REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Country by City: Cottage hides away on 21 Curves


Address: 1225 Old Garth Road

Neighborhood: outer Farmington

Asking: $475,000

Assessment: $595,500

Year Built: 1979

Size: 1,725 Sq. ft.

Land: 3.03 acres

Agent: Beth Carpenter, Keller Williams Realty, 434-242-8182

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Tucked within three acres of sloping land, 1225 Old Garth Road is a fairytale cottage. It even has its own invisibility cloak.

Dense woods shield the house from the road— a too heavily trafficked winding street otherwise known as 21 Curves, which connects Barracks Road to Ivy Road near the back entrance of Farmington. The house itself is something out of another time, with post and beam architecture and large windows that catch sun filtering down through the leaves. The floors and most walls are pine; the fireplace is made out of stone and flanked by custom bookshelves. 

The house's showplace is the sunroom, which extends two stories and warms and cools the house via passive solar. (Central heat and A.C. make up the difference.)

The long sunroom, which connects to the living room via sliding glass doors, would be an inspiring art studio or meditation room. (Your yoga mat here.)

The house has two bathrooms and three bedrooms. The master bedroom is big and beautiful; the adjoining bedroom too small to fit much more than a twin bed and a dresser. Mary Jo Hatch, the current owner, used it as a study. Both bedrooms open up onto an indoor deck that looks out over the sunroom. The deck adds more space to the house, and would make a great sitting room. 

The downstairs has a guest bedroom, and a small living room/dining room area with the kitchen as a side alcove. There's not a lot of counter space, and getting the Thanksgiving turkey into the oven would be a squeeze, but it has a window and a shiny stainless steel freezer/fridge and dishwasher. The kitchen could use some new countertops and a new gas range and oven. And unless you're wild about burnt sienna Formica, you might want take a long, hard look– or a crowbar– at the bathrooms too. 

Some details need work, but overall, it's a charming, cozy place with character. So why hasn't 1225 Old Garth Rd. sold during the last year and a half it's been on the market?

Many buyers have families, and the house is small for their tastes. Hatch, who has moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts because of her husband's career, agrees that the house would best suit a couple or a single. (Families would also need to kid-proof that indoor balcony.)

Expansion is possible, but in order to do so, you'd first have to clear the land. The house is almost suffocated by woods. To compensate, Hatch has lowered her original asking price (over $600,000 originally because of the prime location) and is now asking for a lot less than the house's assessed worth.

Still, $475,000 is a lot to shell out only to turn around and make improvements. With pristine condos available for under $200,000, many homebuyers have taken the easier route. They'll miss the peace and seclusion of the woods, the large outdoor deck and indoor rustic charm of 1225 Old Garth. But with financial markets crumbling, that hefty chunk of change remaining in the bank might provide some consolation. 



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