A local house restorer is selling her renovated Windsor Farms residence in favor of a recently listed modern home on Riverside Drive.
Laurie Petronis is selling her residence at 203 Wakefield Road in the tony West End neighborhood, listing the 5,600-square-foot colonial-revival house Dec. 12 at $1.75 million. The house went under contract in a matter of days.
Petronis said she’s moving to 7401 Riverside Drive, the former residence of retired tobacco executive James H. Starkey III, who purchased the late Harwood and Louise Cochrane homestead, Walnut Hill, in November. Petronis said she’s set to close on the house near Pony Pasture on Feb. 1.
“I have five children, this is where we raised them, and we’re down to one, so we’re leaving,” Petronis said of the Wakefield Road house.
“My husband and I were married at the Rice House across the river, and our first date was at Pony Pasture and he actually proposed there. When that house came on the market, we were like, ‘Well, that’s a no-brainer,’” she said. “It’s significantly smaller than our house, but it’s just got a dynamite view.”
Petronis listed the Wakefield Road house with Long & Foster agent Jolanda Knezevich, who has listed several of the homes Petronis has restored and resold around Richmond, including a home at 1828 Monument Ave. that sold in 2014 for $1.7 million.
Petronis said she is not a house-flipper per se, in that she’s not out to make a quick turnaround and profit. She lost money on the Monument Avenue house, which she purchased in 2011 for $482,000 and put $1.8 million of work into over three years.
“My family has done historic renovations and restorations my whole life,” said Petronis, who serves on the Council of Historic Richmond. “My parents used to put things on the National Register (of Historic Places). It’s all the same game, but we try to respect the house and try to bring it to where it can go in the direction it needs to be and not damage the house.”
Petronis said she renovated the Wakefield Road house from 2009 through 2012, working with Scott Stephens of SMS Architects and interior designer Jennifer Stoner, both locally based. Built in the 1950s, the house was expanded out 15 feet to add dormers and additional rooms upstairs. A detached two-car garage with upstairs living area was also built, providing space for the family to stay during the renovations.
Totaling six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the two-level house includes a first-floor master suite, five updated full baths, three kitchens and three laundry rooms. The house is situated on a 0.8-acre lot and includes hardwood floors, crown molding, painted ceilings and custom cabinetry by Hampton Roads-based Heritage Woodworks.
A native bird habitat also was added to the property, designed by local landscape architect Preston Dalrymple and installed by Charlie Montijo of Midlothian-based Montijo Custom Landscape Design. Knezevich said the backyard has been designated an official bird sanctuary.
“It is a spectacular, high-quality house,” Knezevich said. “It is probably one of the most high-end renovations that I have seen. Everything was done meticulously. That’s why it went so quickly.”
Knezevich said offers came in immediately for the house, and some remain outstanding despite the pending offer.
“We still have numerous agents in the pipeline saying, ‘Hey, if something does not work out, we want to get in.’”
Petronis declined to give a number, but said she put more money into the property than the asking price. Knezevich would not disclose the amount of the pending offer, but said they wouldn’t have accepted if it wasn’t what they wanted.
Petronis said the value is in the flexibility of the design, which she described as intentionally and easily modifiable.
“We made Wakefield to be 100-percent flexible, because my husband had three children and I had two when we got together and we did not know what our needs would be, but we knew that we needed a house that would meet any need,” she said. “That’s what we explained to the architect, and we worked for a long time just making sure that every space could become something else.”