 days.

253 Payson Rd. Colonial (1940). Sold: $960,000. Listed at $906,000. Living area: 2,166 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 64 days.

25 Drew Rd.,#2, Condominium (1924). Sold: $480,000. Listed at $395,000. Living area: 1,124 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 63 days.

25 Drew Rd.,#1, Condominium (1924). Sold: $425,000. Listed at $400,000. Living area: 950 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 63 days.

46-48 Benjamin Rd. Multi-family (1924). Sold: $950,000. Listed at $899,000. Living area: 2,860 sq.-ft. 13 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 70 days.

21 Barnard Rd. #1, Condominium (1924). Sold: $470,000. Listed at $429,000. Living area: 1,265 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 70 days.

52 Thomas St. Antique early-Colonial (1870). Sold: $764,100. Listed at $749,000. Living area: 2,242 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

Sold in Belmont: Historic Walter Pierce Modern Abode Tops $1.2 Million

Photo: Walter Pierce-designed house on upper Concord Avenue.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

39 Payson Rd. #2, Condominium (1923). Sold: $525,000. Listed at $ 459,900. Living area: 1,288 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 50 day.

18 Brookside Ave. Colonial (1935). Sold: $865,000. Listed at $749,000. Living area: 2,000 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

661 Concord Ave., Walter Pierce-designed modern (1961). Sold: $1,250,000. Listed at $1,195,000. Living area: 2,660 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bath. On the market: 78 day.

117 Beech St., Multi-family (1915). Sold: $640,000. Listed at $619,900. Living area: 3,825 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 28 days.

25 Elm St., Colonial (1923). Sold: $820,000. Listed at $ 799,000. Living area: 1,930 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 77 day.

6 Prentiss Ln. Colonial (1932). Sold: $1,170,000. Listed at $1,295,000. Living area: 3,093 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 120 days.

37 South Cottage Rd, #93, Townhouse condominium (2011). Sold: $1,325,000. Listed at $1,395,000. Living area: 2,994 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath. On the market: 154 day.

12 Franklin St., Colonial (1924). Sold: $815,000. Listed at $849,000. Living area: 1,648 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 73 days.

10-12 Upland Rd. #10, Condominium (1925). Sold: $444,000. Listed at $439,900. Living area: 944 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. On the market: 71 day.

14 Dundonald Rd. Ranch (1951). Sold: $1,180,000. Listed at $1,095,000. Living area: 2,374 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 70 days.

32 Foster Rd. #2, Condominium (1927). Sold: $457,500. Listed at $ 469,900. Living area: 1,268 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. On the market: 70 day.

54-56 Sycamore St., Two-family (1925). Sold: $752,000. Listed at $729,000. Living area: 2,600 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 135 days.

Changes to the original design have taken place – the kitchen was enlarged in 1998 and the windows replaced in 2000 – and the house is not the “spare but stylish split-level” he is famous for (located in Peacock Farms in Lexington), but the sublime modernist residence at 661 Concord Ave. designed by Walter Pierce is a house of historic architectural merit.

While some may lump Pierce with another young post-war architect Carl Koch – the architect/builder of Belmont’s Snake Hill Road development (do yourself a favor and take a walk up Snake Hill Road off Pleasant Street to view this impressive experiment in suburban housing) – they were from two distinct school’s; Pierce is from MIT’s “American” version of modern architecture with its Scandinavian influences of emphasizing the space in and outside the building.

You can see (actually it’s hard to see from the road with non-native evergreens and an ugly fence out front) Pierce’s deft touch – a great profile of the Lexington resident is in his obituary – in the upper Concord Avenue house near Day School Lane.

The house is, in fact, a triple, split level (which in less-trained builder’s hands became a tired stereotype by the late 60s, the home of Mike and Carol Brady’s bunch) with a towering facade that slopes towards the back yard. Designing with the land in mind, the building has a narrow front (going from 17 feet at the entry to 28 feet in the back) with a substantial length, about 50 feet. Open the front door and up you go to the bedrooms; down to the family room, kitchen and dining room, the “basement” level is the open family space that leads to the patio and impressive backyard that is next to Habitat land.

While the interior space might be a distraction to modern homebuyers who want space over function – the dining room is a tight spot, and the kitchen is functional, not grandiose – the house works due to Pierce’s use space; it’s just so open and airy (can you say Sweden?) without interior walls. It’s impressive to have all that weight carried by the walls yet have nice sized windows to add natural light and a view of the landscaped yard. Modern touches include lack of detail – I love the mid-level fireplace – and stuff. What? No center island in the kitchen with indoor grill and install wok? It’s not a masterpiece or a trendsetter, but a solid design that any architect would love to have in their portfolio.

Surprisingly, the Pierce house – so thoughtfully created by a master architect – sits next to one of the worst-designed homes in town, both built within a year of each other. Go figure.

Besides having one of the best names in Belmont – a wee bit of the Highlands in dear ol‘ New England – and being a rare dead-end in town, Dundonald Road is one street on “the Hill” that has kept its modest homes intact. But that might be coming to an end; do you really spend $1 million plus for a 60 year old ranch without envisioning a demolition permit in your hand? 

Sold in Belmont: A Housing Solution on the Beech, A Premium in Bricks

Photo: 101 Beech St. 

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes.”

9 Audrey Rd., Brick ranch (1954). Sold: $810,000. Listed at $ 775,000. Living area: 1,483 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 77 day.

29 Stults Rd. Brick Tudor (1924). Sold: $1,135,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,514 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths. On the market: 63 days.

43 Hillcrest Rd., Georgian Brick Colonial (1925). Sold: $2,225,000. Listed at $1,980,000. Living area: 4,564 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 49 days.

101 Beech St., #2, Condominium in a six-unit, self managed building (1911). Sold: $420,000. Listed at $449,900 (reduced to $424,900). Living area: 1,007 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 64 days.

27 Winthrop Rd. Colonial (1928). Sold: $1,115,000. Listed at $1,125,000. Living area: 2,211 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

11 Broad St., Late Split-level ranch (1964). Sold: $820,000. Listed at $749,000. Living area: 2,000 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath. On the market: 63 day.

29 Worcester St., #2, Condominium in two family (1916). Sold: $565,000. Listed at $539,900. Living area: 1,532 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 78 days.

5 Simmons Ave., “Old Style” Brick Storybook (1937). Sold: $945,000. Listed at $960,000. Living area: 2,589 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 63 days.

One of the major reasons the medium home price in Belmont will likely reach $900,000 by the end of 2015 is the lack of new housing supply that could satisfy the demand of people seeking to live in town. So far, with the exception of the two major projects in Belmont’s future – Cushing Village and the Belmont Uplands with approximately 414 apartment-style homes to be in the supply chain by 2020 – most new construction is oversized with an appeal towards wealthy clients.

But a recent sale in a location one called “Central Square” – the intersection of Trapelo Road and Beech Street – could be a great example of solving the sacristy of moderate-priced homes. 101 Beech and its twin next door at 105 are six-unit condominiums – a pair of singles on each floor – that use space wisely with long, narrow rooms with parking hidden in the back. While they appear at first glance to be a pair of triple deckers joined at the hip, they were constructed with the idea of sharing the building as equal units – about 16 percent of the condo is common space. Built 105 years ago, they retain some great exterior features such as the street-facing balcony that’s reminiscent of the three-story buildings lining downtown New Orleans. Photos of the inside  show great architectural detail remaining for a starter home. These buildings will never be more than what they are, the first housing purchase of someone’s life; affordable with enough space to not feel cramped. 

Now just see a long line of these buildings running along Belmont Street, Trapelo Road, near parks, in high traffic areas where young homeowners are drawn. Rather than a high density development such as Cushing Village, this design is far more welcoming for the people you want to reside in Belmont, the young – maybe even hipsters. Just think of Waverley Square with this model along the roadway rather than the squat single-story retail or those stunning horrible townhouses Edward Hovsepian built at the site of the First Congregational Church.

But would residents be willing to change zoning bylaws to allow, as of right, this sort of building to be constructed? That’s the question to be answered.

The split-level ranch at 11 Broad St. should be placed on someone’s list of historic places needing protection. It is a beautiful late, 1964, ranch built as that style house began losing its popularity. While its a bit lacking in height – my 6-foot, one-inch tall son would always be ducking entering rooms with the ceiling so low – the general sweeping layout is of a bygone era. The best feature is the bay window; rounded and huge, it dominates the front of the house.

With most Belmont homes built of wood, you sometimes loss the realization that many wonderful houses on the Hill or in the Presidents neighborhood off Washington Street made of brick. And from the prices they are receiving, it appears buyers are placing a premium on the construction material. 


Sold in Belmont: Million-Dollar Plus Colonials (and a Ranch) Return

Photo: Classic Dutch Colonial at 30 Hurd Rd.  

151-153 Beech St., Triple decker (1905). Sold: $905,500. Listed at $ 899,900. Living area: 3,029 sq.-ft. 14 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 bath. On the market: 31 days.

33 Woodfall Rd., A grand brick ranch (1956). Sold: $1,375,000. Listed at $1,349,000. Living area: 2,623 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 56 days.

38 Cowdin Rd., Traditional Cape (1951). Sold: $771,000. Listed at $715,000. Living area: 1,535 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

23-25 Beech St., Two family (1890). Sold: $720,000. Listed at $ 715,000. Living area: 2,978 sq.-ft. 13 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half bath. On the market: 54 days.

30 Hurd Rd., Classic Dutch Colonial (1928). Sold: $1,200,000. Listed at $1,079,000. Living area: 2,010 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half bath. On the market: 63 days.

61 Spring Valley Rd., Sort of a ranch/colonial hybrid (1957). Sold: $1,460,000. Listed at $1,549,000. Living area: 3,865 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 5 baths. On the market: 122 days.

19 Highland Rd., Brick/frame Dutch Colonial (1921). Sold: $1,350,000. Listed at $1,299,000. Living area: 3,687 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 122 days.

17 Knox St., Nondescript (2004). Sold: $928,500. Listed at $939,000. Living area: 2,323 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 full and two half baths. On the market: 87 days.