“What we’re trying to do is prepare for the possibility and keep the town from being swallowed up,” explains Michael Redwine of Lewis & Redwine Real Estate Group.
With that objective in mind, the next owner of this 6,000-square-foot antebellum home in Madison—on the market for $449,000—will receive financial help in shepherding its restoration.
Known as the Foster-Thomason-Miller house, it was purchased by the Madison-Morgan Conservancy a year ago. The conservancy fixed the windows, roof, and other areas before putting it back on the market. Up to $200,000 in credits will be available, including a property tax freeze, federal rehabilitation tax credits, and state rehabilitation tax credits.
The financial help is a necessary boost, because the cost to bring this home (featured in our story about creepy houses) back to life won’t be cheap.
“We’re estimating it to be a cost of somewhere between a million and $1.5 million,” says Redwine.
Woodwork needs to be redone, new plumbing must be added, and the entire home needs to be rewired. Crèche wallpaper in the front parlor would need to be restored. The home was built in 1883 and last restored in 1986.
Located in a historic district, the five-bedroom, two-bath home has sat empty since 2001. Four rooms are on the first floor, with the remaining four on the second floor. Two of the baths were added when Madison got electricity in 1916, and the original fixtures are still in place. Period features are visible in the home’s 14-foot ceilings, eight mantels, pressed-tin ceilings, and wood carvings.
Sunflower carvings and tiles are a result of the builder’s fascination with Oscar Wilde. While a few renovations took place during the 1990s, including a kitchen addition where the back porch used to be, a fire in 2001 caused considerable smoke and water damage to the back of the house.
“That whole area of the house has to be taken off,” says Redwine.
But the positive news is that much of the house is in incredible shape, a testament to its craftsmanship.
“The wood floor is beautiful,” says Redwine. “Original mantels in each bedroom are still there.”
So who might be the next owner of this beautiful, stately home? “Someone who wants to preserve the house for the house’s sake,” says Redwine, “almost like protecting a piece of art.”
Buyers in this category often have houses around the country that they’ve bought with the sole intent of protecting, he continues. “Those are the people who have been most interested in the property so far. People are coming to look at the house and falling in love with the community.”
Redwine says about 50 antebellum homes remain in Madison.
“Most of them have been restored. We’re having a renaissance in the square area,” he says. “People are turning [old buildings] into retail, offices, and apartments.”
About 20% of residents, he says, commute 50 miles to Atlanta.