Where We Live: A Freemason penthouse with views from three terraces

  • The Pilot House on W. Bute St. in Norfolk (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Entrance to the Pilot House (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Docks along the back side of the condos (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Walkway along the dock (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Looking east along West Bute Street (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Pilot House from the boat docks (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

  • Dining room of the Franklin's Pilot House condo (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • The condo's kitchen (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Looking through the dining room to the living area (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Living room with a terrace just outside (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Looking from the living room back toward the dining room (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Additional living area, including a fireplace, with a second terrace beyond (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • The condo's large living area includes two separate seating areas (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Additional living space with a built-in and the pass-thru to the kitchen (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Looking across the living room to the terrace and the view beyond (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

  • Downtown Norfolk as seen from the main terrace (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Terrace seating area with buildings in the background (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Another view from the terrace (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • The condo's three terraces have a multitude of seating choices and accompanying views (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • One of the hallways in the condo (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Looking from the hallway toward the master bedroom (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Book shelves in the master bedroom, with the view beyond (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Built-in display unit in the master bedroom (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Another view of the terrace and the view from the master bedroom (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Storage and dressing area off the master bedroom (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • The master bedroom's en suite bath (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Unique bathing area with the view outside (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Double vanity in the en suite (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Book shelves in the room being used as a home office (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • Guest bedroom with access to another terrace (Photo by Rami Yoakum)

  • View of the Elizabeth River on a sunny day (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

  • Sunny day view of Downtown Norfolk and the Freemason District (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

  • A day in the sun on the main terrace (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

  • One of the many beautiful views from the Franklin's terraces (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

  • A great place to sit and read or to catch some rays (Photo by Carl Unterbrink)

NORFOLK — Imagine having a terrace where you can sit and watch river traffic flow by.

Or maybe you dream about having a private spot from where you can lounge at night and look at the bright lights of a city skyline.

Why stop at two: How about having three separate terraces with three spectacular views to choose from on any given day or night?

Such is the life of Phil and Suzanne Franklin in their top-floor penthouse condominium at the Pilot House on W. Bute St. in Norfolk’s Freemason District.

“We use the terraces all the time,” said Suzanne. “We have a date night every Friday on the front terrace … We also entertain frequently on that terrace, having drinks there then walking to Voila or Omar’s Carriage House for dinner.”

Both restaurants are close by, just a short stroll of a block or two along the quaint cobblestone streets.

Suzanne said they also use the front terrace, which can be accessed from the master bedroom, for reading and gardening.

“We love to see the city lights from there at night, especially when the office buildings are lit for the holidays,” she added.

In addition to views of Downtown Norfolk, just across the Elizabeth River are Downtown Portsmouth, Hospital Point, and the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.

The river itself provides endless hours of entertainment, including one event the Franklins look fondly back on when a large cruise ship was preparing for departure at the Half Moone Cruise terminal.

“All the passengers were gathered on the various decks to watch the departure when an aircraft carrier cruised by, leaving the Norfolk Naval Shipyard,” Suzanne said. The crew was standing on the carrier deck at attention of course, and the passengers on the cruise ship started cheering and whistling at the carrier, which looked like it was no more than a few feet away. Most passengers on the cruise ship had probably never seen an aircraft carrier before, whereas we who live in Hampton Roads take those sightings for granted.”

Inside, the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom condo offers 2,800 square feet of living space, a relatively open floor plan, and – when the weather isn’t fit for sitting on a terrace – some pretty good views from the inside.

For more information about the penthouse condominium, visit Howard Hanna Real Estate Services online.

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