A rare opportunity

Downtown Victorian home restored to full potential

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A historic Victorian home in downtown Steamboat Springs was a bittersweet purchase for Bob and Catherine McCullough.

The once stately home on Maple Street, built in 1910, was in a horrible state of disrepair: There were gaping holes in the ceiling and garage doors, broken windows, damaged carpets and fixtures torn from the walls.

"It was in terrible condition," Catherine McCullough said. "I cried the day it closed."

Even at its worst, however, the large Victorian, with its unique woodwork and features, revealed its potential as a warm, family home.

"I just loved it," she said. "It was just kind of magical."

The property's possibilities have been realized through the McCulloughs' loving attention, applied in the 17 years they have owned the home.

Including a renovated kitchen and bathrooms, shiny wood floors and welcoming colors, the McCulloughs have restored and improved the home while retaining its historical charm.

"It's been completely redone from top to bottom," Catherine McCullough said.

The McCulloughs, who raised their children in the home, are selling it.

The Victorian's original owner, George Wither, built the home on the top of a large knoll, providing what are now unduplicated downtown views of Sleeping Giant, Howelsen Hill, Strawberry Park and much of the surrounding Yampa Valley.

Even today, the neighborhood, located at the east end of Fourth Street, is quiet and removed from the rest of downtown, Catherine McCullough said.

"The location is really special," she said.

In addition to classic historical features such as pocket doors and built-in cabinets and shelving, Wither included what are now standard amenities, such as an attached two-car garage and master bedroom with private bathroom and walk-in closet -- rare traits in early 1900-era homes, said listing broker Joan Conroy of Steamboat Village Brokers.

The 3,236-square-foot home welcomes residents and visitors with a classic covered front porch and large entryway with French doors leading into the family room.

Major improvements include a new roof and refinished hardwood floors. Broken glass was replaced within the original window frames, though many of the windows and storm windows are original, Catherine McCullough said.

Electricity in the home was replaced in the late 1970s, and the plumbing system was replaced in 1988, Conroy said.

The Victorian's kitchen was renovated recently with tile flooring and granite countertops. Old plumbing fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms have been replaced with new, classic-style fixtures. Much of the original cabinetry throughout the home has been restored.

In addition to the master bedroom, the Victorian has three bedrooms on the second level, where there also is another full bathroom. A half bathroom is on the main floor, in addition to the kitchen, office, family room, living room and dining room.

Like many Victorian homes, the McCulloughs' home has attic space ideal for storage and a children's play area that could be used as another bedroom.

The basement attaches to the garage and houses the laundry area and more storage space. The McCulloughs are in the process of "sprucing up" the basement with paint, drywall, a new floor and boxes around exposed pipes, Conroy said.

Deep snow now hides the landscaping surrounding the home. In addition to a back yard enclosed by an iron fence, the half-acre lot includes mature shrubs and pine, aspen, cottonwood and crab apple trees.

Bob McCullough applied his green thumb to much of the property, building stone retaining walls and pathways and planting terraced perennial and vegetable gardens, giving the property a "secret garden" feel, Conroy said.

Overall, the Victorian is ideal for a family looking for a historical home in what is an increasingly sparse downtown real estate market, she said.

"This is a family home (for) someone who wants the uniqueness of an in-town location and a larger home," Conroy said. "That's our buyer."

The McCullough home recently was reduced from $1.495 million to $1.35 million. For more information, call Conroy at 879-7800.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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