REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Two for one: A log cabin with modern add-ons
Address: 2317 Wakefield Road
Neighborhood: Rio in Albemarle County
Assessment: $ $329,500
Year Built: 1925
Size: 1,796 fin. sq. ft. / 376 unfin.
Land: 0.81 acres
Agent: Anne Hughes, Real Estate III – West 434-989-2041
Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10
Tucked away on a side street of brick ranchers just off Rio Road, the white bungalow at 2317 Wakefield Road sticks out like a Weimaraner in a kennel of beagles. Unlike its more contemporary neighbors, this house is so old that not even its owner knows when it was built.
Although other Albemarle residents may go for the modern log cabin look, or import an authentic one, the Wakefield house is built around the log cabin that first stood on this site. Its original wood-and-mortar frame is made of hand-hewn logs of American chestnut, a once-prevalent hardwood nearly obliterated by the chestnut blight, a fungus that hit hard during the early twentieth century.
The log cabin construction is still visible in portions of the house's interior, most notably in the charming living room. This space also still boasts the original chimney, although it's been converted to gas because an expert advised that the chimney has too many cracks to safely burn logs.
Off the living room lie a sunroom (with built-in daybed) and a screened porch. This used to be the front deck, and there are stone steps leading up from the driveway through the garden. This area of the house, painted a sunny pastel yellow, seems to invite rocking chairs and lemonade.
The next addition was the kitchen, built in 1930 from pines cut in a nearby forest, and spaced out in two rooms, one a pantry with unfortunate carpeting of an indeterminate color, but with beautiful country cabinetry in oak contrasting with a dusky teal. Built before air conditioning, the set-up was designed to house the oven in the "pantry" area, close to the door. That way, the rest of the house would be kept cool.
Although roomy, the kitchen doesn't have enough counter space for a serious cook. Purchasing an island might be a good idea, replacing the electric stove with a gas range, and upgrading the countertops. The kitchen has a small woodstove and is currently configured as an eat-in— although with the large adjoining dining room, that isn't necessary.
The last section of the downstairs was originally built as a workshop, which was later reconfigured into a master suite. That may explain the warren-like nature of this area, with several rooms off a narrow hallway. The master bedroom is cool and soothing, with a walk-in closet, and an unexceptional bathroom attached. There's also— oddly enough— another bathroom, this one a tiny half-bath (where the old log cabin constitutes the wall behind the toilet). The master suite also has a sitting room overlooking the garden. With built-in bookshelves, it would make a lovely private library or office.
The upstairs— two bedrooms and a bathroom— has slanted ceilings reflecting the pitch of the roof and plenty of windows. The bedrooms are small but functional. One has minimal closet space, making it the better choice for weekend guests.
This house is surrounded by a sunny flower bed, a shady garden, and the manicured lawn of a common area in back, which the neighbors take turns mowing. It's situated on two lots, one of which is wooded and slopes down towards Rio Road, and the noise from traffic there is unfortunately audible from the garden.
When the place was built, it was a rural farmhouse beside dusty, sleepy Rio Road. And although it's now smack dab in the middle of suburbia, the current owner likes to imagine generations past listening to the gunfire of the Battle of Rio Hill from the safety of the porch.
PHOTOS BY KRISTINA GARCÍA
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