Built in 1924 for Elizabeth Oviatt, this charming residence is one of seven houses on Pelham Road in Brighton designed by architect Ward Wellington Ward. The house is typical of many Ward dwellings in its English styling and Arts & Crafts detailing. According to Ward, the ideal house was the small house or the house made to look small by various design illusions. Here, on the façade, he used many of his favorite techniques, including the low-hanging slate roof with overhanging eaves, a massive chimney, and a stucco surface to give this house – which is actually quite large, at 3,455 square feet – its cozy appeal.
Stepping into the projecting entrance foyer is like entering a little English cottage. The handsome stained glass on the front door actually replaced a plain, frosted glass panel and is the work of a local artist. The glazed ceramic tile floor is typical of Ward houses and probably came from the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, founded by Henry Mercer, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Moravian tiles were a favorite of many Craftsman architects, but Ward was Mercer’s biggest customer, using the tiles in most of his houses. Note, too, the four small windows with their geometric leaded-glass panes.
The spacious living room further exemplifies Ward’s craftsmanship. This room is bathed in light from the groups of leaded-glass casement windows, of which there are a total of 72 in the house. The ceiling beams, wall pilasters, carved mantel, and overmantel paneling are made of bleached walnut. The carved stone fireplace surround exemplifies Ward’s preference for natural materials. The tiled former sun porch, now enclosed, looks out over a stone terrace to the garden. Leaded-glass French doors open into the dining room. A former owner added the fireplace arrangement in what had been a recessed area. Off the pantry is a delightful surprise: an octagonal breakfast room with built-in corner cupboards.
On the second floor, there are four bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The master suite has been modernized to create a very private and restful retreat, featuring a Jacuzzi whirlpool with skylight and a separate marble shower. An unusual feature is the glass sink, imported from Germany and housed in an early-20th century washstand.
The house offers many other amenities, including a security system, a cedar closet, a full basement with a powder room, and a four-car garage with walkup attic space. The owner has also just added central air-conditioning, just in time for this hot summer.
Ward liked his houses to be equally attractive from all sides, and here, the rear elevation features multiple gables, extensive half-timbering, and high roof lines. The back yard features a charming Japanese garden, a stone courtyard, and many specimen trees and shrubs.
This house is offered at $499,000, with taxes of $14,238. For more information or to see this spectacular house for yourself, call Sheila Weinberger at RealtyUSA.com/Rick Leasure Division at 381-4400.
By Ann Parks and Katie Eggers Comeau
Ann Parks is the former deputy director and Katie Comeau is the preservation advisor at the Landmark Society of Western New York.