REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Fit for a king: A 'royal' Greene county spread


ADDRESS: 94 Lexington Court



ASKING: $1,495,000
ASSESSMENT: $495,200

SIZE: 3,500 fin. sq. ft. 1,500 unfin.
LAND: 8.0 acres
CURB APPEAL: 9 out of 10
LISTED BY: Loring Woodriff 466-2992 

So let's say eccentric great-aunt Edith– whom you never liked much, even though she was a millionairess– has gone on to sunnier climes; and now you, her only relative and heir, are ready to shop for some swanky digs. Bring out your trusty laptop, open to the MLS search page, and start clicking.

Let's see... four bedrooms minimum, lots of stone, tile baths, steam showers, in-floor radiant heat, two-car garage, killer views, privacy, curb appeal, exposed beams, native stone fireplace, transoms over windows– whew!– mahogany floors– and (why not? you're rich, after all)– a turret!

Okay, that's what you want; now to locate it. Click, click...

Let's see... Albemarle County, of course– what else could possibly be first?– Charlottesville's convenient, but no views. Nelson's pretty good... but it's on the way to Lynchburg... hmm. Yep, that about sums it up.

Ah, but notice: the one location it never occurred to you to click, Mr. or Ms. new millionaire, is Greene County.

And that's too bad, because that means you won't find this unusual property that suits your requirements to a T: a brand-new house perched on the side of a hill near Blue Ridge School in "St. George," a location we've never heard of, but which seems fitting considering this isn't just any house– it's a castle!

This property was built by a builder for himself, and that says something about the quality of the materials (if not necessarily about the practicality of all the design elements). Even a quick walk-through reveals interesting details.

The reclaimed (not manufactured) stone floor of the circular foyer (under the turret!) leads directly to a large open area that one might expect to be the living room, but which turns out to be the kitchen– with a sort of den/family room appendage. Not expecting to land in the kitchen right inside the front (albeit beautifully arched) door, we were momentarily taken aback, even considering the presence of an unusual wet bar made from an antique sideboard purchased just up the road in Stanardsville. (The laundry/mudroom is also just off this elegant entryway, another weird positioning.)

But once over the surprise of entering a castle through the kitchen, we were impressed by the room itself: reclaimed pine in exposed beams and a huge center-island topped by butcher-block and an unusual (and beautiful) "dragon red" granite (what else in a castle?).

Mahogany floors (with that hot-water radiant heat you want) connect the kitchen and den to the formal living room (with huge windows) and dining room and extend into the first-floor master suite. A massive stone chimney in the living area isn't particularly unusual 'til one notices a built-in waterfall. That's right: a waterfall. Of the approximately 300 houses we've reviewed for On the Block over the years, we've never seen a waterfall built into a chimney... but then, this is the first Greene County castle we've seen. Maybe they all have one.

The dining room is also a bit odd, seeming to be too far from the kitchen because of the intervening "den" and living room. But a little back-hall connector makes the room almost part of the kitchen. A door here leads to a patio with outdoor fireplace and impressive stone wall, reinforcing the protected feel of the place (after a heavy rain, it might conceivably be a moat).

The huge master suite beyond the dining room has a tray ceiling, and the windows, like many in the house, are topped by gorgeous transoms. The master bathroom has travertine marble floors, walls, and steam shower, casement windows, and a large dressing room.

Back near the entrance, a curving stairway leads to the second level with three more bedrooms, one intended to be the "real" master, with plush grey carpeting and forced-air heat instead of the mahogany floors. (Why? The agent suggests most people want to step out onto carpet in the morning, but the carpet, while presumably toasty and soft, can't compete in elegance with the mahogany.) The circular bathroom in this suite– it's in the turret!– is just as sumptuous as the one downstairs, with stone shower and great views.

Above the first-floor bedroom, a room with shelves and cabinets is currently serving as an office, but it could easily be another bedroom. The third bedroom beyond is smaller than the others, and its bathroom is strangely configured, with the WC on one side of the hall and the shower and sink on the other. This room could be a nursery or children's room, as it's easy to imagine the outer space a playroom, its shelves and cupboards filled with toys and books.

Across a covered breezeway, another gorgeous arched door leads to the two-car garage, with unfinished space above that could easily become an au pair or mother-in-law suite. Timbering on the front and matching stucco walls reinforce the Tudor theme.

Outside, five private porches and three covered decks provide views of mountains beyond the valley below the house. These alone would recommend the place as a weekend get-away/entertainment venue in case you decide it's just too far from the action of town for year-round living. One thing's for sure, however, whether the place becomes your primary residence or a luxury retreat: it will make the old real estate cliché true. This man's home will be his castle.

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