Organic compound: Former tiny cottage now rambling spread

Additions can go one of two ways: the awkward, tacked-on look of many older homes is the wrong way; the more organic growth apparent in this single-level rancher in Ivy is more palatable. Space on the rambling nine-acre lot provides the option for even more growth.

So now it has the sprawling feel of a country compound. The original house has seen several additions since its birth as a one-bedroom cottage in the early days of the Cold War.

Address: 1622 Baileys Retreat
Neighborhood: Baileys Retreat
Asking: $519,000
Assessment: $561,400
Year Built: 1950
Size: 3,032 fin sq ft., 794 unfin.
Land: 9.23 acres
Agent: Peg Gilliland, Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions, 434-242-1470
Curb Appeal: 6 out of 10

Since 1950, the house has seen three major additions, and it now has little in common with its modest beginnings. A great room extending off the original living room adds significant square footage, and with an oversized fieldstone fireplace, built-ins, and clerestory window above, there’s drama too. Two other additions, the kitchen and a master suite, extend in parallel from the back of the original house, creating a courtyard between them. Windows in each addition maximize views of the property so that the outside seems to become part of the living space.

Shell-pink Saltillo tile wends its way through a good portion of the house, from the foyer to the butler’s pantry and sunken kitchen. The tile is easy to clean in places with heavy foot traffic, but the brittle texture might be a turnoff for some. A mix of mostly hardwood with a smattering of carpet rounds out the flooring. While unmatched flooring is typical in homes with additions, buyers who want a more unified look should factor floor makeovers into their costs.

Some original spaces have been re-imagined to serve new functions. The original kitchen is now the butler’s pantry leading to the living and great rooms. The one original bedroom is now a guest or office space. The first living room, dwarfed by the great room, may be more appropriate as a formal dining room. Instead of seeming out of place, these rooms have morphed seamlessly to their new incarnations.

The size of the kitchen addition allows for a generous, open cooking and dining space. Clerestory windows emphasize the high ceiling. The space is big enough for a long farm table plus seating at the counter and maybe even a separate nook with comfortable chairs, perhaps next to the wood stove. Still, pale pink counters and dated appliances will want an update, and buyers with culinary ambitions may have even bigger changes in mind. They will at minimum need a new fridge as there isn’t one in the house now.

Bedrooms, in a wing opposite the shared living spaces, are on the small side. Although the master suite will accommodate a modern couple with a walk-in closet, garden tub and stall shower, it’s not quite big enough for today’s over-sized sleeping accoutrements. Two other bedrooms are definitely for kids. Each fits a twin and a few other furniture pieces; they share a no-frills bath off the hall. There’s certainly room to expand, though, for buyers who are drawn to the house but want more space.

All that being said, the space outside in this private neighborhood is the real draw. The mostly wooded lot isn’t quite flat but could accommodate horses or even a pool. In addition to a couple of sheds and storage for firewood, a small basketball court out front is actually the foundation for another structure, either a three-car garage or a barn.

The right buyer will not only have an eye for what this roomy house is today, but a vision of what it can be. And like the folks who’ve modified the place since 1950, they can take the next 60 years to do it.
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