2765 Fairmount Boulevard (1993)


The rough-hewn timbering in this Tudor house curves upwards two full stories and is finished off with rounded wooden pegs, which produce an early medieval effect. The front facade is dominated by a prominent cross gable. Built by Meade & Hamilton in 1920, the house was home to one family for forty-seven years. It then became the Manse, or parish house, of the adjacent Fairmount Presbyterian Church. One of the original family members noted recently that the house and neighborhood looked very much as they had when he was growing up.


The spacious interior is well suited to the house's present purpose. In addition to serving as home to the pastor and his wife, who is also an ordained minister, it is used for spiritual retreats and can accommodate groups up to thirty for meeting and eating, and eighteen for sleeping. The third floor, once a ballroom, is now a dormitory with a small chapel built into a former walk-in closet. The house has been almost completely redecorated in the last two years, largely by a corps of church volunteers who did all of the painting, wallpapering, and plastering.


The first floor woodwork is notable for its very plain, almost craftsman lines. The hallway that leads past the music room to the living room has two unusual features: an elegant curved ceiling with molded plaster "beams," and a highly practical baseboard light switch for the wall sconces, which can thus be turned on or off with a touch of the toe.


Upstairs, bentwood doors leading into two bedrooms at the end of the hall come as a surprise and a delight. Four of the rooms on this floor are furnished around specific cultural themes. In the African room, for example, there are wall baskets from Botswana, masks from Ghana and Kenya, and a flour-sifting basket called a Lul. Prints by aborigines in the Australian room include one of "God, Moses and the Ten Commandments."


At several places in the house the original line of demarcation between the family quarters and those of the servants is still clearly visible. On one side of certain doors, the knob is crystal and the woodwork stained; on the other side, the doorknob is porcelain and the woodwork painted.


In the yard much of the original planting remains, but the flower garden in the back is new.