Cabin fever: Rustic charm minutes from downtown

Address: 1979 Old Lynchburg Road
Year Built:
 1200 finished sq. ft., 800 unfinished
6.78 acres
Curb Appeal:
8 out of 10
Listing Agent:
Carter Schotta, Virginia Real Estate Partners, 434-531-3299

Traveling out Old Lynchburg Road, the landscape becomes increasingly rural, and it’s difficult to believe that downtown Charlottesville is mere minutes away. A few miles past the point where the four lanes of Fifth Street Extended shrink to the two lanes of Old Lynchburg, a winding gravel drive leads to a picturesque log cabin situated behind a split-rail fence bordered by rhododendron bushes.

Up a few steps along the side of the house, a covered porch leads to an entry that accesses a kitchen with numerous cabinets, modern appliances, and enough counter space to accommodate a whole host of cooking endeavors. A large deck spans the entire front of the home providing views of the park-like acreage in front and the mountain laurels in the woods along the side and rear boundaries.

Adjacent to the kitchen, the living room boasts a custom-built sofa, a huge stone fireplace, and a soaring ceiling highlighted by a balcony off the loft above. A tidy parlor, which could also be used as a den, home office or an additional bedroom, and a full bath complete the living space on the main level.

Upstairs, the loft contains two bedrooms with high ceilings and lots of storage space under the eaves, and the balcony that looks down onto the living room adds a touch of interest and whimsy.

Just off the kitchen, a set of stairs leads down to a generously sized area currently set up as a family room, a large walk-in storage closet, a full bath, a laundry area and another kitchen. With its own exterior access, a second stone fireplace, and a clear separation from the living spaces above, the lower level offers the possibility of use as a either a long or short-term rental.

Situated behind the home is a detached, two-bay garage with a workshop, a wood stove and a couple of rooms that could function as additional storage, an exercise area, or the perfect place for a ping-pong table.

A natural stream runs along the front portion of the property, offering the potential for housing livestock, and the property conveys with a division right, offering the possibility of a return on an investment. Plus, the planned construction of the Fifth Street Station shopping center, anchored by a Wegmans grocery store, will soon reduce the need for shopping treks north of town.

So what’s the downside?

Well, potentially the same attribute that makes the property so charming: it’s a log cabin, which holds appeal for some people, but may turn off others. Also, the floor plan is a bit choppy, and the lack of a bathroom on the loft level is a definite drawback. The bathrooms are on the small side, and there’s no real master bedroom. While the home seems ideal for a single person or even a couple, it’s difficult to imagine a family with kids being comfortable here full-time.

It's easy, however, to envision this cabin as the perfect weekend get-away. The yard is well-suited for quiet, contemplative strolls or casual cookouts with friends, but it's also large enough to host raucous family reunions with plenty of space for horseshoes, badminton and croquet. The diehard football fan who relishes having a cozy vacation house mere minutes from the action, or the UVA parents who want a second home so they can be comfortable while visiting their kid, or the workaday warriors who want a retreat with good access to breweries and vineyards, or even the savvy investor seeking a property to rent out during film festival and graduation weekends may find that this property offers a multitude of potential uses.

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You gotta love the thinking of people in this business. Sold for 175 in 2002 and 355 in 2006 at the crest of the bubble. How much income you need to service a 395 debt on this little "cabin in the woods" ?.Seems like an outstandingly bad deal to pay bubble peak prices for such a hovel, but then again reason goes out the window with real estate.

If I were looking for a 400K "week-end getta way" this prolly would not be the joint.

For this price, move to Florida's west coast and buy three homes.

For 395k no way. For a weekend gettaway, HA! For the amount of noise that close to Rivanna Gun Club, really no way. For, for, forclosure! Best way to get out of that bubble purchase price :)