30 Monkstown Road



The architect and builder


John Thomas Southcott was born in St. Johnís in 1853. One may say that he was born into building. His father James and his uncle John, had come to St. Johnís from Exeter, England in 1847 to assist in the rebuilding of the City after the 1846 fire. They were, for most of the next 50 years the major contractors in the City involved in both construction and design, operating under the name of J. & J.T. Southcott, and no firm had such a marked influence on the islandís architecture as did this firm. The range of their capabilities was profound as they built both the Heartís Content Cable Station and the St. Johnís Athenaeum, together with such residential properties as 34-36 Circular Rd, Park Place on Rennies Mill Rd, Park House on Military Road, Devon Row on Duckworth St. , and many houses that were constructed after the fire of 1892 including the stunning vernacular structures at 115, 117, and 119 Gower St. When building the Heartís Content Cable Station, it was said of James Southcott that he was : ďhard but honest: he would not drive a nail free, but what he said he would do, I could always rely on being doneĒ.


After an apprenticeship with J. & J.T. Southcott, John Thomas was sent to Exeter to study architecture with W.R. Best, who had been in Newfoundland from 1849-1855. Best was an architect and artist and during his time in Newfoundland he drew ten views of buildings in the City which were lithographed by W. Spreat and published by Frederick R. Page of St. Johnís. Best also drew ďA View of the Harbour and Town of St. JohnísĒ which was also published by Page. These views represent to this day, the best collection of illustrations of St. Johnís and its early 19th century architecture and are a testament to the capabilities of John Southcottís mentor and teacher.


John Southcottís return to St. Johnís in 1876 saw the general introduction of the Second Empire style to Newfoundland, which has come to characterize the architecture of the City. Its form and embellishments are outstanding, with concave-curved mansard roof, bonnet topped dormers, decorative cornices under the eaves, and bay windows. His work became known as the Southcott style and each year, in Southcottís honour, the Newfoundland Historic Trust presents the Southcott Awards for excellence in restoration of heritage structures.


30 Monkstown would have been designed and built shortly after John Thomas Southcott returned from his architectural training in England in 1876. And in fact, Johnís father, James, purchased the land from the Warne estate on May 10, 1878, and one would assume that the house was built shortly thereafter. As the house is on the 1888 Insurance Map of St. Johnís, it clearly would have been built some time between 1878-1888. The house was in the name of James Southcott until at least 1897 and possibly to 1910 or 1911, leading one to believe that James lived in the house for that period of ownership. His brother John lived at an adjacent Southcott house at 28 Monkstown Rd, where Mary Meager Southcott, operated a private hospital in her parentís home in 1903.


30 Monkstown Road


The House


Approaching # 30 on Monkstown Road, the original wrought iron fence envelops the front yard with a premonition of the architectural elegance inherent throughout the house.


The exterior facade exemplified the best of the Southcott design with great symmetry in the architectural elements identified above in the section dealing with the architect and the builder. This is truly the best of Southcott as it was designed by John Southcott and built by his father and brother James and John) under the name of J.& J.T. Southcott and owned and presumably occupied by James while his brother and uncle to architect John, lived next door at 28 Monkstown Rd


Entering through a long, side galleria, the terrazzo floor has endured over 120 years in fine form and leads to the grand entrance doorway with original cut and moulded lattice, evidence of the quality in detail to come.


Almost this entire fine home has been tenderly re-plastered with special attention given to the incredibly fine mouldings, arches, columns and rosettes throughout all levels, followed by professional interior painting to showcase the details.


A beautiful hallway with 11 foot ceilings and magnificent curved staircase has new hardwood and feels bright and airy due to an enormous arched window glazed in a combination of antique glass Ė etched ruby glass around the edges with centre panes of frosted glass.


A front cloakroom contains double closets and powder room with newly encased cast iron radiator, a new hardwood and tiled floor.


An impressive new custom-built kitchen mirrors the style and craftsmanship of the grand entrance doorway with the cut and moulded lattice over beaded glazing, utilizing the highest quality hardware throughout. This kitchen is large enough for family dining, has a cozy fireplace and door to the new cedar deck and mature garden and comes equipped with the best of stainless steel appliances.


The multi-tiered deck is carefully constructed of new cedar board to withstand any weather and rests on 23 cement pylons, while wrapped in maintenance-free aluminum posts and railings. The large garden has mature trees, colourful flower beds and sheltering the family is a tall, new custom built fence completely enclosing the space.


For formal entertaining, the grand living room and dining room are unexcelled both in style and grace. Large and ornate with newly repaired plaster walls and accents, separated only by a beautiful coffered archway and punctuated by two columns reminiscent of a narwhal tusk. Both rooms have fireplaces, hardwood floors, eleven foot ceilings and large bay windows.


Ascending the grand staircase the first door you come to halfway up on the landing opens into a cedar-lined closet for fur, wool and leather storage with ample room for luggage and footwear to keep them fresh. The walls in this area have stamped tin wainscoting from the original build and are in excellent condition.


The second floor rooms all have ten and a half foot ceilings, several examples of 19th century plaster ornamentation, all new windows and several closets. Three large rooms could be any variation of master, guest room, music room and den. A luxurious new main bath has full rain shower, heated floor, matching wall tile and very tasteful, modern fixtures. A second 4 pc bathroom, suitable for master or guest, is in vintage tile. A second cedar closet tucked into an exquisite arched alcove, safely stores linens and bedding.


Another doorway opens onto the third floor staircase leading to the entirely renovated third level. Here is another bedroom in total privacy, two beautifully appointed offices, each with a bevelled glass French door, built in shelving and itís own dormer window overlooking the exquisite neighbourhood. A large, open family room has an abundance of custom-built floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and new comfort carpeting. This level has had all new insulation put in ceiling and walls to complete the cozy feel. Attractive features of the third floor are the beautifully restored hooded dormer windows with all new window inserts. A third level 3 pc bathroom, newly tiled and renovated, has a nestled antique claw-foot tub overlooking downtown chimney pots. All ceilings on this level are eight and a half feet high.


The basement level is partially finished in a vintage functional style with pantries for several food storage methods Ė screened cabinets, glazed cabinets and open shelving. Thereís a room for tools or sporting equipment, another for workshop space, another for laundry (with high end washer and dryer) and storage with a final room opening out to the garden and convenient for storage of garden pots, tools and supplies. The full height of this level averages eight and a half feet.


The roof of the entire home has recently (one year ago) been redone with a torched-on finish. The home has eight original fireplaces, suitable for artificial logs only, but could be lined for safe wood-burning.


Enjoy the photos which follow and check out the dimensions of the house and various rooms at the end of the photos.


The asking price is $719,000. To schedule an appointment to view one of the finest heritage homes in the City, please call Chris OíDea at 685-6559



Click thumbnail below to enlarge image:


30 Monkstown
30 Monkstown from the front
From the rear showing new deck
Bay window detail
Eave braket detail
Facade detail 1
Facade detail 2
Facade detail 3
Front porch
Now that's a front entrance
Foyer from front entrance
Foyer towards front door
Foyer ceiling
Looking to landing and foyer
Gracious first floor stairway
Looking towards stair landing etched window
Outstanding stair landing etched window
Dining room towards drawing room
Dining room with outstanding plaster rosette
Dining room rosette
Drawing room plaster rosette
Drawing room
Spiral fluted narwhal column arch support
Second view of cornice and column between drawing room and dining room
Kitchen showing cabinet doors which pick up on design of front entrance
Kitchen with fireplace
Essential window over kitchen sink
Second floor bathroom 1
Second floor bathroom 2
Second floor architectural plaster detail
Master bedroom
Second floor den, which could serve as a bedroom
Second floor den 2
Second floor den 3 looking toward bathroom
Main floor powder room
One of two third floor offices
Hooded dormers from inside
Third floor bedroom
Third floor family room
Third floor family room showing built in bookshelves
Third floor bathroom 1
Third floor bathroom 2
Call Chris O'Dea at 685-6559 for an appt to view


Property size
Main Floor 1440
Second floor 1440
Third floor 1440
Basement 1440

Room sizes

Main floor

Living Room with fireplace 17 by 17
Dining Room with fireplace 17 by 20
Kitchen with fireplace 14.6 by 17
Foyer 8 by 22.6
Porch 6 by 21

2 pc powder room


Second level

Master bedroom 16 by 13.6
Bedroom or den 14.6 by 14.6
Bedroom 11 by 16

Two four piece bathrooms


Third level

Office which could serve as a bedroom 14 by 12
Office which could serve as a bedroom 15 by 14
Bedroom 17 by 13
Family Room 18 by 25

Three piece bathroom




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