REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Back in time: Spring Lane prompts Old World reveries

Address: 595 Spring Lane

Neighborhood: Spring Hill

Asking: $549,000

Assessment: $586,700

Year Built: 1984

Size: 2,764 fin. sq. ft., 50 unfin. 

Land:  6.8 acres

Agent: Alice Nye Fitch, Montague Miller and Company 434-951-7133

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

This house was designed and built by the current owners in the ‘80s, and they've lived in it ever since. As with all custom designs, the style suits the taste and lifestyle of those particular folks. Modern families will no doubt find it a little unusual, but a few appealing old-school surprises go a long way to offset the oddities.

The barn-like exterior will appeal to buyers tired of today's de rigueur Hardiplank. A gravel drive allows for ample parking out front, and around back a single-car garage provides access to the lower level. Inside, most of the living is on the first floor, but down below are a few extra bedrooms and some other surprises.

A generous formal living room opens from one side of the foyer, with a cathedral ceiling and an antique mantle that create a formal feeling while several large windows provide views of the sprawling property and established Bradford pears in the yard. (One advantage of an older place is that plantings have had time to mature; buyers won't be stumbling over naked spots and worrying about the two-year warranty on new trees and shrubs.)

On the other side of the foyer, the open kitchen is ‘80s beige. The cabinets with wood trim and appliances all seem to fade together. Opening to a sitting area, it's an informal kitchen without much eating space. A hearth and built-ins make it cozy, but a new buyer will need some imagination to see what else the space could do. (A deck that angles out in a triangle like the bow of a ship might be helpful.)

Directly off the kitchen and sitting area is the master suite, an odd arrangement and a bit on the small side, which  king sized bed would overpower. It is a suite, though, with a small walk-in closet and a bath with a standup shower. New owners will probably jettison the floral wallpaper and try to address the tight corners in the bathroom.

From the foyer, a staircase leads down to sort of a greenhouse area. With herringbone brick flooring and a fountain, it's an airy inside/outside garden. The fountain, known as a piscina, was designed by the seller and modeled after the fountains English priests used, according to the agent. The water-spurting dolphin was one of the earliest molds from a foundry in Bruges, dating back to the 1700s, where it was cast. Made of rectangular marble tile, it has simple lines and adds a welcome touch of class and originality. 

Off a closet-lined hall with a full bath, two modest bedrooms have sliding glass doors opening to the terrace. On the opposite side of the hall, an unfinished workroom connects to the garage as well as to a study with track lighting. With a separate entrance, the study could become an office for a buyer with a home-based business. 

Bordering on Ivy Creek, the property is pastoral and teeming with wildlife. Raised beds and a terrace contribute to the Old World vibe created by the fountain and mature landscaping. A picturesque shed out of a Beatrix Potter book and a pond— sans fish for the moment— also prompt Euro reveries. Part of what buyers will pay for is the setting, where agricultural easements and restrictive covenants protect what's here.

Much has changed since the ‘80s including wallpaper styles, fixtures, and the like. Our concept of family life has also changed. Buyers who can see past the dated elements and are willing to do some minor updating can create a modern family home. But it's the pastoral setting, as well as standouts like the greenhouse, that are the things that will ultimately sell the place. 



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