REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Largely convenient: Spacious home graces Dunlora lot


Address: 861 King William Drive

Neighborhood: Dunlora

Asking: $550,000

Assessment: $514,600

Year Built: 1992

Size: 3,465 fin Sq. ft. / 550 unfin. Sq. ft.

Land: 0.43 acres

Agent: Marjorie Adam, Re/Max Assured Properties 434-882-0983

Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10

It's 1992. EuroDisney opens, Radiohead is big, and The Silence of the Lambs sweeps the Oscars. Charlottesville's own John Grisham writes The Pelican Brief. And while you were banging your head to grunge music, Hauser Homes built this five-bedroom colonial in the planned community of Dunlora. 

If subdivisions aren't your thing, pass on this place. If you're intrigued by the extra perks— tennis courts, a pool and walking trails, with proximity to Pen Park, Rt. 29, and the long-promised Meadowcreek Parkway, — then bookmark King William Drive for your next Saturday morning house tour. As you drive up, the neighborhood is all very manicured, with cul-de-sacs and heavily landscaped lawns. Lots of houses sport brick facades or shuttered windows— this place has both. The quiet hush almost screams "Welcome to Stepford."  Once we stepped inside, though, all that fell away.

The house backs up against a wooded area— Dunlora common ground— so the views, at least this season, are leafy and lush, more typical of a cabin in a forest than a colonial in a subdivision. The entranceway quickly opens up to the main floor, with a library, dining room, and a living room with large windows on two sides. Fireplaces in both the living and dining rooms make for cozy winter living, but as with any house worth its salt, the true hang-out spot is the kitchen.

This one's recently redone, with blue-grey ceramic floor tile echoed in smaller squares across the backsplash. The stainless steel appliances are out-flashed by the mica-flecked grey granite countertops. A pantry, gas range, and an island offer all the amenities that a Top Chef-obsessed yuppie could desire. 

There's also a built-in desk with a phone jack in case your culinary experiments don't work out and you resort to take-out. But the diva in this room is definitely the stained glass. Floral-themed glass panels, custom made by Vee Osvalds of McGuffey Art Center, decorate the ceiling and transom windows. (The owners will remove the stained glass if it's not to your taste.)

The current owners bought the house in 2005 for $549,000— which is pretty much their current asking price of $550,000. In the meantime, they renovated— adding the stained glass and redoing the main floor's half bath with modern flair: a cool glass sink and countertop, and tiling with an Art Deco yellow, white, and black pattern. 

On the top floor, the laundry room's been primped with blue and white tile, a sink, and a nifty built-in ironing board. The fourth bedroom, with malachite-colored tiles and a dual ceiling fan, looks updated as well. The owners have taken advantage of the extra light flowing through the skylights in the slanted walls and turned this room into a home office. 

But after that, they seem to have run out of steam. (They've owned the place only a few years, after all.) The two upstairs bathrooms could use an update— especially the master. It's big, with a shower, jetted tub and his-n-hers sinks. But we saw faceted plastic faucet knobs, linoleum, low, fabricated stone counters, and a tub, toilet and shower color that can only be described as— gulp— taupe.

As for the finished basement, the owners don't seem to use it. And with a finished square footage of 3,465, who can blame them? This space is carpeted except for a small tiled area leading to the pebble patio. With a large den (complete with yet another fireplace), private entrance, full bath and extra bedroom, it'd be an easy convert into a rental or mother-in-law suite. 

There's still plenty of room for kids or guests upstairs, with two smaller bedrooms (with ample closet space) and a spacious master with a walk-in closet with its own window. 

With a wooden deck looking out onto a fenced-in wooded lot, this private hideaway just off Rio Road has enough quirks to keep new owners out of the Stepford clubhouse. And although the bathrooms are still 1992 originals, please leave your flannels and Lollapalooza t-shirts at home. Poser.



Each 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!


1 comment

This article tells more about the reviewer than the house.