508 W Seneca St., Ithaca

This wonderfully quirky house, a Victorian/Italianate/Greek revival mash-up, is waiting for a buyer with vision, imagination, and a willingness to roll up his or her sleeves and get it shining. It is brimming with possibility. Located in the up-and-coming West End, this 1870s home enchants with a spacious, wrap-around, porch supported by hefty Doric columns, and a deep lot that the seller says was once home to a vineyard. It could be again, though it might be wiser to build another unit on the back portion of the lot, turning it into a year-round rental property or AirBnB. According to the seller, the City agrees it’s a possibility.

Five-O-Eight West Seneca is currently a spacious single-family home, but it has been a two unit in the not-too-distant past. A graceful winding staircase leads the way up (or down), the upstairs section has a kitchenette, bath, bedroom with large walk-in closet, and living room, and there is easy capability for a private entrance.  Both the upstairs living room and the kitchenette could be returned to use as bedroom, study, or nursery should the home’s new owner wish to use the home as a dedicated single-family place.  

Downstairs, hardwood floors lead you from porch to parlor to a roomy dining area large enough to hold an extended gang for family holidays or friendly get-togethers. At the dining room’s east side, extending its space, is a former porch, now incorporated into the home’s interior as a sunroom, a bright and cozy spot for lingering with a good book or hunkering down in a rainstorm.  Further back is the kitchen with loads of cabinet space and a nook containing a washer and dryer: no schlepping down to the basement with your laundry. And off the kitchen is a small enclosed porch, perfect for contemplating the strength of your morning café au lait and deciding whether or not to arm yourself with a bumbershoot before charging out into the world. Off each of the two front rooms is a bedroom, and it looks as if the front-most bedroom began its life as a second parlor.  The ground-floor bathroom is up a few steps, and its door is also a bookcase.  That’s quirky, but it works.

A driveway to the west of the home leads to a two-car garage, and, east of it, the deep backyard, partially shaded by mature trees. A study in contrasts, the home’s spacious side yard is backed by the neighbor’s modernist fence, its lush grapevine covering just beginning to show bunches of ripening Concords. And around the foundation you’ll find plantings of roses, peonies, lilacs, rose of Sharon, day lilies, irises, and more.

The home has had many updates – recent roof, furnace replacement, new insulation, electric and plumbing work – all the hidden, un-sexy stuff has been done.  It will fall to the new owner to turn 508 West Seneca Street into a downtown, walk-everywhere showplace.

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