On the hunt for open houses in Beverly yesterday, I came across this sign, on what appeared to be a kids’ treehouse:
It took me a few minutes to realize that an actual house – for grownups, with three bedrooms and a real kitchen – was behind it. Unlike the mostly brick houses that front the stretch of South Oakley Avenue near 105th Street, this Victorian sits at the back of a long, rectangular yard, behind the treehouse, a brick patio and a substantial swing-set.
I’ll confess a preference for creaky old Victorians; I grew up in one. This house, 10557 S Oakley Ave, besotted me with its vintage charm, evident in the corner hutch in the dining room, the narrow, parlor-like living room and oak window and baseboard trim. I liked a few of the more recent touches as well: the kitchen has new-looking wooden cabinets and a red sink.
The owners, Katrina Pavlik and Jeff Pinzino, who are selling the house themselves, told me it was more than a century old and probably a farmhouse, since it appeared to have been built before the alley existed. They told me a former owner in the ’80s rescued it from a state of advanced ruin (a tree was growing indoors, they’d heard) and rehabbed it, adding a basement. The carpeted basement fit a couch, a TV, a fireplace, a washer and dryer, and a couple of groaning bookshelves.
There were three little bedrooms upstairs (I didn’t measure them, but two looked as if they would only fit twin beds). In the bathroom, the tub was wedged in so tightly that getting in and out of the room looked like it would require a bit of choreography. Not everyone will find that charming, especially since that’s the only bathroom with a tub and shower, but it fit my rustic, Anne of Green Gables fantasies somehow.
Of course, however pastoral Beverly’s tree-lined streets might seem, its still part of the city, where prices can be steep. The $375,000 price tag for this house didn’t seem exhorbitant to me, especially since at first glance it didn’t appear to need much work. I might nix the hunter green paint in the kitchen, but that’s a couple of hundred bucks at most.
Overall, I’m in love – but again, I’ve got some sentimental attachments. If you’d like to take a look for yourselves you can reach the owners at 773-233-8925 (there’s no Web site for the property).