For a closer look at the house, launch the photo gallery »
List Price: $899,900
The Property: In 1966, a couple named Smith built their homage to the White House—only they used imported blue Italian brick. The home has long been a landmark in Chatham, known for its Georgian porch and pillars, its bright blue walls, and its size: the place is about 7,900 square feet, compared to about 1,000 to 1,200 feet for the smaller brick residences that surround it.
By 2003, both the Smiths had died (I can’t determine their first names), and an heir was living in the seriously declining home. Shaunda Brown, who had grown up nearby and remembered admiring the blue house as a girl, bought the place with her then-husband and undertook a thorough renovation of the interior. Her “before” photos show ceilings and walls falling apart and a decrepit kitchen.
Brown redid the entire interior, and it now exudes a wood-toned warmth that begins at the paneled wainscoting in the foyer and extends through the spacious kitchen and the two-story living room. The home’s onetime ballroom has been converted into a gigantic second-floor master bedroom, while a former smoking room (off the living room) is now a very large family room/media room. Other spaces are big, too: there is a huge breakfast room next to the kitchen, and one of the children’s second-floor bedrooms was once the master bedroom, with its own bath. In all, there are four bedrooms (two are much smaller than the ones I’ve mentioned), as well as an office.
The home also relates to its large yard better than it used to: Brown added large decks off the breakfast room and the living room. There is a four-car garage below the house.
As you will see in the video, Brown, who did all the design, used a palette of browns and honeys and highly polished wood throughout the interior. One color you won’t find anywhere inside: blue. “There’s enough of that outside,” Brown says with a chuckle.
Price Points: Brown first put the house on the market in September, asking $1 million. She says her present asking price is about equal to her total investment in it—she and her then-husband paid $515,000 for the home in 2003 and put approximately $400,000 into rehabbing it. The smaller homes in the neighborhood generally run from the upper $100,000s to the lower $200,000s, and larger custom homes generally top out in the lower $400,000s. “I know what I’m dealing with,” Brown says. “Most people looking in this price range aren’t looking in this neighborhood.” There’s always the draw of living half a block from former U.S. senator Roland Burris, whose house once belonged to the gospel-music great Mahalia Jackson.
Listing Agent: Shaunda Brown of Bradley Myles Realty; 773-570-4171