REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Heritage indeed: 2003 pricing and driving in Fluvanna


Address: 350 Main St.

Neighborhood: Palmyra in Fluvanna County

Asking: $193,000

Assessment: $188,800

Year Built: 1920

Size: 2,112 finished; 400 unfinished

Land: 0.55 acres 

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

Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10

Fluvanna County: Proud of our past, confident in our future," reads one Route 15 sign on the way to Palmyra. If you believe in the future of this burgeoning population center southeast of Charlottesville, you also believe in reasonably priced real estate.

Two weeks ago, we looked at a house under 200K on in Charlottesville. This week, a four-bedroom, picket-fenced house on Main Street in quaint Palmyra is under the microscope.

What you're losing, of course, is walkability. Although Palmyra's town center boasts a gas station, bank, courthouse, and the Old Stone Jail Museum, jobs are thin on the ground. So the home's owner, John Lohman, commuted to his position at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. 

There's also community life in Fluvanna. Lohman's next door neighbor and another UVA commuter, holds dinners and open-to-the-public house concerts once a month. (Bill Toms and John Allaire are her guests on June 17— see for more information.)

The home is also a short walk away from the Heritage Rail Trail, located on 1,000 acres of public property along the Rivanna River. Gated Lake Monticello and its restaurants and grocery stores are ten minutes away.

This pale yellow house with blue-green trim is situated to the far right of its half-acre property that boasts two apple trees and flowers in bloom from spring to September. (There's a run-down garden shed, too.)

There are a few oddities to the place, starting with the non-functional picket fence that doesn't serve to keep deer out or dogs in, but creates a dividing line between the road and the wide front porch. 

Lohman has made some improvements to the property, which he purchased for the today's asking price in 2003. He tore up the carpet in two upstairs bedrooms as well as the guest bed off of the foyer, exposing oak flooring downstairs and pine above. He stripped much of the wallpaper— some kitschy remnants remain— and installed central air conditioning on the second floor. He says the cool air "cascades down" to the second floor, so he didn't deem a first floor installation necessary.

The large living room hosts a wood-burning fireplace, and there's an adjoining bedroom and a full bath (with an older looking toilet but an adequate shower). On the other side, the living room flows into a spacious dining room, where Lohman used to hold dinners connected to the village concerts run by his neighbor.

After ripping out the wallpaper, Lohman painted the room brick red below the crown molding and white above. The wallpaper is still present in the kitchen– with a country motif of apple baskets and wheat sheaves. There's a gas stove, a built-in microwave. The kitchen floor is white tile, the counters Formica, and the wooden cabinets are in good condition, although the fixtures could be swapped out to modernize the place. 

Past the kitchen lie an enclosed pantry and an alcove with washer/dryer hookups. (There's a second set in the unfinished basement as well; stairs to the basement are just past the pantry area.) The kitchen leads out to a large porch, and there's a second balcony off the master suite upstairs, big enough for breakfast.

The master suite is the only area of the house still sporting dingy white carpet (there's no hardwood underneath), but prospective buyers could use the money they save from the house purchase to install alternative flooring.

The layout for the master won't require reconfiguring; the bedroom is large, with a walk-in closet and adjoining laundry room. The master bath, with a jetted tub and frosted glass shower, still has wallpaper (gingham below, baby blue above, with pastel renditions of baths) that smacks of Beatrix Potter. 

Although there's room for minor improvements, this house packs some bang in its 193,000 bucks. For a cheaper price, buyers get five times the acreage and more square footage than the Cherry Avenue property. If the drive doesn't faze you, Palmyra could be worth a look. 



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