REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Wade in: Big closets and compact ideas near Trail


ADDRESS: 387 Wildwood Court


NEIGHBORHOOD:  Wildwood in Albemarle

ASKING:  $275,000

ASSESSMENT:  $232,300


SIZE:  1,862 fin. sq. ft. 

LAND:  0.12 acres

CURB APPEAL:  8 out of 10

AGENT:  Jim Duncan, Nest Realty, 242-7140 


The instant we walked through the front door and into the kitchen, one name came to mind: "R. D. Wade." In his long career, the prolific local builder made many solidly constructed houses, like this one off Park Street.

Between a few tours, first as a buyer new to the area, and now as a wizened real estate writer, we've seen enough to know the Wade trademarks, which here include hardwood floors and crown molding downstairs, half-bath under the staircase, and a breakfast nook off the kitchen. Following the script, the upstairs features three carpeted bedrooms and two small but full baths. The basement has a family room, fourth bedroom with half-bath, and laundry/utility/storage room.

Having waxed poetic in these pages a few short months ago about another Wade-built house in Willoughby, this week we'll note that Willoughby and Wildwood share similarities beyond the builder. For one, the main street of each development– although accessed via city streets– leaps across to the county's side of the border. Here, the road's advance is ultimately halted by Meadow Creek, so the Rivanna Trail is just a short walk away.

One drawback of both neighborhoods (and throughout our area) is that a flat lot is hard to find. The only level space out back is a deck off the kitchen.

Two of this house's neighbors are also currently listed for sale, though their styles and prices vary significantly– as do the signs out front. The agent's new listing company aspires to save Saturday neighborhood browsers the time spent stopping the car to grab a flyer by being the flyer. A full-color sign features interior pictures, listing price, and contact information. (Alas, there's no photo of an agent with professionally whitened teeth.)

Paradox time: the only large bedroom is the master, but even in the smallest bedroom, the closets are colossal, even Brobdignagian. While that will save the next owners a trip down to the basement, we'd prefer our misanthropic teenager to have room for a bigger desk on which to IM, Tweet, or whatever it is youngsters do these days.

Small touches of innovation abound: pantry shelves on the side of the basement staircase, recessed wood medicine cabinets in the bathroom upstairs, and a petite seashell pedestal sink in the powder room. 

It's sure compact in here. One could argue the builder's zeal for efficiency sacrificed comfort, room to stretch, or even architectural aesthetics. But, in this price range, the alternative is the townhouse or that K-Car of homes: the three-bedroom rancher. And there are plenty of them around here, if that's what you prefer.

When we stepped out into the sunlight, our tour complete, we had only three things on our mind: R.D. Wade, Paul Newman, and a ride home. In the past two years, Wade has retired, and Newman left us for the pool hall in the sky, but both have left behind a solid body of work.

As for the ride home? CTS had us covered: Google Maps' cool new transit feature says it's an eight-minute walk to the 2A bus.



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