Thomas Marchbanks
RE/MAX Elite
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Nellie Pidgeon House

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It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to represent the sale of a quiet/pocket listing that is absolutely the most incrediable home that you will see in Shelby County.  This is a rare and marvelous opportunity for you to discover a truly unique property. 

This landmark home located at 4275 Nellwood, consists of over 10,000 square feet and resides on approximately one acre in the heart of one of the most fashionable and convenient locations in Shelby County.  Seventy years after construction, this incrediable home has been totally and completely renovated to a state of perfection rarely seen in any renovations in any major city of the world.  The homeowners lovingly oversaw this three-year project where no expense was spared in maintaining and restoring, with old world craftsmanship, the original elegance of this stately home.  The meticulous attention to detail, the use of supremely luxurious finishes and fime fixtures, the addtional of state-of-the-art technology have brought this classic masterpiece into the new millennium and created a truly gracious lifestyle.

The home is quietly offered at Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars.  Its true value is in excess of Six Million Dollars. 

4275 Nellwood
The Nellie Pidgeon House was designed by well-known Memphis architect George Mahan and built for Nellie Pidgeon in 1936. It was located on the original Pidgeon horse farm property just north of Walnut Grove Road. The house is in the Pennsylvania Dutch style with stone and slate exterior. Double hung windows with working shutters and half-lite exterior doors add to the Pennsylvania Dutch style.

The house is built on massive poured concrete foundation walls. The two-by-six framing is fortified with steel beams throughout. The six inch framed walls are filled with cellulose insulation. Seventy-seven windows and fourteen exterior doors pierce the stone exterior. The slate roof is lined with copper gutters, which feed into the house's underground drainage system.

The main entrance to the house is located on the east façade adjacent to the three-car garage, where an outdoor fireplace and cozy porch provide a warm welcome. The north façade is highlighted by a copper gargoyle light fixture, which overlooks the parterre garden with its custom turned, limestone urn.

The lawn is palisade zoysia and watered by an underground irrigation system. The stone and iron fence add beauty and security to the property. Electric openers remotely control the double gates, and a driveway call box provides ease of use for guests. Exterior mechanical systems are neatly tucked away behind stonewalls and iron fences. Roof penetrations are visually kept to a minimum by careful placement and copper cladding.

Entry Hall

The original setting for the house was facing east, long before Nellwood Lane (named for Nellie Pidgeon) existed. The formal entrance to the house faced Pidgeon Road, from which direction the house would have been approached. This is still the main entrance to the house today, even though it is not at the "front" of the house.

The formal entrance sets the stage for the intricate detail to be found throughout the house. The lower level floor of the entry hall is clad in crab orchard stone over suspended slab. The ceiling fixture above is lead crystal, casting a lovely pattern onto the English lacquered ceiling. (These fixtures occur in other hallways throughout the house.) The introduction of a reoccurring theme juxtaposing rectangular passageways against arched first appears here. It reappears later in the secondary entry hall and in the living room. The wainscot paneling with dual pilasters leads to the upper level of the entry hall. A paneled wall conceals two secure storage closets, one of which is lined with pacific cloth for silver storage. The hardware is formal and decorative, and original to the house.

From the niche on the north side of the entry, two double doors lead to an exterior porch. Hidden inside the niche is a keypad for the alarm system. Great care was taken throughout the house to hide all electronics and modern technology. Thus, this "new" old home remains accurately in the 1930's.

Note the HVAC system over the entire house was specifically designed to represent the original boiler and convector heating system. The Maltese patterned grilles cover all baseboard supply and return ductwork, while the clover pattern covers the floor vents. All vents were custom sized and all grilles were custom made by Register and Grille Manufacturing Company in New York.


The lower ceiling makes the paneled library cozy. Both entry doors are integrated into the cabinetry with raised panels. All of the woodwork is lacquered with seven layers of black, English lacquer. The chandelier is original to the house while the Art Deco sconces are by Urban Archaeology. The cast iron arched fireplace with marble mantle surrounds a working, wood burning fireplace with gas starter. The brass and crystal hardware are original to the house.

Kitchen and Laundry Room

The large kitchen is the same lay out as the original metal cabinetry. The moldings and hardware were kept simple and utilitarian, as this was a room used only by the service staff originally. An Italian company called Varenna made the new cabinets. The laundry room cabinetry and the base cabinets in the kitchen are lacquered in "mandrino" red. The tall cabinets are clad in stainless steel.

The appliances are a home cook's dream. The range is a sixty-inch Wolf dual-fuel range with: four gas burners, a large gas French cooking top, a gas grill, and two dual-convection, electric ovens. A Dornbracht pot filler eliminates carrying heavy, water-filled pots to the range. Two Sub-Zero 611 refrigerator/freezers give more than thirty-two cubic feet of storage capacity along with two icemakers. The sink features two Dornbracht fixtures: the Madison high-spout faucet, and the profi spray set. The Insinkerator tap provides near-boiling water and cool drinking water from the reverse-osmosis water filtration system. There are five Miele convenience appliances in the kitchen: two full size dishwashers, a built-in coffee machine, a plate and cup warming drawer, and a steam oven.

The counter tops are Calcutta Gold marble. Note that the island top is a single slab with electrical and internet outlets in the center. The sink is integrated into a stainless steel bench. The floor tile is by Ann Sacks. All chrome hardware is original to the house, including the towel bar on the swinging door. The stainless steel cabinet hardware is Italian.

The nine-light chandelier is gold doré, a very fine antique original to the house. Its red, silk shades are hand made. It of course would not have been found originally in such a utilitarian space as the kitchen. After restoration, it was re-located here from the living room.

Breakfast Room

The breakfast room is a bit more "dressed" than the kitchen, as the family would have been served meals in this room. The crown molding has two pieces and the window and door casing return to the formal. But the hardware remains utilitarian in polished chrome. The simple cabinetry has Art Deco reed detailing with black and gold marble tops. These are useful as secondary serving areas for large parties. The storage drawers have self-closing rails and provide wide storage for linens and flatware. All shelves are adjustable and the uppers have a plate rails for china display.

The paneled bay with double hung windows provides room for a large table. The chandelier is antique French with gold doré. The gold and red silk shades are handmade. The two exterior doors lead to a porch and a terrace.

Dining Room

The large dining room is one of the most formal rooms in the house. The crown molding consists of three different profiles. The windows each are dressed with eighteen individual pieces of molding. The hardware is no longer strictly utilitarian, but is decorative in brass and crystal. The cabinetry is also no longer simple, as the built-in corner cabinets are the highlight of the dining room. The shells and curved shelves are of plaster. The cabinet below has two double raised-panel doors on each cabinet. The antique chandelier was purchased in England approximately fifteen years ago. The sconces were purchased in 2004, and are antique French Bagué. The silk shades are custom made by hand to suit these specific fixtures. Note how the English lacquered ceilings and walls sparkle with reflected light. The silk brocade drapery fabric is from Old World Weavers with Samuel and Sons trim.

This room is sized for formal dining and entertaining. The combination of the enormous capacity of the kitchen, the space and seating capacities of the breakfast and dining rooms make for the perfect home for entertaining. Formal seated dinners for twenty are a breeze. Informal, buffet-style dinners for thirty or more flow easily. And, caterers love this house. Full dinners for over one hundred have been catered out of this kitchen and served from this dining room.

Living Room and Sun Room

The living room is the other formal space in the house. The focal point is the antique French marble surround of the fireplace. It was an antique when it was installed in 1936, and was cut down slightly to fit this firebox. The niche to the south of the fireplace matches those in the dining room. The arched top of the niche is in opposition to the rectangular passageway to the north. The same three-step crown molding found in the dining room is repeated here. The paneled bay window adds formality while providing space for extra seating.

Originally, the sunroom was an exterior porch. The crab orchard stone floors and sloped ceiling remain, but the wood siding has been replaced with plaster. The double hung windows, double doors, and two-piece crown molding were added to bring the space up to interior quality. The "alligator" wallpaper is by Clarence House. The drapery fabric in both rooms is Brunschwig et Fils with Samuel and Sons trim.

The sizes of the living room with the adjacent sunroom add to the ease in entertaining of this house.

Powder Room

The powder room is clad with glass in a nod to the original hand-painted glass walls. The white milk glass is original to the house. The homeowner designed the lay out. It has been installed with a hand-made glass "baseboard and crown molding". The floor is cubed with Nero Marquina, Calcutta Gold, and Giallo Sienna marbles. The vanity is of black and gold marble. The plumbing fixtures are by Lefroy Brooks. The deck-mounted, chrome torcheres are original to the house. The small, brass chandelier was originally found in the hallway between the master bath and closet. Its black, silk shades are hand made.

As in all of the bathrooms, the architectural detailing reverts back to being more utilitarian than decorative. The chrome hardware on the door, bin window, and mirror are original. The casing also incorporates chrome detailing that is repeated throughout the bathrooms.

Hallways to Master Suite

The hallway off of the formal entrance maintains that formality with a two-piece crown molding, heavy casing, and brass and crystal hardware. Note that the hallway is almost six feet wide and contains a coat closet. The hallway to the Master Suite is less formal with a single profile crown molding. The wallpaper is "Golden Lily" by William Morris. The hand-blocked lilies shimmer in the sunlight that comes through the window by day. The sunlight is also reflected in the floor-to-ceiling antiqued mirror panels on the west wall.

Master Suite

Originally the master suite consisted of a large bathroom with hand-painted mural ceiling, a bedroom with fireplace, a sitting room, and an exterior porch. The bedroom and sitting rooms had doors leading to the porch, while the bathroom housed the closet. The modern iteration of this suite consists of the bathroom, the closet, the bedroom, and the sitting room with a theater.

The bathroom is clad in Ann Sacks Metropole glass tile. The baseboard, crown molding, and floor border are Jerusalem Gold Marble. The field tile on the floor is honey onyx. The floors are heated by water circulated from the boiler system through pex tubing imbedded under the floor. The vanities and shower curb are Sienna onyx. The vanities, tub, and shower fixtures are Lefroy Brooks. The toilet is Toto with a "washlet" electric bidet seat. The Roman tub is Italian and is made of high-tech acrylic. The sconces are Urban Archaeology, and the medicine cabinets are Robern. The chandelier was purchased in England for this bathroom and is English, circa 1910. The gilding and lead crystal drops are all original. The unique, stainless steel shower enclosure was custom made in Germany by MWE hardware. The water closet has a motion sensor that activates the light and the exhaust system on a set timer. After the motion ceases, the light and fan shut down after a given amount of time. The shower also has a motion sensor to activate the shower exhaust. This remote fan excavates steam from the shower rapidly, keeping mirrors, lights, and furniture fog-free. (All five showers in the house have this same motion sensor and remote fan.)

The closet was originally a sitting room and is dressed formally with heavy casing and decorative hardware. The entrance door has an original mirror framed into the closet side. The Italian Walnut cabinetry is by Poliform. The frosted glass doors conceal hanging space and drawer stacks.

The west wall cabinetry houses pullout shoe storage two rows deep with shelves above for hat and bag storage. The original closet for this sitting room is a convenient place to store over-flow supplies for the bathroom.

The focal point of the bedroom is the Cararra marble fireplace flanked by recessed, paneled windows. The ceiling fan is from Matthews Fan. The new sitting room is a Boothroyd Meridian theater.

Hallway to Bedrooms

The hallways to the other three bedrooms are dressed more formally. With an exterior door leading to the parterre garden, they served as a secondary entrance. The crown molding consists of two profiles that integrate into dressed beams separating the spaces. The casing is heavy with another arched opening opposed to a rectangular opening at opposite ends of the central hallway. The arched opening is paneled with double doors that lead to the living room. The carved musical instruments are original to the house. Note the three large closets concealed in these spaces. William Morris' "Golden Lily" reappears, linking this space with the other end of the house.

West End Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Originally the two bedrooms on the southwest end of the house formed a "mother-in-law" suite consisting of two bedrooms and bathrooms, even with a doorbell outside in the hallway. One bedroom is smaller with its own bathroom while the other is essentially a second master suite. The larger bedroom has a fireplace with marble and granite surround, and a paneled bay window. The bedroom on the northwest end of the house features a second-level, covered porch with copper floor and swing. All of these bedroom closets have built-in drawer stacks, lights, and ipod docks.

Each bathroom while very unique in appearance, have similar attributes. All tile and fixtures were chosen with loyalty to the 1936 vintage of the house. The vanity, tub, and shower fixtures are all made in England by Lefroy Brooks. The tubs are cast iron with marble surrounds. The Robern medicine cabinets provide convenient storage. The sconces are by Urban Archaeology with the exception of the second master bath, which are original to the house. The German made stainless steel shower hardware provides unobstructed views of the tile and fixtures inside the showers.

West Basement

The west basement was originally only finished from the stairwell and hallway into the current theater. The rest of the basement was a service area with bathroom and storage for staff use. Care has been taken to bring the entire basement space up to "interior" standards. All moldings were copied from originals to match exactly the details found on the main level of the house. The nearly one foot poured concrete foundation walls and steel beams used to support the house above are dressed in the same molding and raised paneling found upstairs. The floors are white porcelain hexagon tile with black "dots" and borders throughout.

The wet bar's "oliva" lacquered cabinetry was made in Italy by Varenna, the same manufacturer of the kitchen cabinetry. The bar houses a Sub-Zero integrated wine cooler with two refrigerator drawers, a Sub-Zero integrated ice machine, and a Miele dishwasher. The blanco sink has an Insinkerator garbage disposal and Dornbracht faucet. Both the faucet and the icemaker are connected to the reverse-osmosis water filtration system. The counter top was made by suspending mother-of-pearl in concrete and then polishing it to a smooth finish. Adding to the service convenience of the bar, two Nero Marquina marble countertops in the pass-through between the hallway and game rooms act as buffets or bars for large parties.

The billiards room is the perfect size for a standard size table with ample light provided by the long, suspended, pleated shade. The remaining space is perfect for a game table and extra seating. The basement bathroom has an exterior door linking it to the west lawn. The bathroom fixtures are Lefroy Brooks with Urban Archaeology sconces. The glass tile design is by the homeowner and manufactured by Ann Sacks.

The highlight of this basement is the main theater for the house. Vidikron manufactured the projector for the one hundred inch screen. The main audio components are Boothroyd Meridian. Details about this system can be found at Underground Sound. However, to give an idea of their power, these four speakers with built-in, individual amplification required two B&W sub woofers, foam insulation between the concrete foundation walls and wood studs, and sound proofing insulation in the ceiling. Poliform manufactured the library-style cabinetry in Italy.

East Basement

The east basement was originally entirely for staff use. The exterior door gave way to a gardening sink and 1/2 bath. There were built-in closets housing bounty from the house's gardens. It has been finished with porcelain tile flooring and window stool, apron, and casing. A wall was built to separate the mechanical systems from the finished space. The powder room glass tile is Ann Sacks "Metropole" with marble base and cap. The powder room and stairwell wallpaper is "Hick's Hexagon" by David Hicks. The space is heated and cooled making it a perfect location for gym equipment, game tables, video games, etc.

Art Gallery and Studio

Originally the full staircase in the west end hallway led only to attic space. This space is the only square footage that has been added to the original house. The footprint of the house has never been altered. The lines of the roof pitches lend themselves to an "inside-out" barn style space. The wood cladding is coated in Farrow and Ball's "Blazer", a true Vermilion red. The twelve-inch pine floors are antique. The Gallery hardware and lighting are by Tech. The homeowner designed all of the railing, balusters, and built-ins. The suspended lamps are from Urban Archaeology. The "head light" sconces are from Circa lighting.

The highlight of the full bathroom is the freestanding Calcutta gold marble shower. The antique pine floor is inlaid with the same marble under the Kohler "hatbox" toilet and the LaCava sink. The plumbing fixtures are LaCava. The accessories are Urban Archaeology.

Mechanical Systems

There are four mechanical rooms located inside the house. The main mechanical room is on the south end of the west basement. It houses three of six Carrier "infinity" HVAC systems. Each system has electrostatic and UV filtration along with humidifier and de-humidifier. Individual zones with thermostat control provide individualized comfort throughout the house. Three Munchkin boilers provide hot water to heat exchangers in these systems making forced air heating without gas flames or electric coils possible. These same boilers send hot water through coils inside of two eighty-gallon stainless steel storage tanks heating 160 gallons of potable hot water (again with no flame or electric coil). Both tanks can be reclaimed in about twelve minutes.

Two of the homes four 200-amp electrical panels along with their luttron counterparts are also located here. All four panels are wired through an 800-amp transfer switch located on the south side of the house. A pad has been poured for a future generator.

A trap door provides access to crawl space that leads to the east basement. The second mechanical room is located there and houses one HVAC unit and the other 200 amp electrical panels with luttron counter parts. The remaining HVAC units are suspended over the master and guest bedrooms in attic space.

The mechanical room on the main level houses electronics and technology. Control panels for the intercom system, security system and structured wiring are located here along with the AMX control system. All other audio/video components linked to televisions and speakers throughout the house are located here as well. Integrated systems include the alarm system with gate control, the lighting system, and all audio and video throughout the house. Wiring for future installation of cameras is in place and already wired into the system.

The fourth mechanical room is located in what was originally a wine cellar. This concrete room houses the whole-house water filtration system. A water softener removes chlorine and other deposits/additives from showers and laundry while a reverse-osmosis system further filters drinking water. The house is the first in Memphis to be plumbed using pex tubing. This flexible pipe has been used in Europe for the past twenty-five years. The material can expand up to two times its size, and if it is breached, can be repaired with a simple splice.

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