The exquisitely crafted stucco colonial at 12 Leighton Road in Wellesley has a rich history, a versatile configuration that offers two equally elegant four-bedroom residences, and a prime location in the sought-after Dana Hall neighborhood.

This 4,520-square-foot colonial with Tudor flair is a 1910 beauty which was built by expert craftsman as a two-family dwelling that can be seamlessly connected to form an eight-bedroom single mansion. Thus each floor of the home has the same elegant period detail and character while the exterior architecture has the magnificent stature and appearance of a single-family home.

The house is a short walk to town center restaurants, shopping, train, library, schools and the Brook Path.

Marcey Hunter and Beth Petrone of Coldwell Banker are marketing the 14-room house on a 0.28-acre lot at $1,748,000.

Recent improvements include new gas furnaces, new brick walks and exterior paint, and a complete remodel and update of the rental unit which created an open-plan dining room, living room and kitchen.

Period details include hardwood floors throughout the house, arched doorways, original glass doorknobs, custom millwork and built-ins. The fretwork on the cabinetry and windows is extraordinarily lovely and is said to have been designed by craftsmen from a monastery.

The two units have separate entrances, one through a covered stucco front porch and the other through a spacious screened porch on Homestead Road. Doors on each floor are sealed off to separate the units, but may be easily opened to create a single-family home with an excellent flow between rooms. Both units have separate back porch entries and walk-out basements.

A turned staircase leads to the second floor living area of the owner’s unit and features a bank of windows and an arched entry at the landing. The wide landing has a half bath and leads to another elegant staircase to the third floor bedrooms.

The spacious living room opens to the dining room to create a light-filled front-to-back space with a delightful nook with built-in bench seats surrounding a wood-burning fireplace. The custom china cabinet in the dining room has beautiful millwork that matches the exquisite muntins on the windows, as does another glass-front cabinet in the adjacent kitchen. The ceilings of both rooms are coffered, and French doors open to a wonderful screened porch bordered with decorative fretwork

“This is just where you want to have your morning coffee,” said a houseguest who was settled on the porch on a recent morning reading and enjoying a gentle early summer breeze.

The kitchen has attractive cup-pull hardware typical of the period, a good-size pantry and generous counter space. A back staircase off the kitchen has a window and leads to the second floor.

There is a full bath and four generous-size bedrooms on the second floor, one that has an old-fashioned sleeping porch. There is also a built-in linen cupboard with drawers.

The current rental unit has is composed of two floors with an open living room, dining room and kitchen, part of a that a freshly-painted remodel with recessed lighting that retains all the period character of the home. This unit has two bedrooms and a full bath on the first floor and two bedrooms and a half bath on the second floor. The front screened entry porch is spacious and inviting.

There is a two-car detached garage with loft storage space on Leighton Road and additional parking for the rental unit’s Homestead Road entrance.

Local historian Joshua Dorin notes that the house was built by Mary Barry Reardon, who was born in Ireland in 1852 and came to Wellesley as a child where she lived on the Hunnewell Estate with her mother and stepfather, the estate’s superintendent and head gardener. Later, widowed with young children, Reardon became a house mother in off-campus freshmen dormitories at the newly opened Wellesley College. In 1909, she built a house on Weston Road specifically for that purpose.

Reardon was among the first to purchase land when 20 acres owned by the Rollins family (Leighton was the maiden name of the Rollins family matriarch) was opened for the development of Leighton, Homestead and Appleby roads. The original building permit was issued for a two-family house at 12 Leighton Road designed by Boston architect Clinton Noble, and built by A.J. MacDonald of Newton Lower Falls.

The house is an early example of the Tudor Revival style with its steeply pitched gables, banks of casement windows, half-timbering and truncated side gables. Built of stucco with a slate roof, the house includes a side wall with a curved portal framed by an upper trellis. Of particular note are the beautifully crafted window muntins, a custom decorative feature that is repeated on the fretwork of the porches and interior glass cabinets.

Reardon built the two-family house for rental purposes, but in March 1914 a fire destroyed the main campus building and dormitory at Wellesley College and suitable homes in town were desperately needed for student housing. The house became a dormitory known as Leighton House and it accommodated 16 students and a house mother until the late 1920s. The house remained in the Reardon family as a rental property until they sold it in 1953. Subsequent owners have served as stewards of this special property.

 

DETAILS

Address: 12 Leighton Road, Wellesley

BR/BA: Eight bedrooms, two full and two half-baths

Size: 4,520 square feet of living space on a 0.28-acre lot

Age: 1910

Price: $1,748,000

Tax: $15,726

Features of home: This historic stucco colonial has wonderful curb appeal and has been lovingly maintained by the current owners who live in one four-bedroom unit and offer the other beautifully renovated four-bedroom part of the house as a rental property. Flexible future options include easy restoration to a grand single-family dwelling, a rental property or conversion to condos. Built as a two-family home in 1910, the house has a history as a one-time Wellesley College dorm. The house is rich in period detail with exquisite millwork and built-ins and has gracious rooms which include formal living and dining rooms, kitchens, grand covered screened porches, and four bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths in each home. The house has a prime location close to town center, train, shops, restaurants, library, schools and the Brook Path.

Close by: Hunnewell Elementary School

Contact: For more information, contact Coldwell Banker agents Marcey Hunter at 617-633-4407 direct or marcey.hunter@nemoves.com, or Beth Petrone at 617-901-0385 direct or beth.petrone@nemoves.com. This home may be seen by appointment.