Swallowtail Cottage: Birds and butterflies abound in Free Union

Address: 1813 Old Orchard Road
Free Union
Year built:
1,904 finished sq. ft., 400 unfinished
.47 acres
Curb Appeal:
8 out of 10
Listing Agent:
Jennifer Robertson, The Realty Dot, Inc. - 877-267-0349

Surrounded by a screen of 135 Leyland Cypresses, the tidy white home known as Swallowtail Cottage is easy to miss, but well worth finding. Situated on just under a half-acre, the home appears on first impression to be upstaged by the meticulously maintained gardens that enhance the landscape. With a dedicated butterfly garden, separate herb bed, and edible landscaping that includes Concord grapes and dwarf persimmons, the grounds are a living testament to the efforts, talents, and enthusiasm of the master gardener who lives here.

A tour of the house reveals that the care and attention evidenced outside carry over to the interior of the home, as well. 

The front entry opens directly onto a room divided neatly into living and dining areas. Crown molding and French doors lend a touch of formality, while a large bay window allows plenty of light and affords a lovely view of the front yard and gardens.

The kitchen is spacious and sleek with gleaming wood floors, track lighting, a flat surface cooktop, and both stainless steel and butcher block counter surfaces. Double convection ovens, loads of cabinet and counter space, and a center island offer plenty of room for cooking endeavors, and a glass door leading to the terrace provides easy access to the nearby herb beds.

Down the hall leading to the bedrooms, a full bath has been artfully renovated with a new shower body, custom finishes, and a chimney cupboard repurposed as a storage cabinet. 

The master suite is airy and bright with a large closet and an attached bath with a walk-in shower. The guest room– currently serving as a home office– would provide comfortable quarters for visitors.

Stairs lead down from the kitchen to a tiled room that accesses the remainder of the house. On one side, a plain wooden door leads to a large, unfinished area that’s home to the laundry facilities, a large storage area with built-in shelves, and a tidy workshop. Along the other side, a glass door opens onto a lovely suite that includes a sitting area with fireplace, a full bath, and a sliding doors that lead to a terrace in the side yard.

A reverse osmosis water system ensures quality drinking water for the home while a hybrid hot water heater helps reduce utility costs. To aid in the upkeep of the outdoor enhancements, a garden shed with a stone foundation, custom exterior trim, and bead board interior sits off to one side of the home.

Securely contained behind its living border, Swallowtail Cottage is an attractive and interesting addition to the market, though one that isn't necessarily for the average purchaser. While the hard work of creating the extensive gardens has already been done, they beds have to be weeded and the plants must be maintained. Gardening may not qualify as work for some, but it isn't a passion shared by everyone.

The size of the home will likely be a limiting factors, as well. Large families may find the quarters too cramped for comfort, despite the functionality of the outdoor areas.

And then there's the price. Though the assessment doesn't reflect the interior upgrades (and the connection between assessed value and list price is tenuous at best), there's still a noticeable disparity that may give pause to some prospective purchasers. And the price itself is challenging: there are currently over 100 homes in this range for sale in the area.

Though Swallowtail Cottage offers a lovely sanctuary, it could take a while to find the right purchaser to appreciate it sufficiently to make it his or her new home.

Each week, a brave local seller invites the Hook in for a candid, warts-and-all review. Email to schedule yours today.

Note: The info above the story originally gave the wrong date of construction and the wrong address. The house was built in 1973, not 2010; the address was 1813 Old Orchard Road, not 813 Old Orchard Road.

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But there's a Butterfly garden ! Lol.

MallWalker - I have that too, deer, chipmunks, bluebirds - all sorts of wild life ... I'm constantly astounded at not only what some homes list at but what some people pay for them when there are better bargains even in this area.