REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Head out: Peacock Hill house lures active types


Address: 503 Shady Lane

Neighborhood: Peacock Hill

Asking: $325,000

Assessment: $313,800

Year Built: 1993

Size: 1,800 fin. sq. ft. / 990 unfin.

Land: 1.58 acres 

Agent: Jim McVay, Roy Wheeler Realty Co., 434-962-3420

Curb Appeal: 6 out of 10

While some people value the proximity and convenience of the city, others crave country living once they've clocked out of the nine-to-five. Until teleportation is invented, that leaves many rural dwellers with a commute. 

Enter Peacock Hill, an outpost off the Dick Woods Road exit of I-64. At the entrance to the subdivision, a small muddy lake lies to the left, with beached canoes sunning like fat beagles on its banks. Woods surround the lake and some of the houses, which aren't cloyingly cookie-cutter, but vary in character and size. 

Here, with an acre and a half of forest and lawn, 503 Shady Lane is just 15 minutes from UVA. Of course, that also means the interstate highway is a constant audible presence, especially from the grassy backyard. 

Despite the highway hum, the house feels private. The place is set back from the road, and the woods go right up to the green front door. A gravel driveway curves around back to a one-car garage, with a door leading into an unfinished cinderblock basement with natural light. The agent talked with one developer who quoted $20K to convert this space into a rec room with a full bath. For now, it simply houses the laundry machines. 

The main body of the house is conventionally divided into two levels, with the dining and entertaining spaces on the first floor and private bathrooms and sleeping quarters above.

The front door leads right into the house and to the staircase— no fancy foyer here. To the left of the staircase lies a large sunny living room with a wood-burning fireplace. The guest bath is situated off the hallway, with an unfortunate nautical motif in patriotic colors and all the subtlety of a windsock. (I don't know about you, but having a lighthouse painted on the toilet seat has never been my particular American dream.)  

The dining room and kitchen are visible to the left of the staircase. The agent calls the kitchen an "eat-in" because of a small corner of extra space near the side door, but there's also a formal dining room in magenta and taupe with white crown molding. The kitchen was remodeled within the last five years, with black granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. There's a large island (with a second sink) and windows with a view of the backyard. 

The main floor has newly refinished oak flooring. Upstairs, the same floorboards are hidden under (slightly dingy) white carpeting. The bedrooms (with skylights and vaulted ceilings) and one bath in bright aqua radiate off the staircase (a second full bath is in the master suite). Two small kids' bedrooms— one painted Pepto-Bismol pink and the other a bright baby blue— face each other, with interior windows looking out over the middle staircase. (Blinds have been installed for privacy.)

The master bedroom has a wood-burning fireplace, but is fairly small as bedrooms go (the agent keeps a picture of the former furniture arrangements to show how a queen-sized bed will fit between two windows). Formica and linoleum prevail in the master bath as in other bathrooms in the house, and there's a little water damage to the wooden cabinets. The room also has a separate shower and— best feature— a jetted tub underneath a picture window looking out to the backyard. 

People who enjoy the outdoors will appreciate the acreage, and to fully enjoy it, there's a deck off the main floor, half of it screened for bug-free lounging, the other half open for summer barbeques. Visible from the deck is a large garden shed— with no windows, but a big sliding barn door on the front. 

Besides the lake, Peacock Hill also has two tennis courts and over 100 acres of common ground that serve as a buffer for the houses. Community dues are $32/month, but this also includes rights to a trash/recycling center. Considering that most Albemarleans are paying $25/month for trash disposal, that's $7/month to use a lake and tennis courts. Not bad.  



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