One of my favorite features in the magazine “The Week” is a roundup of what houses are selling for around the country. It’s amazing what $400,000 will buy in Knoxville, Tennessee—and what it won’t buy in San Francisco.
For this summer installment of our blog, we present our own real estate roundup, Preservation Winter Park-style. Even in 32789, one of Central Florida’s most expensive zip codes, there’s something for just about every price range in the historic home market. Here’s what we found when looking for historic authenticity and quality in our fair city:
Price Range: <$200K
Did you know you could afford a Park Avenue condo for under $200K? Not only that, but one in a totally hip Art Moderne building that will make you want to mix up a Manhattan and put Dean Martin on the Hi-Fi. The Park Aire, the nifty pink building next door to Casa Feliz, was built in 1956 as Winter Park’s first co-op. “Completely air conditioned!” crowed the ad in the Winter Park Herald. Flash forward to 2014, this $188,500 condo is perfect for the empty nester who wants to downsize and simplify, or the snowbird looking for a stylish pied-a-terre. Yeah, at only 539 sq. feet, it’s tiny, but the time you’ll save cleaning house you can spend shopping or dining on Park Avenue, or playing golf on the Winter Park municipal course, right outside your doorstep.
Price Range: <$500K
You’ve probably driven past this cute bungalow on Holt Avenue in the College Quarter, and not paid that much attention. I almost didn’t include it here because I think the price is high ($469,000) for a small house on a busy street. And although the real estate listing says the house is 1,600 sq. ft., it seems smaller in person. All that said, though, this house exudes historic charm from every pore, and it’s right smack dab in the middle of the action in downtown Winter Park. Yes, it’s been updated, but impeccably, and very much in keeping with the era of the house; the kitchen is gorgeous, and the master bath put my charm-meter on the fritz. The wood floors and plaster walls are original and pristine. After all, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and real estate’s 3 Ls in spades, how much more could you want for under $500K?
Price Range: <$700K
A few years back, our Colloquium featured the design/build team of Sorenson & Fletcher, who provided high-quality, affordable housing for Winter Park’s expanding baby boomer population. And while this $629,000 S & F house in Winter Park’s “tree streets” isn’t cheap, it’s in one of 32789’s top school districts and you can bike to Park Avenue. What’s more, the house has been tastefully updated through the years to meet today’s lifestyle needs while retaining its Bauhaus flavor. Too many of these gems have been bulldozed to make way for McMansions with zero design integrity. If you think midcentury architecture should look like it was built in the 60s, with its original Terrazzo kitchen floors and mosaic tile fireplace, this house is the real McCoy. Come look inside—
Are you drooling? Me too! Meetcha down at the Beef & Bottle for some Chateaubriand!
Price Range: Cha-ching
But wait—historic home lovers, you have not yet begun to salivate. Come with me a few decades further back, to 1930, when this house was built for the Sinclair Oil Family. It then passed to the Showalter family in the mid 50s. Additions have been made through the years (including, Bob Showalter remembers, a bomb shelter his dad built after the Cuban Missile Crisis), but the new blends effortlessly with the old. Indeed, from its Mexican tile floors to its pecky cypress ceilings, everything about this 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath Spanish style house screams “¡Autenticidad!” (Okay, smart aleck, except for the ginormous master bath with a sinkhole-size soaking tub, but we’ll overlook that concession to modernity). Seriously, you couldn’t build a house with this quality design and craftsmanship, on Lake Osceola no less, for $2.9 million. By that standard, this house is a steal.
We hope you enjoyed our midsummer dream house-hunting. And remember, next time you’re really in the market for a house, type in “1965” in the “Built Before” search box. That’s where you’ll find the good stuff.