REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Lake Monticello: Details make the difference
PHOTO BY PETER M. J. GROSS
ADDRESS: 40 Smokewood Drive
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lake Monticello
YEAR BUILT: 1996
LAND: 0.436 Acres
CURB APPEAL: 7.5 out of 10
LISTED BY: Susana Bickford, Re/Max Commonwealth Group 804-794-2150
John "Hannibal" Smith from television's A-Team always loved it when a plan came together. Knowing where plans can be altered and where they have to be followed is a valuable skill for both builders and rogue army colonels. It's always interesting to see houses where builders have departed from their standard plans to add creative flourishes, to see what works and what doesn't. That's why we enjoyed looking at this week's house in Lake Monticello.
The first of many customizing touches is apparent just inside the leaded glass front door, where the walls bracketing the stairs to the second floor have been cut back to allow more space in the entryway. While railings run the full length of the stairs, the first few steps are in an open space connecting the foyer with the rooms on either side to open up the front of the house. To one side is a fairly standard living room, but its counterpart– currently used as a dining room– features a striking fireplace in black marble angled across a corner.
It may have originally been intended for the dining room to have been at the back of the house– in the room with the chair rail and picture window– instead of in its current location, but both rooms are accessible from the kitchen, so new owners can decide on whichever arrangement suits them. While the kitchen itself could be larger, the new stove, refrigerator, and microwave leave little to complain about. Part of the reason for the cramped cooking area is the space taken by a breakfast annex with a table.
The breakfast annex is connected to several other parts of the house: a bathroom, a small deck with rolling backyard views, and a combination pantry and mudroom
This mudroom previously housed the washer and dryer, and it retains the hook-ups, but the appliances themselves have been moved to the basement.
Upstairs, a bedroom at the front of the house offers two large windows with views of the street below, while a comparably sized back bedroom has only a single-window view. A bathroom between the two has a window with views to the side. A third upstairs bedroom, next to the master, feels a little small but is well-suited by its location for use as a nursery or a study.
The master bedroom has its share of custom perks, including separate his and hers closets and its own master bath. In both closets, special built-in shelves provide extra storage options from floor to ceiling. Its bathroom offers both a standing shower and a separate whirlpool tub; the master bathroom's layout around one of the closets has created a secluded space for the tub in its own private corner while still leaving room for a linen closet.
Throughout the house, custom wood trim around windows makes for tasteful room accents. While most of the builder's additional touches have similar merit, one baffling legacy crops up. Half shutters are attached to the interior window frames in several rooms, including the kitchen, both upstairs bathrooms, and the downstairs study. They may have been intended to offer privacy without excluding light, but they end up looking like they were designed to cover smaller windows. Fortunately, their removal should be relatively painless.
In the basement, the current owners have augmented the builder's choices with some alterations of their own. Part of the basement has been finished to accommodate a bathroom and a large family room with additional features. In the half bath, a large closet holds the washer and dryer previously upstairs in the pantry; both are hooked up and operational. Not only does the family room have a wet bar and two ceiling fans, but also a built-in desk. Additional unfinished basement space has been kept for storage.
The home's basic design is sensible, nothing out of the ordinary. However, its creative touches make it worth a closer look.
PHOTOS BY PETER M. J. GROSS
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