HALLOWELL – Wreathed in ivy, vigorous gardens running the length of its south side, its red brick exterior and granite steps warmed by sun on a bright August morning, this Federal-era home presents a handsome – and intriguing – picture: Can the interior also be as beautiful?

Indeed it is, and then some. Not only is period character intact; more, the house has been thoroughly updated recently, so its contemporary appeal is just as great.

For example, the updated baths have marble sinks from the original Samoset resort. The Biasi boiler is new; hardwood floors, some original, some newer, are refinished; the electric is updated; and the kitchen has been redone. It features granite surfaces, lots of cherry cabinetry, new appliances including a five-burner gas range, a Bosch dishwasher and a stainless refrigerator. Not to mention a wonderful – and also new – soapstone fireplace and hearth, with a bakery oven. The two-sided fireplace is shared with the family room, which has a dining-table area in its oversized window bay, a lighted bar at the far end of the room, and a new half-bath handy.

Among the total of eight primarily decorative fireplaces are one in the dining room (note the leaded-glass china closet and lovely paneling) and two in the front double-parlor. Large pocket doors divide (or combine) the parlors, one of which has built-in shelving that suggests it could serve well as a library.

Floor-plan flexibility is a virtue of the 11-room, four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home, which measures 3,792 square feet, and has an attached two-car garage. There are three staircases: the formal front stairs; the middle, to-and-from-the-kitchen “breakfast stairs”; and a back stairway that ascends to a cool games room, where the dart board hangs in a custom cupboard, and a pool cue chalk dangles from an affixed cord. Yes, this is a fine home for a family.

The 0.34-acre property is close to the Vaughan Woods preserve (197 acres, three miles of trails); and the heart of a walkable downtown well-known for its shops, restaurants and pubs, and distinguished architecture. The home has seasonal views of the Kennebec River. An annual festival (Old Hallowell Day) and a weekly farmer’s market are other attractions that make Maine’s second-smallest city so desirable.

The home at 163 Second St., Hallowell, is listed at $449,000 by Jean Kirkpatrick of Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson in Augusta. Please contact Jean at 207-441-5611 or at [email protected].