REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- A-peeling prospect: Packing shed seed of new home?

ADDRESS: 60 Davis Creek Road


ASKING: $385,000



SIZE: 6,246 fin. sq. ft.

LAND: 1.0 acre

CURB APPEAL: 5 out of 10

LISTED BY: Mountain Area Realty, Bo Newell, 434-361-2440

Rolling verdant vistas stretch out along 29 South pretty much as far as the eye can see. Architectural eye candy pops up only infrequently. One house, however, upon closer inspection (as close as possible zipping by at 55mph) reveals the butt ends of a ‘50-era mobile home poking out from either end of a more modern structure, kind of like a metal hot dog.

Further south, almost to Lovingston, visual treats of a more visceral kind await. Giant sculptures loom over a grassy knoll, and it's impossible not to notice the eight-foot-high steel silhouette of a naked nymph painted cherries-in-the-snow red. A sea creature and dolphin also beckon startled motorists. 

But upon closer approach, the building becomes secondary: one's eye is drawn to quantities of accumulated flotsam and art works-in-progress. Handmade metal birdbaths and weathervanes stand out as the most recognizable objects. Possible uses for the heaps of metal, stone, and wood need a little more study.

From the exterior, the building looks pretty much like what it was intended to be: a packing shed. It's long and wide, with both front and back entrances, and one surmises many a peach and apple has passed through these doors. The conversion from apples to art seems like an odd one until we step into the space and see the cavernous rooms and natural light. An air of dishevelment permeates the place, but only because of the in-flux status of most of the projects.

A narrow porch leads to a spacious, dusty office, every corner crammed with the tools of the owner's trades: stonemason, metalsmith, and wood worker. A huge soapstone fireplace keeps this area toasty warm.

Further inside, where the ceilings are two-storeys high, assorted materials are piled high against every surface. The owner declares that all is for sale, although only the building conveys with the asking price. A little bathroom occupies one corner. In fact, this large area could easily be converted into a machine or mechanic's shop since the back entry is wide enough to allow truck access.

One side of the building has been converted into an apartment. While not exactly beautiful (some much-needed trim work has to be completed), it has all the comforts of home. The most finished room is the bathroom, with radiant floor heat, black serpentine tile, and open-air shower. The well where the bather stands is a round terrazzo-tile handwashing station from an old schoolhouse. The living arrangements consist of full kitchen, gas fireplace with ceiling fan, living and dining areas, and a loft/bedroom. 

More doors lead to more spaces, leaving one's imagination free to decide what to do with it all. Two huge rooms adjoining the apartment are relatively empty, revealing pine floors and post-and-beam construction. The owner suggests adding French doors to enhance the light and livability.

If this building had stayed a packing shed, perhaps the idea of transforming it into something else wouldn't seem so plausible. But the current owner has lived and worked here for so long– all the while adding many interesting details– that now the possibilities are easy to imagine. As we stood and looked out over the hills, thoughts of winery or maybe a brewery came to mind. Maybe a new owner could even call it The Red Nymph, since she's already doing a good job of advertising.

Photos courtesy of the agent