There are lots of reasons I’m fond of this new listing. There is the building’s history for starters. The Crystal Springs schoolhouse is where it all begins, a pretty two-storey limestone affair that opened in 1869. The classroom was at the front of the building, facing east, with herringbone-patterned hardwood planking and bright light pouring in from all sides. You can still just about hear the scraping of a few dozen chair legs and the constant shuffling of half-done homework, the push of a chewed-up lead pencil over unlined paper.
The teacherage, or living quarters, were upstairs, in a series of elegant, high-ceilinged spaces. An early live-work set-up is what you’re looking at. And that sort of story, the narrative possibilities inherent in it, the tree of life that spreads far and wide from those beginnings, pleases me immensely.
I like also that you can sit on the front porch and peer eastwards over prison farmlands that stretch for miles to a distant tree-line. And, yes, I know what you’re thinking: you’re not going to win any awards by mentioning a prison in your real estate copy. But to heck with that. This is precious (and mighty scenic) arable land that’s being re-devoted to good, important work. And I for one would like to bear witness to a little of that.
321 Days Road is a family home now, and set as it is at at the rough mid-point of a long row of mostly brick homes, the effect is rather like that of a milky grey precious stone set into a slim gold bracelet. The brilliant old classroom does double duty as both a living room and an art studio. We could see it being used that way again. In fact, I really don’t see how the buyer won’t bring an easel or a manuscript with them, or at least a designer’s vision of how best to use this old building in the 21st Century. It is an artist’s house, a creator’s space, always has been.
A very tall kitchen, like something out of the Oxfordshire countryside, is tucked in behind the classroom, and beyond that is a family room. Upstairs, it’s three really lovely bedrooms, with baseboards nearly up to your knees (well, shins, but you know what I mean) and window ledges deep enough you can sit in them with an old book, then stare meditatively perhaps across those seemingly endless fields.
There’s a large attached workshop or garage too, stuffed right now with a lifetime’s memories, and a south-side patio for wine-filled late summer evenings at a property that doesn’t feel like it’s situated in Kingston, not to me. In part I suppose that’s because a listing so full of history and charm and really exciting promise just doesn’t come along very often.