There were three properties on this severed lot (see Parisian City House) : this Red Brick Tudor House, the Parisian City House and the renovated house in which the movie Black Christmas was filmed. The Red Brick Tudor was the smallest of the three houses, but nevertheless the details were just as elaborate. The house was accessible by a private drive created by us in the back since the attached garage was at the back of the house. The front yard was gated and the side yard was shielded from view by a tall stone wall. The three houses were distinctly different in material and style. This diversity was representational of the architectural taste of the neighborhood.
It was a decrepit lot with an old house that was in disrepair that we bought in a neighborhood that was a mixture of high end residential homes, mid-century apartments and rooming houses. It was not considered the best part of Forest Hill. In fact realtors called it South Hill to distinguish it from the uber-luxurious Forest Hill. Our vision was to turn our group of three homes into an upscale and attractive enclave that people would admire. We had succeeded. In fact our development changed the outlook on the street. More upscale architects and builders started to do work there. In fifteen years the street was transformed into one of the most beautiful residential streets in the city. It would have taken that long for any street to transform organically. The fast-track way would be for spec builders to go in and do their run-of-the-mill cookie cutter home building that would not have benefited the neighborhood. In fact people with good taste (and money) would avoid these neighborhoods like the plague.
To access the private drive we had created, you must enter a private cul-de-sac serving an enclave of ten houses. When you turned into our private drive, the Movie Set House was on your right and the Red Brick Tudor was on your left. The Parisian City House was straight ahead at the end of the drive. The sense of privacy and proprietorship was strong when you were on the private drive. You felt that you were far remote from the bustling city streets.
The dark red brick contrasted with the white limestone to give the house a smart and crisp look. The dimensional cut stone blocks were so precisely milled and carved that the edges were sharp and crisp. The front entrance was imposing and dominated by the layered Romanesque archway supported by paneled pilasters and topped by a projecting stone bay window with a corbeled base. Windows were deeply set in between stone ribs and casing.
The great room inside was twenty foot high at the peak and fitted with a stone Tudor fireplace mantel incorporating the family crest in the carving. The sun came through the large windows flooding the room with daylight. Through the great room was the library which looked out into the walled-off garden. It was fully paneled in pine with intricate mouldings and trims of classical style.