The (Grand)Mother of All Open Houses: 1905 Cedar

Over the weekend, more than 950 people trooped through the open house at 1905 Cedar Street. “I’ve never held anything that big in my entire life,” said Intero real estate broker Dave Blewett of the distinctive property known as the “brick bookend” house at the corner of St. Francis Way.

Unlike most houses on the market these days, Blewett didn’t stage it. No Crate and Barrel/ Benjamin Moore makeover for the White Oaks 3/2 listed at almost $1.4 million. “We thought about it, but we decided we didn’t really need to because a lot of the stuff fit that bygone era,” said Blewett.

Most of the furniture belonging to Mary Vanderford – the owner who died June 11th at the age of 105 – remained in the rooms where she’d lived since 1958, although some pieces were tucked away in the attached 2-car garage or closets.

Ceiling of entry way

The Open House was as unusual as the house itself. Realtor Dave Blewett anticipated nearby residents would want to take a peek at his listing’s more unusual features, like the wood octagonal foyer and the living room with the marble fireplace and carved beam ceiling. So he invited them.

Blewett spent four hours knocking on doors and passing out flyers. “The house has mystique: four chimneys (only one is real, the rest are architectural refinements); the brick book end houses are coveted and people wonder what they look like inside,” said Blewett.

As a result, the Open House felt more like a party than a real estate event. Blewett, his wife Gwen and lending expert Margorie Berger welcomed neighbors – along with serious prospective buyers – as they entered and encouraged them to explore the house’s nooks and crannies.

Many conversations centered on the house’s folklore, including who’d built it in 1951 and its stately brick sibling across the street on the West end of Cedar.

The retro kitchen

A 50-year resident of White Oaks told the LSS he believed the house had been built by the owner of a local sheet metal company now out of business, by the name of Casareto.

Whoever built it, he succeeded in creating an English Manor style house smack in the heart of White Oaks.

The house has stuff you don’t see these days: a copper awning, lots of wood paneled walls, some gorgeous red and white toille wallpaper in the separate dining room (okay, a separate dining room in White Oaks isn’t all that common either), original pink G.E. stove and dishwasher in the eat-in kitchen and a huge light and bright second floor rec room that had some teen girls begging their mother to buy the place on the spot.

Not much yard to speak of, which also prompted speculation that the owners had sold off land at some point, where one (or two houses) went up.

Also being sold with the house: Mary Vanderford’s grandmother’s light fixture that dates back to the Civil War.

Real estate broker Dave Blewett is hearing offers beginning Tuesday at noon.

Curious? Want to see more? Check out the virtual tour…click here.

(Since lending expert Margorie Berger doesn’t have a website, her email:; what the heck, here’s Dave Blewett’s, too:

Note: The photos in this story are the official real estate pics taken for the house; I took some…which you can see at the Laurel Street Spy’s Facebook page by clicking here. (The obnoxious Facebook Like image off to the left? Hint hint)




Filed Under: Column 1Real Estate


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