REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Love thy neighbor: Close quarters on Schoolhouse Hill

Address: 6373 Schoolhouse Hill

Neighborhood: Batesville

Asking: $598,000

Assessment: $400,800

Year Built: circa 1885

Size: 2,814 fin. sq. ft., 900 unfin. 

Land: 1.2 acres

Agent: Norm Jenkins The New House Company 434-978-7900

Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10

Schoolhouse Hill is an improbably steep private drive just off Plank Road (Rt. 692) in Batesville. Past apple orchards and fields of straw bales, it's a scenic drive within commuting distance of Charlottesville or Staunton. 

This property comes with some family history and a convenient front entrance. Mr. Charles Page, who owned the original general store in Batesville, designed the front steps of his house to lead straight on down the hill and into the back of his emporium. Today, it's the Batesville Store, a funky shop with a wide menu and regular live music. The store dates back to 1880. Although nobody can confirm the exact year the house was built, it is over 100 years old. 

This property stayed in the family for many years but later fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, a Californian revived the home with a west coast flair and some updates. (He now lives next door.) 

Damaged flooring on the first floor was replaced with cherry. The stairs and second floor are original, and the bedrooms have been carpeted. Skylights brighten the bedrooms and bath on the second floor. At some point, closets were built into the two smaller bedrooms; each has a door to a shared balcony. In the master, the original sleeping porch has been finished and is sort of an open dressing room with a rod for open clothing storage. 

On the first level, the living, dining, and kitchen areas flow together in a modern way. A wood-burning stove stands guard in the center between the living and dining areas, but the kitchen and attached four-season sunroom are the real focal points. A six-burner Garland stove with open flame broiler is an old restaurant fixture and may have come from California (like the age of the house, it's a mystery). It gives the kitchen a casual feel, and the whole space looks like it could handle a huge Thanksgiving feast with room for lots of revelers. Between the professional oven, expanses of counter and a generous dining area, it's very much an entertainer's house. 

Central heat and air are some additional updates, but the wood-burning stove and gas oven kept things toasty over the last brutal winter. A buyer worried about another Snowpocalypse (or Snowmageddon) will be glad to have them. A whole-house attic fan draws in cool night air during the warmer months.  

Outdoor features expand the living space. It's possible that many of the plantings were established when the original owners lived in the house. Two koi ponds use stones from the creek below. Off one side of the house a long pergola is shrouded in wisteria over a built-in bench.

Beside a swimming pool, a studio apartment with kitchenette and bath could work as a guesthouse, rental, au pair digs, or as last resort for a boomerang kid. An unfinished workshop or artist studio on the second level is actually level with the drive– it's a steep hill.  

Schoolhouse Hill is a tiny community, so a buyer will need to like neighbors who share the private drive and live in close proximity. With the Batesville Store below as a community meeting place, a country retreat this is not. Rather, it's a family home for folks who like a small town feel and want to know— if not exactly love—their neighbors.  




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