The house at 137 Maple Ave. was built for comfortable country living 137 years ago.
Today, the 4,100-square-foot house has a family-friendly layout: spacious, sun-splashed rooms and nostalgic Victorian features such as a 10-foot ceilings, a first- floor library with built-in bookcases and window seats, and a sunny bay window in the dining room with indoor window boxes once used to grow orchids.
The dining room boasts a wall-sized mural, hand-painted off site and installed during the current owner’s makeover. It depicts a delicate network of twigs and flowers, with background to match the walls’ cool color. More window boxes adorn big windows in an upstairs bathroom, stylishly updated with glass mosaic tiles and simple, elegant fixtures.
Built in 1872 as a sprawling, three-story structure, the top level was removed in the 1950s. The façade is colonial now, and looks as if born that way, with a hip roof, stately brick chimneys (the house has eight fireplaces) and tall, multipaned (nine-over-nine) windows.
On the kitchen-wing side, a second-story “sleeping porch” was screened-in when they bought it, owner Wendy Ames said, but now it’s open-air. Access is through a door-sized window.
The double front door with a fan-lit transom was open –there’s a double screen door inside — one recent morning when a visitor arrived early. The interior looked enticing, but the short wait was pleasantly spent moseying outside the house, which is surrounded by a variety of trees and flowers that had been catalogued by a former owner with a propensity for horticulture.
The rest of the time was spent perched in an Adirondack chair, enjoying a slice of idyllic summer morning on a pastoral hilltop, overlooking open fields.
The long, uphill driveway is lined with huge old maples. It circles by both entrances like a 19th-century carriage drive, past the house and back down the hill.
Built in 1872 for Isabelle King Shattuck and her two sons, George and Joseph, the property stayed in the family for six generations, passing to Shattuck descendants until the Hayes family sold it to the current owners in 2005.
Set on 5.33 acres, the original three-story Victorian house had a gabled roof and wrap-around porch, with five bedrooms on the second floor and five on the third. It was a showcase, even then, with double-plastered walls, marble fireplaces in each room, plus central, hot-air heating system, even storm windows. The price tag to build it in 1872 was $5,000.
On an antique desk in the front parlor sits an artifact that Ames said is only on loan and will be returned to the former owners when the house is sold, for only the second time in its 137-year history. Bound like a book, page after page of builder’s specs are meticulously recorded.
At times a summer residence and also year-round, the major renovation that changed the exterior in 1953 also replaced heating, electrical and plumbing systems. Recent renovations include new wallpaper and paint and a new stone entry at the back door.
The property is listed with Village Properties for $859,900. For more information, call Deb Colangelo at 978-618-7653.