REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Sing, muse: Not wrath, only space, grace in Troy

ADDRESS: 174 Randolph Circle

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mountain Brook, Troy

ASKING: $319,000

ASSESSMENT: $358,900


SIZE: 2,672 fin. sq. ft.

LAND: 1.50 acres

CURB APPEAL: 8 out of 10

LISTED BY: Larry Barnett, Barnett Real Estate, 434-286-9900

From the foam blocks separating piggies for a pedicure to the teeth of British comic Terry-Thomas, spacing can be applied either functionally or artistically. Both kinds of spacing are used in a variety of locations in this week's house in Troy. 

It's on a circle in the Mountain Brook subdivision, and unlike some other developments, the houses here keep a respectful distance from one another. The circle means there's no through traffic, and power lines out back should keep the nearby land from becoming overdeveloped.

Starting in the foyer, visitors notice the large space above in the vaulted ceiling with a second-floor window that admits lots of streaming light. The adjoining living and dining rooms at the front of the house aren't exceptionally large, but open archways linking them to the rest of the house make them seem bigger. 

In back on the first floor, a breakfast bar– of ground quartz, like the matching kitchen countertops— separates the kitchen from the family room (with gas fireplace). A pantry has been relegated to the hallway between the kitchen and the dining room to be out of the way, and there's no central island in kitchen, perhaps a decision made to create space for an eat-in table that takes advantage of the room's windows and views of the back yard.

The first floor also has a half bath, sun-room, and two-car garage. The unbroken expanse of the sun-room's vaulted ceiling begs for a skylight, but it's up to new buyers to add one– or settle for light from windows to the back deck.

Upstairs, the builder traded some space in two of the bedrooms for a semicircular hub connecting five doorways at the top of the stairs. The bedroom doors are set on angles across the corners of the rooms so little space is lost, placing them side-by-side with doors leading to the linen closet, full upstairs bath, and the closet for the washer and dryer.

Perhaps the only poorly considered use of space is in one of the bedrooms: a closet is in a narrow hallway at the entrance to the room, and when the doors are open, no one can go in or out. Another dubious distinction of this room: it was painted a vivid pink to grant the birthday wish of a six-year-old. But paint is easier to fix than the closet layout, especially since the sellers are offering a decorating allowance.

The master suite above the garage has lots of floor space. In some places, the downward-vaulting ceiling compromises headroom, but creative furniture arranging can avoid problems there. In addition to the walk-in closet, the suite has a private bath with its own linen closet, but the bedroom/bathroom break is marked only by a transition from carpet to vinyl flooring– there's no door between the rooms!

The master bath has all the usual amenities, including a corner tub with its own window where you can let Calgon take you away. The shower is a separate fiberglass job behind a frosted glass door. 

Other touches like crown molding in the two front rooms and trim along the stairs make the home memorable. The owners have been gradually replacing the generic light fixtures supplied by the builder with more decorative models, while the overlarge windows on the first floor stretching almost from floor to ceiling make the interior spaces feel more expansive. A brick front porch and a small wooden deck out back also provide recreational areas outdoors, or just spots to sit and space out.

PHOTOS BY PETER M.J. GROSSEach week, a brave local seller invites the Hook to provide an impartial, warts-and-all look at their real estate listing. E-mail yours today!