Potential a-plenty: '70s alive and well in Canterbury Hills

Address: 2406 Smithfield Road
Canterbury Hills
Year Built:
 2,356 fin. sq. ft.
0.49 acres
Curb Appeal:
7 out of 10
Listing Agent:
  Susan Reppert, Roy Wheeler Realty Co., 434-825-4868

Canterbury Hills is an enclave of houses just off Barracks Road that sees relatively little turnover in ownership. In fact, 2406 Smithfield Road is one of just five parcels that have been introduced to the market in the past five years. With easy access to shopping, restaurants, and schools, it’s easy to understand why folks who move to Canterbury Hills tend to stay put.

Like most of the other houses in this subdivision, this one is of a certain vintage– specifically, 1971. It shares a cul-de-sac with three other dwellings, providing a prime area for kids to play basketball or ride bikes, and partially wooded half-acre lot seems to complement the wood-and-brick siding. 

One word of caution: if road noise is objectionable, this may not be the place for you. The 29/250 Bypass lies just beyond the fence, and cars are both visible and audible from the kitchen. Ringing the yard with some leyland cypress or other fast-growing trees would go a long way toward insulating both yard and house from traffic noise.

It’s difficult to classify the style of the place. The main living areas are on the lower levels with bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, but the layout doesn’t follow a traditional split-level design. A sheltered entry leads to a small vestibule with a spacious living room off to one side and a very roomy kitchen straight ahead. A dining room separates the two, and sliding doors lead to a deck overlooking the backyard.

Upstairs, three bedrooms and two full baths offer ample sleeping quarters, but the most interesting spaces lie on the lower level, several steps down from the kitchen. A large family room with built-in bookshelves and a wood-burning fireplace, a full bath, and a room that would serve equally well as home office or bedroom provide the flexibility to accommodate teenagers or visitors. And while the laundry room currently doubles as a workshop, it could easily become a craft area, playroom, or secure housing for pets.

A path at the back of the subdivision leads to the Bypass, placing both UVA's Darden and Law schools within walking distance. Crossing a four-lane thoroughfare where vehicles may legally travel 55 miles per hour may sound crazy until one considers the time it would take to reach the same destination via the University bus system: a bit like going around your elbow to get to your thumb.

Does the house show its age? Sure. But age is a function of deportment as well as chronology, and finishes like hardwood floors, crown molding, and chair rail lend an element of elegance.  A number of the more dated features– the single vanities, parquet floors and dark paneling and cabinets– are easy to update. Removing the baseboard heaters, which function only as a back-up source of heat, would do wonders for the look. Replacing the sliders with French doors and updating or even adding some windows would add a little sophistication. And though the exterior finish complements the natural setting, painting the wood and brick the same color might provide a more modern finish. The possibilities are plentiful.

Priced just under assessment, the house appears to be a fair value in today’s market, especially for purchasers seeking a central location. And for those buyers open to embracing and perhaps even showcasing the vintage, this place offers a blank canvas upon which to express creativity.

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