5017 Clinton 

Clinton Street is up on the Bench, and runs sporadically from Morris Hill Cemetery to just across Orchard. Failing to ask for specific directions to the house, I know all about this area now—streets that stop and start like that are a pain. The easiest way to get to this house is head down Orchard and turn west on Clinton; the house sits a half-block down. According to the listing agent, this farmhouse was originally located at the corner of Orchard on a couple of acres. Some years ago, the house was moved to its current location and only a quarter-acre remains. The rest of the property has been sold off and developed into commercial and residential uses. Hmmm, farmland being sold for development sounds so familiar.

This was an Internet find and I must admit that from the online photo, I had no idea it was so close to Orchard. The house definitely looks like an old farmhouse: two stories, a gabled roof and deep front porch. Metal siding has been added and it appears some of the original porch posts and floor have been replaced.

The front door opens into a large living room with hardwood floors, creamy yellow walls and white trim. The original windows have been replaced with insulated aluminum units and then trimmed out with wood, which actually looks quite good. There is a closet along one wall (tucked under the stairs) that appears to have been added at some point. Inside you can see an older doorway and original flooring.

The dining area is open to the living room and has a large picture window facing east (to an unsightly carport), the walls shift to a khaki color and a large pendant fixture hangs from the ceiling over the eating area.

The kitchen is huge and has had a face-lift. The original cabinets are still in place, and they extend from the floor to the ceiling (the ceilings are at least 10 feet on the main floor). The cabinet doors have been painted an off-white and the base is a khaki color. New antique bronze finished hardware, faux granite plastic laminate countertops and a tiled backsplash complete the new 'do. The stainless steel appliances are shiny and new and part of the deal.

The one bedroom on the main floor has hardwood floors, plenty of closet and drawer space (all built-in and original) and ample daylight.

The single bath has been remodeled. Faux slate tile has been installed, a new corner vanity unit (the cabinet is probably original but the p-lam top is new) with a nice rectangular porcelain sink and antique bronze finished faucet. Unfortunately, there is no claw-foot tub, but the one that is there looks old ('50s-era perhaps) and has been resurfaced. The tub enclosure is skinned with 12-inch beige tiles, and a large glass block opening brings in natural light.

The utility room sits just off of the kitchen and is plenty big enough to accommodate all sorts of utility-type functions and activities. The abundance of windows is a big plus.

The second floor was my favorite part of the house. Upstairs you really get a sense of the original house with gorgeous Douglas fir floors (blond and red tones) throughout both bedrooms and the hall. The original door, window and base moldings are in place and painted white. The ceilings follow the slope of the roof, but do not minimize the use of the rooms. The closets are relatively small but come with the original door and hardware.

The listing agent said the previous owners (the house remained in one family up until some months ago) used to sell Christmas trees from the front porch when the house was up on the corner of Orchard. That must have been quite an event. The yard (front and back) does have a nice mix of trees, shrubs and grass. The covered breezeway between the garage and house extends back to a deck area. The garage is built for two autos with a small storage/shop area.

PROS: The location provides easy and quick access to shopping, the connector (if you must) and downtown. The modifications and remodel that have taken place over the years have not destroyed the historical integrity of the house. I would reconsider the bathroom and utility flooring and try and find some old doors to replace the flush panel doors on the lower level. The price is also a pro, 200K for 2,000 sq. ft. There are not too many of those around.

CONS: Some people might have a hard time with the location. It could get a little noisy being so close to Orchard, but Clinton Street is actually a dead end, so at least traffic should be at a minimum. The closet in the living room is awkward. Functionally it works as a closet and to conceal some hideous ductwork, but the location and door are less than ideal. This house is the oldest thing on the block and looks lost within its context, which is unfortunate because it is such a great house.

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