Dating back 84 years, this Hampton Park Terrace house likely kept families comfortable in its heyday. But by the 2000s, it hadn't been lived in for some time.

"This was a mess," says Spencer Nash, recalling his reaction when he first entered the house.

Nash led an exhaustive, step-by-step makeover to renew the home, located at 356 Ashley Ave.

"I'm a landscape architect," says Nash, who also does remodeling work. He refurbished the Ashley Avenue house through a specially setup venture, Bowmen LLC.

Nash says he grew up in a vintage residence in North Carolina and knows "how to take a house with a cool character and not strip it of its lifeblood."

The work at 356 Ashley wrapped up last month, and the three-story home built of masonry block with stucco siding lists for sale at $600,000.

Ken Skidmore, Realtor with Prudential Carolina Sun and the listing agent, believes a slew of buyer types would find the property interesting, including someone who would want to build a swimming pool in the large backyard or people who favor the dwelling's closeness to downtown Charleston.

"This home is ideal for entertaining," Skidmore says in his listing flier.

But he feels there's one group that would be the most excited about the 3,006-square-foot house, which lends itself to a mixed use.

"I think the best world would be a couple that rents out the bottom." Along with collecting income, "the couple can grow (and eventually expand into the downstairs)," he says.

In reshaping 356 Ashley Ave., Nash knocked down non-structural walls to open up rooms, uncovered and spruced up old fireplaces and otherwise broadened the interior. A hallway disappeared, and what was probably a bedroom off the foyer was turned into the sitting area. He also updated the house, such as installing structured wiring and extra-insulated windows.

"It's still bigger than anything you would find in this area," Skidmore says.

The second floor stands as the main level, complete with a front porch, columns and a rear wooden deck. Inside features include quarter sawn heart pine floors, original built-in dining room cabinets and a retooled kitchen touting stainless steel appliances and marble countertops. Elsewhere, there's a "working hand carved fireplace," Skidmore says, as well as a new powder room and master suite with good-sized bedroom, walk-in closet and private bath sporting original wood floors and a rain shower.

The top story embraces two bedrooms, a laundry and full bath. Broad windows let in plenty of natural light.

Meanwhile, the renovated ground floor's separate "front" door as well as stairs from the second tier provide buyers with lots of options.

"The roughed in kitchen and separate downstairs laundry will allow this space to be converted into a rental unit, office or guest suite depending on the buyer's preference," Skidmore says in the listing.

Another perk, according to the Realtor: "To allow for a personal touch," buyers can choose carpet or wood in the master bedroom and chandeliers in the entry area and dining room.

Other highlights include:

. Off-street parking situated under a rebuilt carport.

. Ceilings raised to eight feet.

. The third floor bathroom pushed out to include a washer and dryer while maintaining the original tub.

Skidmore touts the expansive, "one-of-a-kind" yard, which showcases azaleas and palmettos against the professionally landscaped Bermuda grass lawn. A brick and metal fence edges the front sidewalk: There's a gate to enter the property.

Nash seems pleased about the final result. "It's been interesting," he says.

The home sits in a convenient spot, just two blocks from jogger-and-bicyclist-friendly Hampton Park and three blocks north of the Septima P. Clark Crosstown. Heading north, take Ashley Avenue above Calhoun Street and then the crosstown. Proceed about one-quarter mile. On the right at the corner of Congress Street is 356 Ashley Ave.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.

AGENT SPOTLIGHT

Agent: Ken Skidmore

Office: Prudential Carolina Sun Real Estate

Phone: 843-348-9202

Philosophy: "Over the past few years my partners and I have helped more than 100 clients through the short sale process. This has given us a unique perspective on distressed property. Now through new relationships and an improved economy we are able to use this knowledge to put undervalued property in the hands of talented individuals to help continue Charleston's growth and bring life back to some of its hidden gems."

www.realestate4charleston.com