REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Vintage Charmer with Light

Address: 2315 Fontaine Avenue

Neighborhood: University-Maury Hills in city

Asking: $237,500

Assessment: $233,600

Year Built: 1924

Size: 1,176 fin sq. ft., 588 unfin sq. ft.

Land: 0.235 acres

Agent: Kay Sands, 434-220-7673, Roy Wheeler Realty Co.

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Along with pools of light and gobs of outdoor living space, this Fontaine Avenue home has vintage appeal and a relatively low price tag– but things are a little rough around the edge. That might help a young family looking to feather its first nest find that they have landed in the right place. 

Based on the location close to UVA, the hospital, and the research park, this home may be ideal for someone looking for an investment property. The home did rent for a couple years but doesn't have that paint-layered feel of a long-term rental. 

With no foyer or formal entry, the front door opens directly into the living room. Throughout, original wood floors have been sanded down and bleached, giving the home that shabby-chic feel. A fireplace and a few shallow built-ins offer the character buyers will expect from a home of this age. Although the staircase is currently without a railing, realtor Kay Sands says that the home will get one before it sells.

A lovely side porch extends off the living room. It's covered and doesn't provide access to the yard, so there's a feeling of seclusion. 

The English basement opens to the garden. Situated below the deck, there is a secluded patio area hidden behind shrubs. Although the space is unfinished, there is plenty of light coming in and access to the garden. If finished, it could be an efficiency with its own entrance. As is, the light would also be ideal for an art studio.  It's rough with concrete floors, whitewashed brick, and exposed pipe.

More than anything, the kitchen is a jumping off point for future plans. Although functional, space and design are lacking. The current dishwasher actually moves on wheels and sometimes lives in the dining area. Finding a permanent location will require a kitchen overhaul. Right now, the kitchen is open to the dining area but needs rethinking to work for a family. 

Off the dining area is a bathroom that the seller added. It's actually part of the original back porch, and the bathroom retains the stucco exterior wall on one side. A standup shower complement the claw foot upstairs.

The backyard is narrow but long and flat. From the kitchen, a covered porch extends to an uncovered deck and down to garden level with a patio out of the same composite material as the rest. With minimal landscaping, a green thumb will find a near blank slate.

Upstairs, potential buyers will find only two bedrooms. The master runs the length of the facade with plenty of light. A couple narrow closets look like they won't provide much storage. Because of the size of the room, a buyer may be able to give up some floor space to wardrobes or another clothing storage system. The second bedroom is smaller but not tiny. The previous family used a shelving unit to divide the room for two children. Both bedrooms share just one bath, and each has a ceiling fan. The bath has been freshened a bit with new tiling. The owners kept the claw foot tub. A pedestal sink and huge mirror emphasize the roomy space.

As with all homes this age, buyers will compromise closet space and modern necessities for character. Here, closets are few and incredibly shallow at that. Another problem is the lack of air conditioning, a cost of $5,000-$6,000 to install. But, with the low asking price, this could become a starter home that, with improvement, reaches the finish line.



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