Crozet cottage: Beat tracks to this tiny charmer

Address: 5859 McComb Street
Year Built:
 884 fin. sq. ft.
.18 acres
Curb Appeal:
6 out of 10
  Amy Webb, Nest Realty 434-760-1319

How much is there to say about an 884-square-foot house? Quite a lot, actually, at least in the case of this Crozet bungalow.

First and foremost, the negatives: the house faces the railroad tracks, which are immediately across the street and will almost certainly be a deterrent for some potential purchasers, despite the romance of rail travel and the dramatic mountain views beyond. And access to McComb Street itself is a bit inconvenient these days, what with a $13.5 million expansion tying up Jarman’s Gap Road. But a quick nip through the post office parking lot delivers would-be home-buyers almost to the door of this little gem.

Entering from the front porch, visitors are immediately confronted by two doors. Why two? No one seems to know. A center wall extends nearly the entire length of the interior, evidence that the building was once divided into two units, though just why remains a mystery.

The unassuming exterior stands in sharp contrast to the style and sophistication within. Completely renovated, the house features high ceilings, hardwood floors, decorator paint colors, track lighting, and windows galore. The kitchen, open to the living room, has a bi-level breakfast bar large enough to seat four, as well as a full complement of appliances.

Just off the kitchen, room described as a "parlor" would be perfect for either a home office or a den. A built-in desk of reclaimed boards from a Louisana barge spans one corner and provides a prime spot for either a computer or a television. A large airy bedroom, walk-in closet, and small-but-glamorous bathroom finish out the indoor living space, while a laundry room leads to a two-level deck overlooking the spacious backyard, fenced on three sides. Add a gate on either side and the yard would be a safe haven for pets.

First-time buyers looking for an affordable segue from apartment life to homeownership would do well to consider this cozy cottage, as would folks leaning toward a condo but bemoaning the lack of garden space. The backyard offers ample room for plantings, and the vinyl siding and tin roof help mitigate maintenance concerns. Those who hanker for the convenience of city living might be tempted by this small-town version with several restaurants, a library, and the Crozet Farmer’s Market all within easy walking distance. 

Currently leased, this house has immediate utility as a rental, but there are other possibilities to consider:  the house could be an attractive alternative to a hotel room for out-of-town football fans, weekend winery visitors, or families of graduating college students.

It’s worth noting that smaller-scale housing is making an appearance on the Crozet real estate scene. Craig Builders has recently introduced a series of attached homes, the Traveler Cottages, over at Old Trail Village. Though these units will have the amenties buyers expect in new construction, they’ll also have less square footage, higher asking prices, HOA dues, and no backyards. Maybe living by the railroad track is looking better?

A house of this size in this location is not for every buyer, but for someone with vision, 5859 McComb Street may be a small house with surprisingly big potential.
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