REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Still waters: Quiet bright space in Stanardsville


ADDRESS: 2305 Middle River Road

NEIGHBORHOOD: Stanardsville

ASKING: $695,000

ASSESSMENT: $291,900


SIZE: 2,875 fin. sq. ft., 465 unfin.

LAND: 5.03 acres

CURB APPEAL: 8.5 out of 10

LISTED BY: Julie Kuhl, Re/Max Realty, 434-882-0227

What would you do with your own lake? Would its waters call to you, inviting you to swim, sail, or fish? Or would you sit for hours contemplating its peaceful tranquility? This week's property doesn't include all the land around the lake (actually, while it's a lake by virtue of the Conway river, we've seen bigger ponds), but the effect is one of quiet seclusion on a private waterfront.

The house's natural wood exterior on a stone base blends with its forest surroundings. Like an axe head or a ship's prow, two front walls form a wedge with panes of glass above sliding glass doors that provide sweeping views from as many vantages as possible. A great room and third-floor balcony work with the glass and the elevation to accent the effect. 

The impression from the third floor– a bedroom with a balcony over the living room– is of perching on a cliff overlooking the lake. Walls could be erected to create rooms around the Palladian windows on each side of the house, and there would still be plenty of floor space in the central room. Currently, the wide expanse of open space brings an almost zen emptiness to the area. One corner has been closed off to create a closet, while the other holds the master bath. The bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub and a tile finish, along with a hollow tile bench for extra storage. 

The ceiling above the bed is an attic loft. Previously accessed by a ladder that has since been removed, the area could be converted into a meditation space or an exercise room for people who didn't get enough exercise climbing up to it. It's the closest one can get to the exposed-beam roof, whose southern yellow pine ribs put the "cathedral" in "cathedral ceiling." 

The span of the ceiling makes the home's main living area feel larger. The main entrance is on the second level, and the kitchen, living, and dining areas all fit comfortably. An antique mantel from an 1800s farmhouse on one wall is just decoration; a woodstove on the opposite wall helps keep the space warm. A cedar-lined sunroom connects to the space, but the best views are available from the deck here. 

From the front door, a short hallway leads past a mirror-fronted closet containing the washer and dryer, as well as a tiled bathroom with shower and ebony sink. Two bedrooms (with shag carpet!) are tucked away at the end of the hall, both noteworthy for their deep closets. The bedrooms also have ceiling fans, like the master bedroom upstairs.

On the first floor, a large carpeted space suitable for a family room or an exercise room has another ceiling fan (what is the attraction?). Two sets of sliding glass doors lead to another deck with hot tub and a gas fireplace. The lake views keep the room from feeling like a basement, but it seems cooler and shadier than the rooms above, partly due to the overhanging upper deck. A closet under the stairs provides storage, and there's access to the two-car garage with room for workshop equipment. 

A nearby 1,000-sq.-ft. outbuilding wired for electricity– formerly a hobby space for a car collector– offers enough room to house several cars below and workspace on the second floor. Improvement projects are under way to add more windows, but it would be up to the new owner to decide how thoroughly to develop the space. 

Ultimately, a buyer will face similar choices all over the property, choosing whether to augment and upgrade the open spaces and quiet corners, or enjoy them the way they are.

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