REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Few frills: Forest Hills bungalow has potential
Address: 1401 Forest Ridge Road
Neighborhood: Forest Hills
Year Built: 1956
Size: 2,160 fin. sq. ft., 182 unfin.
Land: 0.23 acres
Agent: Angus Arrington, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III 434-531-1100
Curb Appeal: 6 out of 10
It can be difficult to visualize life in a vacant house. Carefully placed chairs, tables, and a sofa suggest what to do with the space. Staging also provides visual cues about the size of an area, particularly in photos where neutral walls fail to indicate accurate distances, and proportions are fuzzy.
On the flipside is the over-appointed place where excessive flotsam hides possibilities. That's the case with this Forest Ridge Road house: it's jammed with stuff.
The 1956 ranch does still have some of its original charms. The front door leads into the living room with bay-window and wood-burning fireplace. Hardwood floors create a cozy vibe in the single-level living space.
Off the living room is the original— and roomy for this vintage— kitchen, which fits a dining table. And that's a good thing, because there's no separate dining room. Cabinets appear mostly original hardwood, but some are covered in what looks like grass wallpaper. A corner sink with windows provides a view for the drudge doing the dishes by hand (there's no dishwasher). Tile at the threshold of the living room is in rough shape, and some patches on the wall also need attention.
From the living room, a hall leads to three modest bedrooms and the single bathroom with retro powder-blue tile. Two of the bedrooms have double windows at the corners, and the extra light is welcome.
Six is a generous curb-appeal rating. A rough patio sits at the front of the house to the left of the front door. Landscaping hasn't received much attention recently, and the lawn is on the scrubby side. Still, these are cosmetic things that a new owner can easily change. A handyman will find things to do, like creating an outdoor living space from the patio (a small fireplace helps) and refreshing the plantings to give the place a little curbside pop. A gravel driveway leads to the single-car garage with electricity.
In this house, though, the bonus is the finished basement: it's a legal apartment with separate electric meter, water tank, and entrance around back. Originally, a stairway off the kitchen led down to it, but now that area of the basement is completely closed off, and the former staircase space is a sort of long closet (hello, bike storage?). The shared unfinished portion of the basement houses the washer and dryer plus a little more space for storage.
The apartment, with laminate floors, has a small living room with can lighting, an eat-in kitchen, and one bedroom. A second room could become a bedroom but needs a door. It's probably better as an office, though, since it's pretty small and it serves as a pass-through to the actual bedroom.
After the basement, the second largest draw is Forest Hills Park across the street. Neither the Park nor Buford Middle School couldn't be any closer, so the location makes this a true family home, if a small one. Young professionals who wince at wailing and shrieks from the mouths of babes should roll on by.
The house is not without flaws but could be a good opportunity for a family looking for a small home in an established neighborhood. Buyers who can see past the stuff will value the park and the chance for extra income (or family space) from the apartment below.
PHOTOS BY SARAH JACOBSON
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