203 Hook Place

In the city, with all city amenities, 203 Hook Place feels as if it’s a country place. This 1935 Montgomery Ward kit house has been added to, updated, and upgraded, but it still has the well-proportioned rooms and arched doorways of the originals that rolled into Ithaca on the railroad in pieces, and were assembled on site. They came with complete plans and directions for assembly; each piece was marked and the plans showed where to use it. 

The Tudor revival home, with its half-timbered façade, has certainly stood the test of time, and is nicely situated on West Hill, one of the leafiest neighborhoods in town. It’s on a quiet street, just up the road from Alternatives Community School, on a bus line, near Island Health & Fitness, close to McDaniels Park and a short jaunt from everything downtown. From their hillside perch, the sellers say they’ve had a perfect view of Fourth of July fireworks, this year scheduled for the Third of July. Close enough.

The current owners have installed many new additions and amenities and have enjoyed the home’s open-plan layout. The living room focuses on a bay-style window trio that would make an ideal spot for a window seat, and a pretty Vermont Castings gas stove adds to the room’s warmth. All-day light brightens a sitting room off the living room with windows on three sides. 

The kitchen looks out over the first-floor living area, into the backyard (lucky cook!) and has a large, new stainless-steel double-door, bottom drawer fridge and a new dishwasher. Off the kitchen, a mudroom entrance from the driveway also leads to a half bath.

The sunroom is a joy, providing even more light, its stone flooring providing passive solar heat. And beyond the sunroom, a spacious new deck looks over the nearly quarter-acre double-lot backyard with its privacy fence, garden shed, and raised beds, on their way to producing a bumper tomato crop.

Upstairs, you’re in a tree house. Bedrooms face in three directions, and each is shaded by tall hardwood trees. The full bath has a shower and tub combo. And a door in the master bedroom leads to a good-sized insulated storage space or kids’ hideout under the eaves. 

An office that previously lived its life as a garage is now fully insulated; a “split” with a quiet outdoor compressor provides both air conditioning and heat, and light filters in through a double slider door.

Charming detail includes a telephone nook by the door. It would have held a black rotary-dial phone and phone book. You could use that niche for your house altar or to show off sculpture.

The house, office and shed all had new roofs in 2015. Also new are the hot water heater and ceiling fans in all the bedrooms. And a colorful peony hedge was singing its last summer song when we visited. •

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