REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Riverback: Active families will love Madison spread

Address: 2138 Jacks Shop Road

Neighborhood: Rochelle

Asking: $749,000

Assessment: $550,100

Year Built: 1996

Size: 2,771 fin. sq. ft., 352 unfin.

Land: 8.43 acres

Agent: Pat Seeberger, Montague, Miller & Co., 540-948-6655 ext. 21 

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Two miles off Route 29 in Madison County, nature is the focal point of "Riverback," an eight-acre estate on the Rapidan River. Rows of large windows in the master suite, great room, and kitchen provide glimpses of Madisonians canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and otherwise frolicking in the ever-changing river. 

A long driveway winds back quite a bit from the road past a small orchard. The first structure is a three-car garage with an apartment above. Quite a distance from the main house, this garage gives mixed messages on its ultimate use. It could be handy for a car collector, as a place to park vehicles for a construction or other business, or the garage bays could be changed to something completely different.

The apartment, with two bedrooms, eat-in kitchen, and bath with stacked washer/dryer unit (plus a deck with mountain views) unfortunately can't be legally rented, but it could serve as a useful as a perch for guests, in-laws, or a nanny. Skylights in the kitchen and bath keep things bright, a feature also prominent in the main house.   

Across from the house is a second garage structure. Above this one, a finished room (closet, no bath) also has plenty of light and a lengthy balcony. Currently, it's painted in pink and white and appears ready for dress-up and tea parties— a perfect little girl's playhouse. 

Beyond the paint, the space has possibilities for grown-ups, perhaps as rehearsal space for music, dance, or an art studio. Alternately, a stinky family member could live in comfortable exile here. What a new owner probably won't use this room for is exercise or office space, since there's plenty of room for that in the house.

In the main house, the one-level living space has some cosmetic plusses and minuses. A few lighting fixtures are dated. The master bath is sizeable but doesn't provide the wow! factor the price tag might suggest. The same goes for the kitchen (Corian counters), although cabinets are solid wood, and it is roomy enough for a table for breakfast or snacks. 

On the other hand, plenty of extra features compensate a bit for the cosmetic drawbacks. Floors are chiefly reclaimed wood with some ceramic tile in the entry, kitchen, and utility areas.

Double-paned windows keep heat and cooling bills manageable. A tiny shelf-lined library connects a den to the great room where an antique mantel is a focal point. The mudroom, with hidden washer/dryer and utility sink, has at least three closets. Two bedrooms, divided by a shared bath, are on the opposite side of the house from the master, ideal for a family with older kids.

An all-season porch with slate floor overlooks the patio, and a spiral staircase leads to raised beds, berry bushes, and a partial basement accessed only from outside. The porch also connects an office to the main house, keeping the workspace private and quiet. With built-in counters and shelving and track and recessed lighting, there's plenty of light and room for a home-based business. A separate structure– connected by a wooden walkway and spacious enough for a mini gym's worth of exercise equipment– houses a heated wave pool. 

Riverback is a house for buyers with a very specific kind of lifestyle. New residents will value the surroundings and privacy and will be interested in fitness, family, nature, and water activities. This is an ideal place for work and play. There's not a lot of flash and glam, but its natural appeal and versatility are compensation enough for anyone who wants to live in Madison. 



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