REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- No bluffing: Park your hybrid at Riverview


ADDRESS: 6 Riverside Avenue

NEIGHBORHOOD:  Woolen Mills in Charlottesville

ASKING:  $535,000

ASSESSMENT:  n/a– new construction


SIZE:  2,277 fin. sq. ft., 1,221 unfin.

LAND:  0.12 acres

CURB APPEAL:  8.5 out of 10

AGENT:  Roger Voisinet, RE/MAX Realty Specialists, 974-1500

Driving through Woolen Mills and up Riverside Avenue makes it apparent that the greenies have landed. Emerging from the Rivanna like our primordial ancestors– presumably also green– the eco-aware have established a beachhead of sorts along the eastern edge of the city.

While many contemporary homes have dotted the cityscape on this end of town for a few years, this recent wave of energy-efficient houses constructed with renewable and environmentally friendly materials has staked its claim at the corner of Chesapeake Street and Riverside Avenue, about a mile east of the Downtown Mall.

It's typical of Charlottesville that we have to distinguish between green developments: RiversEdge is not to be confused with RiverBluff, (recently visited in these pages), which also borders Riverview Park a few blocks farther up Riverside Avenue. (The Rivanna River is nearby, in case these names didn't tip you off).

This light yellow house, clad in Hardiplank with a standing seam metal roof, is one of ten planned for the development, two of which will be Habitat for Humanity projects.

On the open ground floor, large windows, brightly painted walls, and nine-foot ceilings welcome the daylight. A six-foot-high built-in entertainment center provides a sense of separation in the open floor plan without completely dividing the level or darkening either side. Pendant lights illuminate a granite kitchen island large enough to contain the sink.

Nice touches abound in the kitchen. Just below the microwave nook, for example, is a small butcher board counter, and there are enough plugs and data jacks to run a mail-order business.

A medium-sized deck overlooks the park and also provides, between the trees, a glimpse or two  of the river beyond. Of the two bedrooms on this floor, one is for guests in front and a larger master is in the back corner.

The master bath features a tiled floor and marble counters, but alas, there's no water-hungry whirlpool or three-head shower. Folks who'll live here will conserve, after all. And the tiled stand-up shower– with only one (presumably low-flow) showerhead is separate from the regular-sized tub.

Upstairs, two bedrooms share a Jack-and-Jill bath– with his-and-hers sinks, no less. Jack had better draw a line on the marble lest Jill's beauty products encroach upon his space. 

The basement features a massive bonus room the builder is open to customizing or leaving unfinished depending on the buyer's inclination. With the same large windows as upstairs and a door opening under the deck, either an office or a rental unit is a possibility thanks to the full bath. A smaller office with double doors directly beneath the master bedroom faces an open area that begs to be a screened-in porch, or perhaps a mini-garage to house one's solar-powered golf cart.

In the utility room, a dehumidifier stands in for the already hyper-efficient heat pump, ensuring the AC will run only during summer's dog days. To meet Earthcraft standards, even the tiny 0.16'' gaps between studs are filled with sealant to minimize air leakage. We pity the hungry mice. Behind those studs and the no-formaldehyde insulation, a layer of polyurethane sprayed on the block creates a hybrid insulation system. From top to bottom, this house's components combine to keep the house's carbon footprint small– as well as its utility bills. It will also qualify for lower city real estate taxes. That's the kind of green we like.

Older duplexes across the street create a stark contrast, one that brings to mind the World War II myth of the Polish horse cavalry facing German tanks. Aside from the architectural differences, how will the potentially different world views of neighbors coexist? How will the current residents welcome the environmentally conscious buyers now blocking their seasonal views of the park and river? For now, all that remains to be seen, a green– er, clean– slate.




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1 comment

German tank. You hit the nail on the head there, aesthetically speaking.