Cindy Coppola wonders what the locals must have thought when the Italian Renaissance Revival-style home at 709 Hanover St. was being completed in 1929, the year the stock market crashed.
“It must have looked pretty grand,” she said. It had to stand out with those fancy soffit brackets, the terracotta tile roof and bricks that, well, aren’t red.
The builders of the unique home were Paul E. and Jeanette Baker, who a dozen years later in 1941 developed property in the Olde Greenwich area of Lafayette Boulevard that became their home and site of the popular Baker’s Grill, as some old-timers will recall.
Cindy and Dave Coppola became only the fourth owners of 709 Hanover when they bought the property in 2009 from the estate of Helen Doumas. Doumas and her husband, Constantinos A. Doumas, ran the old Mayflower Restaurant at William and Princess Anne streets.
Now it’s the Coppolas who have decided it’s time to downsize and leave 709 Hanover. They are listing it themselves and can be reached for showings and more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. The asking price is $995,000.
In its current configuration, the house has six bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a half-bath—all of them completely remodeled. The house has 4,378 square feet of finished living space on three levels. It sits on a fifth-acre lot.
When the Coppolas acquired the property, it had suffered from some neglect. It also had retained reminders of the rooming house it became during World War II after the Bakers left in the early 1940s. For example, there was still a second-story kitchen once used by upstairs tenants.
Very long story very short, the house was going to take a lot of work. The now-beautiful narrow-plank oak hardwood needed refinishing. The rough-style plaster walls needed significant repairs and painting. The wide, dark door and window trim needed brightening with white paint. The kitchen needed a complete overhaul and the basement qualified as a disaster area that required a down-to-the-studs rehab. The detached guest house out back was also in serious need of TLC.
And oh, the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems all needed to be redone and brought up to date.
“We had no idea how hard it would be,” said Dave Coppola, adding that the couple might have thought twice if they knew then what they know now.
“It helped that we had a lot of good craftsmen behind us,” Cindy added. Nor does it hurt that Cindy Coppola runs her own interior design business from the house, so there’s a reason the interior looks professionally done.
Today, 907 Hanover is a sterling example of how a 90-year-old house in disrepair can become a meticulously restored and maintained modern residence with features that fondly recall a bygone era. The Coppolas’ pride in what they’ve accomplished in a decade of ownership shows as they lead a tour.
The house has the curb appeal of being one-of-a-kind in Fredericksburg. The property is defined by a low wall, short brick posts and balanced front-yard landscaping. A driveway and carport provide off-street parking.
A handful of steps rise to the broad, full-width front porch with comfortable seating at one end and a table for alfresco dining at the other. Cindy Coppola makes a point about it being the perfect spot to relax and greet neighbors and passersby.
The main entry has its original transom and sidelights, and was left unpainted on the inside. It opens to a welcoming foyer with staircase to the right and a hallway with sight line to the rear of the house. The ceilings are 10 feet on this level and 9 feet upstairs.
To the right of the foyer is the well-appointed living room. Lighting fixtures here and elsewhere are all new except for the original sconces that were retained. Living room features include recessed glass-door shelves topped with lighted, arched openings and a brick fireplace converted to natural gas.
From the living room, french doors open to a cozy sun room with its own fireplace and two walls of new, energy-efficient windows. All of the home’s custom window treatments will convey.
To the left of the foyer is the dining room, which also has a brick gas fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases and a wide window overlooking Hanover Street.
In these rooms and throughout the house, repairs to the plaster walls were done by Mike Dean and his son, Pat, who are carrying on a family trade pursued for generations.
When the first Coppolas arrived, there was a narrow door from the dining room that entered a small and dysfunctional kitchen. The narrow doorway was replaced with a wide, arched opening that gives both spaces a much more open feel.
The kitchen was totally gutted and redone with a modern island design that makes the most of the space available. White marble tops the island while darker marble was chosen for the counters. A focal point is the gorgeous hammered copper farm sink.
The old kitchen flooring was removed and replaced with oak hardwood to match the floors elsewhere. Appliances include a Thermador range served by a pot-filler faucet and Miele refrigerator and dishwasher.
The off-white kitchen cabinets were custom designed and built by the Coppolas’ son Clark, who measured the space and created the cabinets at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C. Second son Caleb works with Clark and handled the cabinet painting and finish work. At installation time, they fit perfectly. The fridge and dishwasher are covered in cabinetry.
The staircase turns and rises to a spacious landing surrounded by four bedrooms. Double doors open to the master bedroom. The master bath features a double marble vanity and tile shower with glass enclosure.
Two secondary bedrooms, one of them the former kitchen, share a jack-and-jill bathroom. Because the bathroom was small, sinks were added, European style, in each of the two bedrooms.
A spare fourth bedroom, which could be the ideal nursery, is used as home office space. Also off the landing is a closet door that opens to stacked laundry machines.
The basement was transformed from a place you wouldn’t want to go to a place you don’t want to leave. There’s a bright recreation room with fireplace, a bedroom and full bathroom down here, along with laundry room, utility room with workshop and storage space. A curved, exterior stairway leads to the front yard.
The Coppolas tapped into the gas main in the street to provide service for a new gas furnace, water heater and the fireplaces. They retained an infrequently used oil-fired boiler that feeds radiators throughout the house if needed. Heat pumps provide cooling for the dual-zone arrangement.
The garage in the backyard was converted to a guest house long ago, and was in need of remodeling. It’s now a very inviting space with large living room/bedroom and full remodeled bathroom.
The backyard offers a large grassy area surrounded by landscaping and fencing.