#2 - 474 Park Ave SE

Name: Carl Mattison and Rob Smith
Address:  474 Park Ave SE
Bedrooms/Baths: 4bed/2bath
What year was home built:  1905    
Style of home: Queen Anne Victorian
When did you purchase your house: Summer 2009
Carl and Rob began their love affair with historic homes in 2003 when they purchased their first Grant Park project on Ormewood Avenue. Six years after fully restoring the home, they were ready to find their next Grant Park “diamond in the rough,” so in the summer of 2009 they sold their Ormewood home and purchased this 2-story, 5-bedroom Queen Anne Victorian in immaculately original condition (the previous owner had a penchant for historic preservation).
Built in 1905 for Charles Ash, a local furniture manufacturer, this house had the potential to become the home of their dreams. However, Rob and Carl could not even see the home from the street during their first visit due to a literal “front yard forest” and a giant 1930s awning that engulfed half the view of the first floor! Rather, the inside is what really sold them: eleven-foot ceilings, a large foyer, nine-foot pocket doors (converted to swinging doors in the 1920s when the home was converted to a duplex) and a 104-year old staircase. Adding to the allure were seven original mantles and fireplaces, all with original tiles, a beautiful stained glass window in the stairwell, and a deep back-yard with an early-1900s garage.
In the first few months after buying the house, Carl and Rob completed “Phase I” of their makeover by “deforesting” the front yard, removing the awning, and completely repainting the exterior and interior. “Phase II” a few years later included refinishing floors, replacing several lighting fixtures and remodeling a bathroom. But the big finale, “Phase III” completed this past summer, involved the installation of a pool, gutting and renovating the kitchen, removing an enclosed back porch to make way for a new 2-story addition that included an additional bedroom and master bath, converting the 1900s garage to a pool house with a bathroom, and building a new three-car garage and workshop at the back of the property.
During the final phase of renovations, it was determined that the fireplace between the kitchen and dining room needed to go. Although Carl and Rob struggled over that decision for months before work began as they wanted to keep the house in as original form as possible, they realized in the end that it gave them the space and the layout they wanted in their kitchen. Plus, they got to repurpose the 111-year-old bricks from the fireplace in the pool house as a herringbone-patterned floor!