A New Day on Gosnold Avenue

For personal reasons, we’ve decided to sell our beautiful pink house in Norfolk and move on. We’ve invested more than $45,000 doing a faithful restoration of this grand old manse. As an architectural historian, I’ve gone to great pains to make certain that all the work performed on this old house was done with painstaking care, forethought, and to my personal exacting standards.

And it might just be the most environmentally friendly old house in Norfolk. With its super high-efficiency gas boiler (94%+), high-efficiency central air (14 SEER) and a dazzling rainwater harvesting system, it’s a delightful blending of the best of old-world craftsmanship with modern technology.  In short, you’ll have the unique pleasure of living in a beautiful old house with none of the environmental guilt.  🙂

17 Really Good Reasons to Buy The Big Pink House

1)  Low electric bills – average budget bill of $115/month (and we love our air conditioning!).

2)  High-efficiency central air (14 SEER) with all new ductwork, and electrostatic air cleaner (installed October 2007).

3)  High efficiency, top-of-the-line gas-fired boiler (94% efficient) installed March 2011.

4)  Thorough restoration of original (Buckingham Slate) roof, with new copper flashing and copper cap at roof ridge. Roof repairs will be required again in 2085 (or so).  (About 25% of all the construction debris found in landfills is roofing materials. Slate is the “greenest” roof in the world and with occasional maintenance, it can last forever.)

5)  Seamless 6-inch (extra large) aluminum gutters and downspouts.

6)  No worries about old plumbing! Entire house replumbed with new copper lines in 2007.

7)  Electrical service updated (some new wiring and new panel) in Spring 2007.

8)  Fresh paint, too!  Two coats of Sherwin Williams Duration (25-year warranty) cover the home’s cypress clapboards.

9)  Eleven new high-end replacement windows have been installed within the last two years. Windows on home’s front are original (to preserve architectural integrity).

10)  “Move-in ready” for your favorite quadruped! Custom-built picket fence surrounds peaceful back yard.

11)  Who doesn’t love a little house, especially one with a slate roof? “3916-1/2 Gosnold” is a custom-built “mini-house” with a 9′ ceiling, floored attic, built-in ladder and vintage windows.

12)  When it’s time for the morning’s ablutions, step into the bath and back in time. Faithfully restored second-floor bath features porcelain sconces, vintage medicine chest, and a Kohler Memoirs sink, sitting atop a restored hex floor.  Also has elegant wainscoting, Danze high-end faucets and solid brass vintage towel rack.

13)  Modern kitchen is full of light with seven large windows, stainless steel appliances and a brand new Kenmore gas range (May 2011).

14) Harvest Time is nearly here!  Tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, zucchini and flowers thrive in three separate raised bed gardens in spacious back yard.

15)  Handy rain-water harvesting system already in place for those thirsty plants, with more than 200 gallons of available storage.

16)  Bibliophiles delight! Built-in bookcase on sunporch is more than 9′ tall and 6′ wide, with 27 sturdy shelves.

17)  The house was custom built in 1925 by William Barnes, owner of one of Norfolk’s largest lumber yards. His grandchildren recall that he hand-selected every piece of framing lumber that went into the house. And it shows.

House is 2,300 square feet with three bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths, and a large sunporch.

Asking price is $309,900, which is $35,000+ below city assessment.  If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment please contact the Realtor.

Ready for the tour? Enjoy the photos!

To read part two (more photos!), click here.


The house at 3916 Gosnold Avenue.


Classic lines and high-quality workmanship make this a timeless beauty.


The house has 32 windows, and 7 of them are in the kitchen. One of my favorite features in the kitchen are these many beautiful windows. The gas stove (left) is less than 30 days old. The dishwasher and fridge (both stainless steel) were new in March 2007.


This spacious kitchen was remodeled in Spring 2007.


The gas stove was installed less than a month ago. Still shiny new!


Really, really big refrigerator does everything but serve you buttered toast in the morning.


The living room is awash in light with a western and eastern and southern exposure. The living room is 25 feet long and 13 feet wide.

dining room

The spacious dining room has four windows (six feet tall!) and has beautiful oak floors.

Entry foyer

Visitors to our home frequently comment on the beautiful foyer.


Original french doors to the living room and dining room are still in place.


A view from the staircase.


Another view of the foyer.


The house is also a gardener's delight, with provisions to collect and store more than 200 gallons of rain water.


Your own private farm awaits: Tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, zucchini, strawberries, carrots and lettuce will be ready for harvest in about 30 days.


And they all live together in peace - in a fully enclosed living space - safe from racoons and squirrels.


And the world's most perfect strawberry, from my garden.

And flowers, too!

And a flower garden, too!


Carrerra marble under radiator and toilet complement the hex flooring. Work was done in Spring 2010.

Bathroom pretty

Bathroom was restored to its original 1920s appearance.


This 1930s vintage thermostat works beautifully, controlling a 2011 high efficiency gas boiler.

New-old stock from eBay. Vintage doorbell installed in 2008, and it has a beautiful chime!

It's the little things that make an old house a special home. Vintage doorbell installed in 2008, and it has a beautiful chime!


Front entry foyer is 11 feet wide and 25 feet long.

Its done!

Spacious sunporch has built-in bookcases that are 9-feet tall.


Little house (address is 3916-1/2) has a floored attic, vintage windows and slate roof.


Another view of the little house.

uniquely large yard for Colonial Place

Private, off-street parking and a uniquely large yard for Colonial Place make 3916 Gosnold Avenue a quiet oasis amidst a sea of classic old houses.

Street view

View from the street.

Sideyard summertime view

Sideyard summertime view.

And I saved the best for last: The Perfect Pergola

And I saved the best for last: The Perfect Pergola. The design came from a 1924 architectural magazine. Note hipped roof with slate shingles.

Another view

Another view of the pergola. Dog does not convey.

To schedule an appointment, leave a comment below or contact the Realtor.

*   *   *


  1. Angel Howard

    Wow, looks wonderful! What is your asking price? (we can’t purchase at this time and don’t think we could to a two story anyway (Kevin’s knees) I will keep my ears open and share the link on FB
    Angel (MacKillop) Howard

  2. Sears Homes

    Lol. We’ll I’m going to move, but I’m taking my website with me. 🙂

  3. Sears Homes

    @Angel Howard
    Hi Angel,

    Yeah, I probably should have included that tidbit in the body of the text. 🙂

    Updated to add that we have listed the house with a local Realtor for $319,900.

  4. Roxanne Odell

    My family and I lived here for 2 years. You have done beautiful work to the house! Did you add closets or used wardrobes? Well-done!

  5. Karyn Cleavely

    Beautiful! And I would like some info on your front screen door. We just bought a vintage screen door that I think is the same manufacturer as this one. Do you have a glass storm door insert for yours that has a speak easy door in it? Bakelite handles? We have been trying to get some info on ours since we bought it two weeks ago. Had never seen one like it before, and in the two weeks since buying it, I have seen 4! Any info would be appreciated – thanks!

  6. Sears Homes

    @Karyn Cleavely
    We have a screen insert that stays in the basement. I much prefer the look of the glass panels. It took me at least three dozen hours to finish this wood door, but it came out BEAUTIFUL. It’s three years old and you can’t tell that it’s aged one day since I put it in.

  7. Richard Kearney

    That is a Beautiful Home, Anyone would be very proud to own and Live in it.

  8. Sears Homes

    Thanks, Richard. And someone is going to get a sweet deal, too. We’ve got more than $40,000 invested in this house and all the repairs were top-notch. Some fortunate soul will be walking into Norfolk’s most well-maintained old house!

  9. Martin von Lindenberg

    Hi Rose,

    The house is truly lovely. I doubt that the finest craftsmen of the 1920s could have done any better. It’s a home that deserves to be passed through generations of a family.