REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Cliched-- not! Stonehenge condo defies stereotype
ADDRESS: 605 Whitcover Circle
YEAR BUILT: 1994
SIZE: 1,344 fin. sq. ft.
CURB APPEAL: 7 out of 10
LISTED BY: Jim Duncan Century 21 Manley Associates 242-7140
Regular readers of On the Block know that we're very big on clichés, and several came to mind as we toured this end-unit townhouse in Stonehenge.
"Don't judge a book by its cover" was the first one– there's so much more style and light inside this house than one would expect just driving or walking by that we were momentarily taken aback.
A second relevant cliché is "comparisons are odious." Generally, we expect cookie-cutter townhouses to fit Ronald Reagan's description of trees– see one, you've seen them all. But the difference between this pleasant modest contemporary and other almost identical units we've reviewed in other subdivisions is striking.
A straight walk from the designated parking spot in front leads to a small covered cement entry– it's too small to be called a porch– with three windows: an octagonal one (unexpectedly stylish in a sea of grey/brown, flat-front clones) at the foot of the interior stairs, two large ones in the living room proper, and another classy touch– a long single window beside the front door.
Inside, the initial impression is serenity and calm. The owner's spare oriental-influenced decor contributes to the effect, but oak floors, lots of light from large skylights in the cathedral ceiling, and an open design that almost incorporates an unexpectedly large dining area not separated by a wall also help.
The living room has a wood-burning fireplace with pretty mantel and an opening to the kitchen (not big enough to qualify as a pass-through, but enough to open up the space and contribute to the impression of flow).
The kitchen is small but serviceable. Although there are three bedrooms in the house– another bonanza completely unexpected from a drive-by glance– this small kitchen would seem to dictate comfortable living here for a couple at most. (It's hard to imagine two adults and a child not feeling claustrophobic on a long winter week of snow days.)
But the place is idyllic for a single person– just enough room to spread out (one of the two bedrooms upstairs could be an office or den, and the other, with its own bath, a guest room) and enough room in the kitchen to fix a nice meal for a cozy dinner party in the dining/breakfast room between kitchen and living room. The fully equipped kitchen (dishwasher, disposal, etc.) has maple cabinets and an interesting black/grey vinyl tile floor that's repeated in the master bath just around the corner.
The master bath is roomy, albeit with a fiberglass tub-surround (a pox on whoever invented those dismal things!) The tub does feature whirlpool jets, and, as mentioned, the trendy floor covering spiffs it up.Very large closets behind bi-fold doors provide lots of storage.
Upstairs the two bedrooms are tidy, and the larger one over the screened porch, with nice views to the trees, is bright. The second, smaller one, is more suited for a den or study as it has only one window and seemed dark even on the bright day we visited. In the "loft" at the top of the stairs– in a house without the cathedral living-room ceiling, this space would be the landing– is a closet for washer and dryer and the second full bath. The carpet on the floors up here looks new.
Condo fees are a reasonable $160/month, which seems modest compared to others considering the amenities at Stonehenge: pool, playgrounds, tennis courts, and use of the clubhouse.
The biggest problem we noted about this very appealing house is the access from Rio Road. Since we always avoid Rio Road at all costs because of what seems to be a stoplight every 500 feet, we can't really complain about our trouble coming and going lest the authorities stick one up here. But in truth, one man's meat is another man's poison. While one more stoplight would make life even more miserable for commuters on Rio, it would be a God-send for Stonehenge residents, especially any unlucky enough to want to turn left.
That's a minor quibble, however, considering all the allures of this sweet little place, itself the opposite of a cliche: original, surprisingly stylish, and winsomely appealing.
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Photos by Rosalind Warfield-Brown