Upstate New York Round House Is a ‘Rare Architectural Delight’


If you have a love of geometry, why pass up a chance to own a totally round house?

Located way upstate, this Victor, NY, home, listed for $595,000, is a famously curvy local landmark with an interesting past.

For what it’s worth, the Round House all started with a triangle. In 1966, before it rolled onto the property, an A-frame home was constructed on the 10-acre plot. Now attached to the back of the round residence, the original one-bedroom A-frame gives off a rustic and cool ski chalet vibe.

The main structure on the property was built in 1982. No one knows the inspiration for the circular addition, although some locals speculate that the owners who commissioned the place saw a round house somewhere and wanted one of their very own.

The listing details for the distinctive dwelling call it an “incredibly rare architectural delight.”

Original A-frame portion of the home
Original A-frame portion of the home

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A-frame interior, with ski chalet vibes
A-frame interior, with ski chalet vibes

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The great room in the Round House
The great room in the Round House

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Kitchen in the Round House
Kitchen in the Round House

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Quite apart from its shape, the home’s most significant feature may be the windows.

“The vertical windows that are all around the front of it were the leftover windows from the construction of the Xerox Tower building, which is up in Rochester,” explains Wilma Townsend, curator at the Ontario County Historical Society.

Despite its interesting architecture, the owners walked away from the home in 1997, after a divorce. The home sat abandoned until 2002. During that time, the home was vandalized and used as a party venue by local teenagers.

The Round House was put up for auction by the county, and in 2002, a new family purchased the home, along with land, for $88,000.

The current owners completely renovated the interior and have transformed the residence into a distinct and dramatic inspiring work of architecture, inside and out.

It features a stately two-story grand room, flanked by a pair of grandiose cascading staircases. Standout spaces include a large gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, and exterior patio area.

All told, the house has seven bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. With 7,500 square feet of living space, it has enough room for a large family. Depending on a buyer’s desire, it could also potentially be used as a retreat rental or a bed-and-breakfast. The town of Victor is situated right between Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

And if the interiors aren’t impressive enough, there are 10 acres outside to explore. Featuring a private pond and woods, the property is a true sanctuary for outdoor lovers.



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Is Your Future House Haunted?


Paranormal activity, suicide, murder, cult activity, famous adulteries — is that dream house a “stigmatized property”?

We’ve all heard home-buying horror stories. Sellers backing out or financing falling through can quickly kill a deal. But these snags don’t hold a candle to buying a “stigmatized” home.

A home where paranormal activity, suicide, murder, cult activity or other misfortunes and crimes took place could be categorized as a stigmatized property.

In real estate terms, a stigma refers to an intangible attribute of a property that may prompt a psychological or emotional response on the part of a potential buyer. In addition to physical defects, a house may have unusual features or a history that negatively impacts its value.

Get to know your state’s disclosure laws

Here’s a scary fact: A listing agent may not be required to disclose a stigma to buyers.

Ever heard the phrase “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware)? In the past, sellers were not required to disclose anything about homes they were selling. Over the years, most states have made changes to this rule and now require that buyers be made aware of certain issues.

The law urges buyers, sellers and their agents to engage in fair and honest dealing with all principals in the real estate transaction. However, the laws that regulate disclosure of sketchy events vary from state to state. Some state laws explicitly relieve the salesperson or broker of the obligation to disclose certain property stigmas.

For instance, what if a house is haunted? Massachusetts is particularly lax when it comes to stigmas. In the witch city of Salem, a seller’s agent does not necessarily need to volunteer information about paranormal activity or even a felony, suicide or homicide that has occurred in a home.

But if you or your agent asks a seller’s agent directly, they must answer truthfully. This differs from California’s stringent laws, which, in addition to other disclosures, mandate that buyers be informed of any deaths that occurred at a property in the last three years.

While it’s certainly ethical for sellers to be upfront about any defects that may impact the value of a property, it may not be a legal requirement.

Research before you fall in love

Since you’re unlikely to find the descriptors “haunted” or “former crime scene” in a property listing, how should you go about digging up some dirt?

  • Check with a real estate attorney in your state to see what disclosures are required.
  • Ask the seller’s representative if criminal or paranormal activity has been reported. Again, sellers and their agents are legally obligated to reveal problems they’re aware of when asked.
  • Carefully review the seller’s disclosures, if one is included with the listing. In many states, property owners are forced to put their real estate disclosures in writing.
  • Get the inside scoop from the neighbors.
  • Always Google the address of your future home. You may uncover a headline that sways your decision.

You may learn that a former owner passed away in the house. In areas with older properties, this is likely going to be the case, though it may not be cause for concern. Someone peacefully passing away in the comfort of their home is a lot different from a situation that involved foul play.

Related:



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Current Obsessions: Open House – Remodelista


Current Obsessions: Open House – Remodelista




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A Passive House Design in the Catskills by IdS/R Architecture


Maria Ibañez de Sendadiano and Todd Rouh met at work back when they were both young architects at Smith-Miller + Hawkinson. That was a while ago: the couple have been running their own NYC firm, IdS/R Architecture, since 2000, have two daughters who are now teenagers, and recently found themselves in the happy position of being able to build their own country retreat in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

After years of hiking and camping in the area as a family, they bought a choice piece of land in the township of Mount Tremper surrounded by DEP-owned protected property (it’s on the watershed that supplies NYC’s tap water). This was their first designed-from-the-ground-up house and gave them the opportunity to test ideas—and to get their own hands extremely dirty.

They wanted foremost to build a structure with as little impact as possible, and towards that end decided to follow Passive House standards, a set of stringent rules for creating an ultra-efficient, air-tight dwelling that supplies most of its own energy via solar panels. To save on costs and stay on top of an ambitious construction schedule, the couple also decided to act in tandem as their own general contractor. It took them six months to build the house and another six months to finish the interior. Join us for a visit into the woods.

Photography by Eric Petschek, courtesy of IdS/R Architecture and Vipp.

Modeled after a traditional longhouse layout, the structure has a central living space with bedrooms at either end and multi-purpose loft spaces stacked over them.
Above: Modeled after a traditional longhouse layout, the structure has a central living space with bedrooms at either end and multi-purpose loft spaces stacked over them.

The building is composed of SIPs (prefabricated structural insulated panels), the Passive House building blocks, which Todd notes helped determine the look: “If you using SIPs, then you’re not making a glass house.” The building rests on a steel frame platform raised on piers that, Maria explains, “limited the disruption to the existing site drainage.” Terraced steps lead to the front deck and four sliding glass doors (there are also four doors off the back). The mechanical room is in a concrete cellar and contains, among other things, the ERV system (energy recovery ventilation) crucial to Passive House design. The only trees that had to be taken down made way for the driveway.

The exterior is clad in larch, which was also applied throughout the interior. It has a standing seam metal roof, a favorite of architects (see Hardscaping data-src=
Above: The exterior is clad in larch, which was also applied throughout the interior. It has a standing seam metal roof, a favorite of architects (see Hardscaping 101), and on the nearby septic field there are 24 solar panels that between May and November generate enough power to run everything in the house (“we actually sell power back to the grid,” says Todd).

The aluminum-framed, thermally insulated glass doors are 8 by 8 feet—”the maximum size for a lift and slide door,” says Maria—and, like the triple-glazed windows, were supplied by Schüco. This one, on the north end of the house, opens to the kitchen, outfitted with a freestanding island made by Vipp of Denmark. That’s also the iconic Vipp Pedal Bin in the foreground (we singled it out in Remodelista, A Manual for the Considered Home in our roundup of 100 favorite everyday objects).

Maria and Todd installed all of the interior walls themselves. Their choice of the powder-coated steel island was both aesthetic and practical: &#8
Above: Maria and Todd installed all of the interior walls themselves. Their choice of the powder-coated steel island was both aesthetic and practical: “we love that Vipp’s kitchen designs are modular; this came as a prefabricated unit,” says Todd. (Vipp is a hands-on, family-run company: Sofie Egelund, granddaughter of the inventor of the Vipp bin, runs US operations with her husband,  and came to the site to oversee installation.)
The island is fitted with a sink, dishwasher, and induction cooktop. Additional storage is supplied by a cabinet wall pre-fabricated by Colorado-based CabParts that Marie and Todd painted (Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: The island is fitted with a sink, dishwasher, and induction cooktop. Additional storage is supplied by a cabinet wall pre-fabricated by Colorado-based CabParts that Marie and Todd painted (Farrow & Ball’s Strong White) and installed. In lieu of a range, they opted for a wall oven. The ladder on the wall leads to one of the two lofts at either end of the house.
Todd and Maria designed and built their kitchen table: it&#8
Above: Todd and Maria designed and built their kitchen table: it’s composed of furniture-grade birch plywood bolted to an anodized aluminum base assembled from parts they had in their office. In addition to using their own designs and Vipp’s expanding line (including this gray Wool Rug), the couple gravitated to furniture by Hay: the Danish studio’s Result Chairs are shown here in oak.
The table stands next to a built-in pantry with drawers of unfinished birch ply and white doors. It, too, came from CabParts, &#8
Above: The table stands next to a built-in pantry with drawers of unfinished birch ply and white doors. It, too, came from CabParts, “a good resource for DIYers,” says Todd. “Their cabinets are a bit better quality than Ikea’s, and they offer more custom specifications on sizes—but you need to fill out a very tedious form.”

“The pantry is really the key to our kitchen’s operations,” adds Todd. “It’s the place where all the small appliances and mugs, and things like water bottles go. When the doors are closed, you don’t know it’s there.”

The kitchen is open to the expansive central living room furnished with an L-shaped sectional Mags sofa by Hay and Wool Pillows by Vipp.
Above: The kitchen is open to the expansive central living room furnished with an L-shaped sectional Mags sofa by Hay and Wool Pillows by Vipp.

The passageways lead to a mudroom and small bath on one side and a bedroom on the other, all paneled in larch.

A Rondo stove by Rais supplements sub-floor radiant heating. (The niche is filled with logs from the cleared trees on the property.) &#8
Above: A Rondo stove by Rais supplements sub-floor radiant heating. (The niche is filled with logs from the cleared trees on the property.) “Our goal is to be as close to net zero as possible,” says Todd. “Right now, only our boiler draws power from the electrical grid, and that’s between November and April.”
The house overlooks woodland— the interior and exterior colors were selected to blend with the outdoors. Towards that end, the entire main floor is lined with Summitville quarry tile in rock-like Elephant Gray. &#8
Above: The house overlooks woodland— the interior and exterior colors were selected to blend with the outdoors. Towards that end, the entire main floor is lined with Summitville quarry tile in rock-like Elephant Gray. “Quarry tile is an interior-exterior tile traditionally used in bakeries and commercial spaces; it’s stronger than ceramic and is relatively inexpensive,” says Todd.
Paneled in larch, the bedrooms have a modernist cabin feel. The desk is the Copenhague 90 by Hay and the bedside sconces are Wall Spots by Vipp.
Above: Paneled in larch, the bedrooms have a modernist cabin feel. The desk is the Copenhague 90 by Hay and the bedside sconces are Wall Spots by Vipp.
Accessed by a stair, the loft on the southern end of the house is furnished with daybeds of cabinet-grade birch ply that Maria and Todd designed for the space. They can be moved together to form a larger bed.
Above: Accessed by a stair, the loft on the southern end of the house is furnished with daybeds of cabinet-grade birch ply that Maria and Todd designed for the space. They can be moved together to form a larger bed.
&#8
Above: “Our place was a bit of a research project for us,” says Maria. The couple are currently at work for clients on another energy-efficient house in the area.
The floor plans detail the basement mechanical room, the longhouse layout of the main floor, and the two lofts (the one on the north end has an en suite bath).
Above: The floor plans detail the basement mechanical room, the longhouse layout of the main floor, and the two lofts (the one on the north end has an en suite bath).

Here are three more energy-efficient rural dwellings:



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A Shingled House with Style


On a trip to Paris’s Maison et Objet, our co-founders Julie and Francesca crossed paths with Mona Nerenberg, owner of Bloom in Sag Harbor, NY, a cult-favorite shop filled with Swedish antiques and white ceramics (now in its 18th year). Noting that the Gardenista team had been to her Hamptons home to admire the deer fencing—Mona is married to landscape designer Lisa Bynon—she invited us back to take a proper look inside.

Mona and Lisa live in a 19th-century shingled house that came untouched—and with a falling-down fish market attached to the kitchen. The two met as students at the Parson’s School of Design and have a shared aesthetic that’s all about poetic objects, a black-and-white palette, and not a lot of stuff. Others may have been deterred by the the jungle of vines and colony of bats that had overtaken the residence, but they vowed to keep the gracious center-hall layout as is and approached the remodel as an unveiling .

Their friend interior designer Mark Cunningham, a former VP of creative services at Ralph Lauren, who had joined Mona on early buying trips for Bloom (and with Sam Hamilton co-founded the great SF design emporium March), stepped in to orchestrate. Working in close collaboration, each contributed key elements: Lisa and her crew extended the house’s beadboard paneling in strategic spots, Mona supplied Pierre Jeanneret chairs and apple matting from Bloom, and Mark pulled it all together, new two-story kitchen included. Join us for a tour of a standout Hamptons classic.

Photography by Björn Wallander, courtesy of Mark Cunningham (@marked_ny).

Thanks to a great deal of clearing and planting, the couple and their chickens now live surrounded by three acres of lawn, hedge, and gardens. The shingles and windows are original.
Above: Thanks to a great deal of clearing and planting, the couple and their chickens now live surrounded by three acres of lawn, hedge, and gardens. The shingles and windows are original.

The house is in the hamlet of North Sea—the nearest beach is a quick bike ride away—and was built by a family in the Blue Book of the Hamptons. Mona and Lisa are only the third owners.

Double front doors open to a hall with a new pine floor and a grand stair cloaked in white: the couple used Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Double front doors open to a hall with a new pine floor and a grand stair cloaked in white: the couple used Benjamin Moore’s Super White throughout (one of our Architects’ Favorite White Paint Picks). Mona and Lisa sold their previous house fully furnished—”we walked out with our cats and our clothes”—so they started from scratch here, and Mark played a big role in the the hunting and gathering.

A Donald Sultan lemon drawing hangs on the wall here over a French bench—ticking stripes are just about the only pattern welcomed in.

The living room is furnished with a trio of upholstered pieces from Ralph Lauren Home that are typically occupied by Charlie and Sam, the cats, and Ruby, the dog. Mark says the stone coffee table from Démiurge is what made the room feel finished.
Above: The living room is furnished with a trio of upholstered pieces from Ralph Lauren Home that are typically occupied by Charlie and Sam, the cats, and Ruby, the dog. Mark says the stone coffee table from Démiurge is what made the room feel finished.

On the walls throughout, Mona and Lisa used Benjamin Moore’s Super White, one of our Architects’ Favorite White Paint Picks.

A bay window overlooks the garden. The Jeanneret teak Chandigarh chair is one of two from Bloom. The rug is Bloom&#8
Above: A bay window overlooks the garden. The Jeanneret teak Chandigarh chair is one of two from Bloom. The rug is Bloom’s signature apple matting, a woven rush so-named, Mona explains, because it was traditionally made in England by apple pickers during the off-season.
The neediest part of the house was the kitchen, part of which had to be ripped off when the crumbling fish market was taken down. Mark came up with the inspired idea of removing the kitchen attic and creating a two-story space. The paint-splattered floor boards were salvaged from the attic, which, for a time, had served as an art studio.
Above: The neediest part of the house was the kitchen, part of which had to be ripped off when the crumbling fish market was taken down. Mark came up with the inspired idea of removing the kitchen attic and creating a two-story space. The paint-splattered floor boards were salvaged from the attic, which, for a time, had served as an art studio.

During the garden off-season, Lisa and her landscape team matched the existing beadboard paneling on the upper walls and ceiling. The room’s centerpiece is an old marble-topped ceramic artist’s table still chalky with clay. Mona tells us “I really don’t like much, in fact I hate just about everything,” but adds she’s ever on the lookout for pieces like the table.

A narrow pantry divides the kitchen from the dining room. A row of butcher&#8
Above: A narrow pantry divides the kitchen from the dining room. A row of butcher’s hooks hang over a watercolor of a rock by Mats Gustafson. The butcher block table is French.
One of the things that Mona least likes is lighting—she says she prefers natural light and notes that she doesn&#8
Above: One of the things that Mona least likes is lighting—she says she prefers natural light and notes that she doesn’t sell any lights at Bloom. In the dining room Mark stepped up to this challenge with a pair of plaster chandeliers by Stephen Antonson—see The Master of Plaster. The antique English cabinet was made for a veterinarian—Mona bought it for her shop but didn’t have room for it. The Swedish stick-back chairs with original paint are also from Bloom.
On a buying trip to the South of France, Mark made the first purchase for the house: this -foot-long dining table. He came up with the inspired idea of hanging Mona and Lisa&#8
Above: On a buying trip to the South of France, Mark made the first purchase for the house: this 14-foot-long dining table. He came up with the inspired idea of hanging Mona and Lisa’s Astier de Villatte plates en masse: a traditional approach “given a fresh face,” he says, “and a great way to bring in another texture and a graphic quality  in lieu of art.” (Lisa did the hanging: “it looks really simple but it wasn’t because each plate is irregularly shaped,” says Mona.)

More Astier de Villatte fills the cabinet: a romantic vine-covered shed in the back of Bloom is devoted solely to the French ceramics.

The library shelves are stacked with Mona&#8
Above: The library shelves are stacked with Mona’s World of Interiors collection dating back to the magazine’s early years in the 1980s. A collapsible wallpaper tables stands by the front windows with a restored and bleached Jeanneret chair in front of it
Ray, from Michael Dweck&#8
Above: Ray, from Michael Dweck‘s Montauk series, hangs in the library. (Dweck is one of a few who Mona represents locally.)
&#8
Above: “I like to be surrounded by space and light,” says Mona of the all-white master bedroom. The cast-iron bed came from a local favorite antiques shop that’s no longer in business. (The vellum box under it holds an extra blanket.) 
An antique chest from Bloom and an armchair from Ralph Lauren Home. The floor is painted in a high-gloss white enamel from Benjamin Moore.
Above: An antique chest from Bloom and an armchair from Ralph Lauren Home. The floor is painted in a high-gloss white enamel from Benjamin Moore.
The bathrooms required redoing, but this one has it original claw-foot tub, which Lisa restored with several coats of black paint. The fixture is from Waterworks. That&#8
Above: The bathrooms required redoing, but this one has it original claw-foot tub, which Lisa restored with several coats of black paint. The fixture is from Waterworks. That’s another Michael Dweck photo hanging on the original paneling.
A guest room, also known as Mark&#8
Above: A guest room, also known as Mark’s room, carries on the black-and-white look to great effect with a boxspring in a ticking from Rogers & Goffigon.

In the years since the house was complete, Mark has opened his own NYC showroom, Marked, and been named to world’s best designer lists: “We were so lucky to have him,” says Mona, “Mark is in another league now.”

A glimpse of the elegant—and deer-proof—fencing that Lisa designed for the vegetable garden. Note the privet, trimmed to the exact middle of the diamond fencing.
Above: A glimpse of the elegant—and deer-proof—fencing that Lisa designed for the vegetable garden. Note the privet, trimmed to the exact middle of the diamond fencing.
See more at The Landscape Designer Is In.
Above: See more at The Landscape Designer Is In.

When we come across a design store we admire, we often ask if we can follow the owner home. Here are three more shopkeepers with inspired homes:



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Century-Old Charmer: Beasley House in Sarasota Has Roaring ’20s Spirit


It feels more like the 1920s instead of the 2020s at a historic home on Westmoreland Drive in Sarasota, FL.

“It really takes you back in time, [but] with all of the modern conveniences of today,” says listing agent Lisa Kartz. “It’s like nothing else; [it’s] one of a kind.”

Built in the Mediterranean Revival style in 1926 by John M. Beasley, the Beasley House is on the market for the second time in five years, this time for $775,000. It last changed hands for $525,000 in 2015 and has undergone significant renovations since then.

“The floors are original, a lot of the tile is original,” says Kartz. “The kitchen was completely remodeled just three years ago, but keeping with the same theme throughout the entire house.”

There are updated appliances in the kitchen, a modern bathroom, and new windows throughout the home. Or “all the comforts of today,” adds the agent.

Kitchen
Kitchen

Coastal Home Photography

The home is on a third of an acre and has three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

“From various areas in the house, [there are] peekaboo views of Sarasota Bay,” Kartz says. “What I think is unique about this house is, for a period house the rooms are very large and generous.”

Interior
Interior

Coastal Home Photography

There’s also a three-car garage along with a private courtyard and pool. Architects Pringle and Smith designed this home and other buildings in the Sarasota area, including the Orange Blossom Hotel and the Sarasota Terrace Hotel.

Based in Atlanta, Frances Palmer Smith and Robert Smith Pringle had one of the leading Southern architecture firms of the early 20th century.

Pool and courtyard
Pool and courtyard

Coastal Home Photography

In 1996, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic places, a designation that protects its integrity and reinforces its significance.

“It must maintain its original exterior for it to remain on the National Register of Historic Places,” Kartz says.

Historic designation
Historic designation

Coastal Home Photography

The Beasley House sits alongside other historic homes in the city’s Whitfield Estates neighborhood.

“People want something that is unique, something that is different, and something that is not cookie-cutter and that really explains Whitfield Estates,” Kartz explains. “Every house is different. You’ve got everything from historic, to modern, to 1950s midcentury, to brand-new construction. You’ve got a little bit of it all.”

And thanks to this home’s location, new owners can choose to join the nearby Sara Bay Country Club, which features one of the oldest golf courses in Florida, designed by Donald Ross.

The perfect buyer “would be somebody who appreciates the grandeur of the ’20s and the workmanship of the roaring ’20s,” Kartz says. “It is absolutely like stepping back into the 1920s. It has been maintained and restored to what we think would be how it originally was.”

Bathroom
Bathroom

Coastal Home Photography

Exterior
Exterior

Coastal Home Photography

Dining room
Dining room

Coastal Home Photography



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Distinctive Desert Dwelling: Arizona’s Ramada House Is a Southwest Star


When people hear the word “ramada,” a hotel chain usually springs to mind.

But eons before Ramada Inns dotted interstates, Native Americans built shade structures with roofs but no walls. These ingenious buildings (rama means “branch” in Spanish) constructed from poles and branches were designed for maximum airflow.

Now you can own one of the most architecturally significant examples of a ramada in the entire Southwest, plus the large, luxurious home it shades. Ramada House, built by architect Judith Chaffee, in the Catalina Foothills of Tucson, AZ, is on the market for $1,995,000.

Listing agent Scott Jarson is in love with the desert design and the practical nature of the ramada.

“Nestled beneath a slat canopy of wood posts and beams, the ramada offers shelter from the sun, but keeps the views completely unobstructed,” he notes.

The ramada roof
The ramada roof

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Ramada House in Tucson, AZ
Ramada House in Tucson, AZ

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Unobstructed views
Unobstructed views

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home was built in 1975 and designed for maximum privacy and views of its 8.75 acres.

Mountain and desert views
Mountain and desert views

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The ramada was designed to cast intriguing shadows at different times of the day.

The home beneath the canopy appears to be made of adobe, but it’s actually built with mortar-washed slump block, which, like adobe, keeps the air inside cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Floors in the four-bedroom home are tile and concrete, and natural wood is used for accents throughout the house.

Living room
Living room

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Hallway and staircase
Hallway and staircase

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The sellers are the original homeowners, and they’ve thoughtfully updated the 3,797-square-foot home. Most spaces offer a blend of classic Southwestern features.

Bedroom
Bedroom

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Unique details include a library with 10-foot-tall bookcases, an office with fireplace (there are two fireplaces total), and plenty of built-in storage throughout the home.

Office with fireplace
Office with fireplace

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The modern kitchen features stainless-steel appliances, tile flooring, and pale wood cabinetry, plus easy access to the formal dining room and another dining area.

Kitchen
Kitchen

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There are multiple patios, decks, and oversize windows providing lovely vistas, connecting the indoors and out. Outside, there’s a pool finished with an earth-colored plaster, the better to blend into the scenery and reflect the night sky.

Pool
Pool

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Back exterior
Back exterior

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Deck and patio
Deck and patio

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All this, plus a tax break thanks to the home’s historical designation? According to the agent, it’s worth it for a buyer in search of a distinctive desert dwelling.

“For those seeking a truly remarkable home with architectural provenance and integrity, the Ramada House offers something completely unique and authentic,” says Jarson.


  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.

  • Homes for sale in Tucson, AZ

  • Learn more about Tucson, AZ



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