200 Harrison Avenue: Life’s In Walking Distance

If you’re considering buying 200 Harrison Avenue in the City of Williamsburg, here are a few numbers you might want to consider.


This is the number of steps from the front door of 200 Harrison Ave to Zable Football Stadium where, on cool autumn Saturdays, you, your friends and your family could tailgate in the parking lot prior to a game against University of Richmond or James Madison University. No need to find parking spaces or to wait in traffic to leave. About 400 additional steps will get you to Paul’s Deli for a postgame beer and some grub.


This is the number of steps to Williamsburg Regional Library where plays, lectures, films and lazy afternoons of reading newspapers and books await. Two hundred and fifty more steps will put you on the doorstep of Aromas with their rustic setting, trendy artwork and steaming cups of latte and cappuccinos.


If you walk this number of steps from the doorstep of 200 Harrison Avenue, you will land on historic Duke of Gloucester Street, the shining jewel of Williamsburg. There you can dine at The Trellis or the Cheese Shop, or shop at R. Bryant Ltd. Or you can continue your walk all the way to the Capital Building.  On your walk, pity the people driving around looking for parking spots. The College of William and Mary is right across Jamestown Road.

If the Fitbit proximity to everything William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg doesn’t sell you on 200 Harrison Avenue, the house itself should close the deal. It is rare new city construction that feels decades old. The house combines history with modern, low maintenance conveniences.

Builder and designer John and Lisa Sawin’s original plan was to renovate the existing 1930’s Remick Residence, but, after working with the city, they decided to tear the house down and rebuild the exterior as close to the original as possible. In fact, it is one of a few new residential construction projects in the heart of the city. The Sawins maintained the home’s original pre-World War II charm without all the maintenance hassles of an old house. “Our biggest selling point is the design, “ said John. “ A house that feels old, but is brand new is a rarity.”

The exterior is handcrafted Spanish cedar and cement board that looks so much like old-fashioned clapboard that you are compelled to run your fingers over it just to make sure. The roof is a simulated slate with a life span of 60 plus years. The raised panel window shutters actually shut, and open. And the windows were specially developed to replicate the old double hung putty glazed sash windows of old, minus the draftiness. “Pella developed the windows just for this application,” said John. “You can’t tell the difference between the old windows and the new.”

Even the corner lot has been elegantly landscaped with brick sidewalks and the yard has been seeded with a drought resistant zoyza grass.

In an age of downsizing and smaller footprints, 200 Harrison delivers as well. The house is a very comfortable 2550 square feet, not too big, not too small. As new construction, the house maintains a traditional floor plan with modern redesigns that enhance natural light, space and flow. Every space is beautiful and useful.

The downstairs is a complete living area in itself with first floor master bedroom and bath, laundry room, open floor plan kitchen and family room with a limestone masonry fireplace.  The simple, yet elegant, dining room features built-in custom cabinets and buffet with sink. A cozy sunroom with tiled floors, vaulted ceilings and rustic wood beams salvaged from a North Carolina tobacco warehouse is the perfect place to read or have morning coffee.

A breezeway/mudroom from the garage to the kitchen boasts a sunny slate-tiled window seat for lush indoor plants or an herb garden.

The kitchen is the heart of a house that already radiates warmth.  The custom cabinets are painted a soft white. The counters and island are covered with complementary granite tops. The backsplash is a painted reclaimed brick that was carefully salvaged from the original home and is also used in the flooring of the breezeway/mudroom. Appliances are stainless steel and include a 5-burner gas range and a café door oven with overhead microwave convection oven. There is even a pullout spice rack.

The landing at the top of the stairs houses a library/study with built-in bookshelves. The two upstairs bedrooms are roomy and have individual custom bathrooms with historically accurate 1930’s black and white tile floors.  “Black grout gives the tile a modern update,” said Lisa.  The bathrooms exude style and charm while also incorporating modern conveniences and spaciousness.

After years of building some of the finest homes in the area, the Sawins understand that it’s the touches and textures that make a house a home. They spared none. 200 Harrison boasts Brazilian cherry floors throughout, a solid wood front door with brass hinges, bead board behind the library shelves, 1930’s style crystal doorknobs, shiplap on the walls in the breezeway and sunroom, and a tray ceiling in the living room.

The stair newel post was custom made to feel vintage and warm. ‘We hand made all the handrails, “said John. “ We spent a lot of time getting the handrails to look 150 years old.”  The trim throughout was designed to provide an old colonial feel. The real wow! detail, however, is the sill mounted, low voltage window candles that sweetly light at 6 p.m. and automatically shut off at midnight.

The location, the floor plan, and details make this a home for multiple lifestyles and any phase of life. A retired couple could easily live on the first floor and reserve the upstairs for visiting guests and family. A young family could room the kids upstairs and have a private suite down. The 300 square foot unfinished rec room over the garage sports a separate entrance and could be used as a teen hangout, a man cave, or a study spot for the college student in the family.

The bottom line is that 200 Harrison Avenue has it all, even a finished 1 ½ car garage, and two extra parking spaces off the rear alley. More than enough space for the new owners to park their cars and forget about them. After all, life’s in walking distance.

* Steps from the writer’s personal Fitbit.

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