When The Free Lance–Star last visited 909 Madison St. in Fredericksburg back in February 2009, the previous owner had completed a major expansion, to say the least, of the modest Cape Cod home that originally occupied the site.
The previous owner was local real estate developer Alex McAlister, who served as his own general contractor. The project must have at least quadrupled the living space, which now measures 8,271 square feet. He created a Mediterranean-style compound that is, by any standard, unique. It has eight bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and a half bath, all part of a floor plan that is not just to be toured, but explored.
Since Edward and Nancy Allen bought it 10 years ago, they have continued the home’s transformation, mostly with Nancy’s across-the-board interior design work, along with a significant improvement to the breezeway that defines the courtyard with patio and pool out back.
To say the couple is reluctant to leave the remarkable residence is an understatement, but leave they must. So they’ve listed it with Janny Sims of Long & Foster Real Estate in Fredericksburg. The asking price is $1.65 million.
“It’s really hard for us to leave, and I know we’re not going to find anything like it,” Nancy Allen said. “It’s just great how they were able to blend the old and new together.”
The cause of this upheaval is Edward Allen, who last year was named president of the Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen law firm, which is based in Richmond. Now that the couple’s daughter has graduated from James Monroe High School, the opportunity to end Edward’s commute and move to Richmond has arrived.
“We’ve raised two teenagers here and it became a hub for them and their friends. Of course the kids don’t want us to sell it,” he said, calling the property “an oasis” in the city. “We’re sorry to leave but we hope a new family comes along to enjoy it.”
The property is located in the neighborhood referred to as Below the University (formerly Below the College) by some, and as College Terrace by others. Thanks to being situated at the northeastern edge of the neighborhood, it backs to a green, undeveloped area alongside a small city pond and is just a stone’s throw across the canal path from JM.
The house sits on what was originally a double lot, and the property includes two more lots between the house and the pond, adding up to more than three-quarters of an acre.
The driveway from Madison Street has a gated opening to a paved courtyard. Two of the home’s six square, turret-like structures are here, with one of them housing the main entry.
The foyer leads to a two-story great room around which the rest of the open main level floor revolves. Areas are defined by arched openings that are a theme throughout and contribute to the relaxed Mediterranean style.
Nearby are the eat-in kitchen and adjoining family room. Bright colors have transformed the look of the kitchen from what it was before, though the attractive granite peninsula-style counter was retained. The space features stainless steel and black appliances, along with an Italian tile floor.
The eat-in portion of the kitchen has a good-sized table with one rounded corner that was designed to fit the curved-window space it occupies. Custom-made for the space by local cabinetmaker Michael Stockenberg, the table and surrounding bench and chairs will convey.
Bright colors also bring the family room to life and unite it with the rest of the main living space. Here and there are Nancy Allen’s special décor touches, such as cork and grass cloth wallpapers.
Just a few steps from the family room is a cozy bar room that’s been a fun spot for the grownups. Directly above that is a balcony/loft that holds Edward Allen’s home office. The office has a beautiful built-in cherry wall unit that holds Allen’s library of law volumes and is also Stockenberg’s work. His craftsmanship is also found in other built-ins throughout the house.
Also nearby on the main level is a space surrounded by windows that the Allens use as their dining room. The windows look out on the large interior courtyard that includes the patio, pool and hot tub.
There’s also a recreation wing on the main level with what Edward Allen calls the “sailing motif billiard room” and TV room that helped keep the kids and their friends close at hand.
Elsewhere on the main level are two bedrooms. One is the large master suite that is truly special, from the seating area that also looks out onto the patio, to the refrigerator, wine cooler and fireplace, to the deep tray ceiling over the sleeping area. The luxurious tile master bathroom has a dual vanity, jetted soaking tub and separate shower enclosed by thick glass block. There’s even another sitting area one flight up within the master suite.
The main-level guest suite, like nearly all of the bedrooms for that matter, has its own bathroom. A split stairway leads to the kids’ bedrooms that are also actually bedroom suites in themselves.
Yet another bedroom is part of an au pair or in-law suite with private access via the gravel driveway that runs alongside the house. The suite has its own living area, bathroom, small kitchen and private balcony.
Throughout the house are nooks, crannies and hallways that make the floor plan unique and interesting to explore. Skylights are found in many rooms, which along with vibrant, colorful décor help brighten even interior rooms.
The outside living spaces are key to the range of enjoyment the property offers. The pool and patio are surrounded by covered spaces that include a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, including a Jenn-Air grill, plus dining and sitting areas. There’s even a full bathroom just off the courtyard.
To tie in even more outdoor living space, the Allens cut arched openings in one of the exterior courtyard walls for easier access a fireplace area with seating all around.
Mature landscaping makes the entire courtyard all the more inviting. Thanks to the home’s location and the vacant adjacent lots, the outdoor areas at once feel both open and private.
The house has a new high-grade shingle roof. The exterior is covered with what is called an External Insulation and Finishing System, or EIFS, and is referred to, but is more complex than, ‘synthetic stucco.’