Lovers of high 19th century craft, regal spaces and museum-quality decorative arts, take note: this one-in-a-million 1847 masterpiece is Lyon House. Miraculously, the vanished artistry and rare materials shaping this elite residence survive. Equally astonishing? With two attached apartments, ownership could be more affordable than your current home. »cont'd
It began life as a regency classic, built long before confederation. In 1878 it gained a Victorian bay window, steep gables and interior details. Today it lives quietly in a charming residential block, minutes from Byward market shopping.
Forget details for a moment: you'd be forgiven for simply relishing the glorious spaces here as a canvas for good living. The rooms are luminous with 10 foot plus high ceilings. The broad entrance hall with its sweeping sculpted main staircase is beyond impressive. The kitchen is magnificent with full sized dining area and bright south facing bay window. Simply put, it is an interior designer's dream.
Then there are the meticulously restored details crafted with long lost skills, irreplaceable materials. The exterior is so "right" you might overlook the peach brick, cast iron fencing, the carved 'vine and flower' verge board decoration. But touch the handle of the front entrance door with its cast iron grating and your connoisseur senses will begin to tingle.
The original door, flanked by pilasters with carved capitals, opens on broad entrance hall, with sidelights, round transom window and brass hardware. A second doorway mirroring the first is positioned to keep out the cold. In the main entrance hall beyond taste, space and quality make all the statement you could desire: notice the walnut banister, with delicate maple leaf rondelle carved in the solid walnut newel post.
Explore the front living room with its stunning 'tray' ceiling and working marble fireplace. The "blown glass" bay window's carved plaster column and crown detail constitutes a masterpiece of Victorian decorative arts. Your largest paintings will be at home in this palatial room. A paneled arch with original 19th century four-fold doors opens on a dining room where grandeur reigns. Notice the unique cast-leaf grill crown molding.
The original music room –now a dining room – has a delicious curved wall, designed to amplify long-ago piano recitals. Feast on details: the towering arch to the family room, the spindle stair, the paneled rear entrance door with its transom light and regency arched windows.
The kitchen is vast, spacious with imposing south facing bay window, exterior paneled door and a room for a full sized dining table. You may be charmed by the unapologetically old-school 1970's Euro café feel. If you decide to update, there's space and height to take a new design anywhere.
Beneath the stairs there's an 1870's bathroom with magnificent antique mirror and travertine-topped antique vanity. The ceiling here is butternut and walnut – again absolutely unique.
Savor the wide stairs to the 2nd floor. The master bedroom at the front of the house has high ceilings a sitting area and a modest walk-in, plus a door to the 2nd floor balcony. Next door, a sizable main bath with white ceramic flooring and Laura Ashley period prints has it's own door to the balcony. These great rooms will be even better with a cosmetic design update.
The second bedroom is large and accommodating. A second bathroom on this floor features a lovely arched regency window.
The upstairs office, located at the back of the house, makes a small concession to modern aesthetics with an open style layout under steep gable roof. The result is a large and dramatic work area that takes character from the arched window in the rear stairway.
Two completely private apartments offer rental income. On the third floor the charming one bedroom has hardwood floors, keyhole dormer windows and a skylit bathroom. There's a private entrance at the front of the house. A basement studio apartment with private entrance is certain to be prized by a student from the nearby university. Laundry and storage space for the main house are in the basement too. In the back yard you'll enjoy south sun on a private deck shaded by a Magnolia tree. Rear doors from the kitchen and the family room lead to a two-car garage.
One of the very few examples of Ottawa's early history to have survived into the 21st century, this celebrity-scaled residence will be a rare treasure to own and a joy to live with. Plan your appointment without delay.
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