Enclaves: Avalon Drive in Rocky River

88 single-family homes | Median appraised home value: $632,750
It’s like a regular neighborhood with sidewalks and homes fairly close together — only the most perfect one you could imagine. Most of the homes were built before 1950 and, while they are largely traditional, they each have their charms, from French Normandy- style homes to classic English Tudors, Cape Cods and brick Georgians. This is the most prestigious street in the most prestigious neighborhood in the most prestigious city on the West Side.

Of course, it’s also nice to have the lake in your backyard — and to be able to walk to Rocky River Park or up to the stores and restaurants on Lake Road. Take a stroll down Avalon and you’ll see children playing, dogs, joggers and lots of landscaping trucks. The grass could not get any greener.

The Original

Standing in Donna Price’s Rocky River home, it’s hard to tell if it’s old or new. The truth is, it’s both. The renovation of their Avalon Drive property began with the demolition of all but two walls. The rest of the 6,800- square-foot house came up around those walls over the next nine months.

The result is a house that has the best of both worlds — the charm of an older home, but the closets, garage space and modern capabilities of a new home.

Donna, who grew up in Cincinnati, came to River after a two-year stint in Florida for her husband’s work. There, they lived on a small street on the Intercoastal Waterway within walking distance of restaurants and stores.

When looking for a house up here, she wanted three things: to be on the water, to be able to walk places and to be in a top school district (of her three children, one was still at home).

She stops in her tracks, turns around and laughs when asked if she found waterfront property here to be affordable. “Compared to South Florida? Yeeahhh.”

About the house: It has five bedrooms, five full baths and two half baths. Common rooms include a study, living room, great room, sunroom and a lowerlevel recreation room complete with custom knotty-pine walls, a full-service bar, pool table and stone fireplace. There is also a small room for the dogs and a computer room upstairs.

The one room never used: The kitchen is huge, with painted white cabinets, a mammoth island and lots of light. It is, notes Donna, rarely used for the function of cooking. Even during her annual Christmas bash, the caterers set up in the garage because so many people hang out in the kitchen.

Donna’s thoughts on tear-downs: “I think you have a moral responsibility to stay true to the character of the neighborhood.”

Details: The entire house is full of special touches and surprising elements — all of which were planned by Donna. An example: One of the walls in the great room was made from rolled field stone, the same material used on the fireplace.

Another wall is covered in beadboard.

The antler chandelier was handmade in Leelanau County, Michigan, where Donna has a vacation home.

There is an old telephone hanging on one wall, a wood fish sign on another. The view: Sitting in the sunroom, you are only about 20 feet from the drop-off to the lake. Steps descend to a private beach.

Insiders who live here:
Notables include John Lance (of Ford dealership fame); Gregg Foster, president of Elyria Foundry Co.; developer John Ferchill; and Todd Amsdell, part of the family who founded U-Store-It.

Appraised Value Side of Avalon Square Feet # of Bedrooms $ of Baths Year Built
$1.98 million North 5,386 6 6 1940
$1.85 million North 5,787 4 9 1989
$1.76 million North 4,478 6 6 1933
$1.73 million North 7,078 4 7 1998
$1.72 million North 5,203 4 5 1951
$1.7 million North 6,548 6 5 1929
$1.59 million North 5,093 6 4 1924
$1.54 million North 6,842 4 5 1997
$1.53 million North 3,776 5 5 1930
$1.51 million North 3,784 5 4 1953
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