Midtown Meet Modern
Builder carefully restores old house with up-to-date comfort, amenities
By John Wood
Special to the Commercial Appeal
Builder Frank Uhlhorn of Uhlhorn Construction has been doing whole house renovations since the 1970s and he has the process pretty well down pat. Sure, he builds new homes, too, but he loves giving a second life to a quality-built home that just needs revitalizing.
That’s why he’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish in Central Gardens at 1751 Carr where Uhlhorn feels he’s taken a 96-year- old, two-story Midtown residence and made it new again.
“I like to think of it as a brand new home with Midtown charm,” Uhlhorn says about his most recent renovation. “We’ve added so much to this home, that it is nothing like it was when we started the process.”
Uhlhorn has enhanced this “diamond in the rough” by spending in excess of $120,000 to refresh and renovate this home for a new home buyer who likes the features of a modern home but loves the nostalgic setting.
Some of the improvements Uhlhorn has made include the installation of an updated electrical system; a new plumbing system; the refinishing of all hardwood floors and new carpeting to other floors; new ceiling insulation to an effi- ciency level of R-30, and the addition of a new half bathroom downstairs.
And as a highlight of the ren- ovation, he’s converted the master bedroom into a salon bath with the additional of a whirlpool tub, free-standing glass shower, tub enclosure and new tile floors. “I can imagine the new home- owner being partial to this master bedroom that we have brought up to date with the salon bath with its furniture-style, marble-topped vanities and double sinks, separate toilet room and two huge walk-in closets,” Uhlhorn said.
He’s also made improvements to the basement area where the home’s furnace resided for so many years, now replaced by a high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system.
“Taking out that furnace gave so much more room to the basement that we were able to remodel the entire space and turn it into an expandable area for the new home owner,” Uhlhorn explained. “We also turned the old base- ment stairs that gave outside access to the driveway into a modern mud room to make the kids’ ins and outs easier on the moms and dads.”
Other major improvements made by Uhlhorn and company include repainting all interior walls and ceilings, installation of new doors and windows, a complete inspection and sealing of the original first-floor exterior granite walls that add so much character and curb appeal to the home, installation of a new fi re and security system, and a matching and reworking process applied to restore the home’s interior wood trim around the doors and windows to its original appearance.
“I believe we’ve made this home better now than it was originally when it was first built in 1913,” Uhlhorn adds. “It’s truly unique to Memphis.” For more information, contact Keller Williams listing agent Grace Uhlhorn at 870-4640 for directions or to arrange for your own private showing.
Central Gardens’ Carrier Hall gets a loving restoration by Frank Uhlhorn
By Don Wade / firstname.lastname@example.org
THE OWNER and the agent are standing in the big, empty drawing room, a fireplace trimmed with old English oak to their backs, flooring made of quartersawn English oak beneath their feet.
So, no, this isn’t just another listing in the suburbs competing against nearly identical listings where everything but the street address is the same.
This house, built in the 1920s and known as Carrier Hall, is on S. Willett in Central Gardens. The main house comprises 9,000 square feet and more than a few myths and legends.
Bought in March for about $1 million by Frank Uhlhorn of Uhlhorn Construction, the house is now on the market for $1,495,000. Uhlhorn has nearly finished restoring the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Uhlhorn, 56, says he was bidding against a well-known Memphis developer, but got the house for less than he would have paid before the market softened.
“It was up for sale several years ago — real expensive,” Uhlhorn says. “It looked like a castle or a museum.”
David da Ponte, an agent with Sowell & Company, was not involved in Uhlhorn’s purchase of the home and is not involved in his current attempt to sell it, but he calls the home “one of the most spectacular houses in the city.”
And da Ponte says with Memphis boasting the sixth- highest number of historic properties listed on the National Register — about 11,500 buildings — one need not be a millionaire to buy a historic home.
“You can get a nice historic home in Memphis from anywhere from $100,000 to a couple of million,” da Ponte says. “The historic areas of the city are pretty insulated and different from areas that offer the same thing over and over.”
Joey Hagan, a principal with Architecture Incorporated, has worked on the renovation of many historic houses, from cramped bungalows to the Hunt-Phelan home.
“First thing you do is come up with a budget,” Hagan says. “How much do you want to spend? You don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize a house’s place on the National Register by altering or removing any significant features.”
Much thought went into the design and building of Carrier Hall. Robert Carrier moved here from New York and hired Bryant Fleming, a professor of landscape architecture at Cornell, to “find the components needed to build an English Tudor mansion,” Uhlhorn explains as he shows off carvings in the wood around the drawing room fireplace.
“We heard they put the grounds (which are terraced) in first, then the house,” says Debbie Rodda, an agent with Coleman-Etter Fontaine Realtors who handled Uhlhorn’s purchase of the home out of foreclosure and is the listing agent.
Phrases such as “we heard” or “I was told” or “supposedly” are common when Uhlhorn and Rodda talk about the history of Carrier Hall.
Among the legends:
– The basement, which Uhlhorn said “looked like a dungeon” when he bought the place, used to have either a firing range or a bowling alley. What’s certain: It still has a wine cellar.
– When relatives of Elvis lived in the house in the 1960s, they gilded one of the fireplaces.
– Elvis also is said to have had the pool put in for them, and at the time it was believed to be the largest pool (with depths up to 14 feet) at a private home in Memphis.
– “When we bought it, there were all kinds of rumors — that it was termite-infested, that the utility bill was $3,000 a month,” Uhlhorn says. “None of that was true. We researched it, and the highest utility bill was $1,700.”
Uhlhorn has invested much time and money into refurbishing the property. For starters, he overhauled the plumbing and electrical systems, installed new heating and air-conditioning systems and refinished the hardwood floors throughout. He also refurbished the marble and slate floor in the entry hall and cleaned all the limestone in the house.
In addition, the property boasts a 2,500-square-foot guest house/bath house and a tea house with more than 400 square feet. “A terrific man cave,” Uhlhorn said of the pyramid- roofed tea house, which is also home to one of the property’s eight fireplaces.
Selling Carrier Hall, Uhlhorn realizes, might take awhile. “Not because of the market,” he says, “but for the right buyer to find us.”
Uhlhorn and his wife live in a 100-year-old house in Germantown he refurbished. He has renovated other homes and has been down this road before. “My house was in terrible condition, and I considered tearing it down,” he says of his home for the last 13 years. “Once it was restored, it was just like any other house. Once you remove the functional obsolescence, you get all the charm with all the modern conveniences.”
—Don Wade: 529-2358
Living space of true luxury
Unique design spares no expense for style
By John Wood
Special to The Commercial Appeal
Belleair Woods — one of Memphis’ most attractive and conve- nient areas just off Poplar Avenue and across the street from Overton Park — is now home to a new home at 34 Belleair Drive.
But this is not your typical residence. It’s actually more of a luxury resort. And with 13 rooms that include an entertainment center, a gourmet kitchen with two- story ceiling, a home theater room plus a spacious master retreat with steam shower and sep- arate his-and-her baths, this is a personally decorated and tasteful-
ly designed home for the family or individual who is at ease with the $1,799,000 asking price.
“This residence is unique. It’s one of a kind. That’s the way Janice Bazan designed it, and I don’t know of anything in Mem- phis that compares with it,” said Linda Sowell, Sowell & Company sales agent for owner and home designer Janice Bazan.
“This home is a Janice Bazan creation,” Sowell adds. “She is a commercial real estate investor from California who had the op- portunity to make the design se- lections for this home so she put her heart and soul into it. She spared no expense anywhere in this home.”
With over 7,000 square feet to work with, she made this home aretreat for the residents and the per- fect place to entertain family, friends and business associates.
The home’s surroundings make it easy to imagine what visitors might experience.
After arriving and parking their car on the home’s auto court, guests enter through dramatic double iron doors and find themselves initially in the home’s 25-foot-long art gallery foyer which is crowned with crystal chan- deliers and an impressive barrel ceiling. A few steps away is the banquet- size dining room complemented by an- other crystal chandelier and a floor inlaid with mahogany planks that mir- ror the three-dimensional beams on the ceiling.
Dinner is served from a gourmet kitchen complete with top-of-the-line Thermador appliances, copper sinks, a working pantry and a butler’s pantry, while beverages for the dinner orig- inate from the dining room’s own adjacent wine cellar.
After dinner, guests are invited to relax in the home’s large keeping room that overlooks the lush, landscaped backyard that features a combined wa- terfall and Koi pond.
What visitors might not get to see when they first visit this home are its 61/2 bathrooms adorned with Kohler sinks and tubs, travertine tile and granite countertops, and its six bed- rooms that include the secluded, hand- icap-friendly guest suite, the master suite complete with fireplace, coffee bar, his-and-her closets and a balcony exit that leads to the outdoor spiral staircase, or the upstairs entertainment room that sports its own kitchen and wet bar.
Obviously, we don’t have room to mention every amenity here, but would you like to be among the few who get to see everything that this unique home has to offer? For more infor- mation, visit 34belleairdrive.com or capstonepropertyinvestments.com on the Web, give Linda Sowell a call at her office at Sowell and Company — 278-4380 — or ring her cell phone at 277-4380. She’ll be glad to answer your questions and to arrange for a personal showing of this one-of-a-kind home at a time convenient for you.