Photogenic: Not new but sparkling on Altavista Avenue

Address: 616 Altavista Avenue
Neighborhood: Belmont
Asking: $359,000
Assessment:  $268,300
Year Built: 1925
Size: 1,780 fin. sq. ft.
Land: 0.13 acres
Agent: Marina Ringstrom, BHG Real Estate III, 434-465-0035
Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10

This house loves the camera, and the good news is the photographs look just as good as the real thing. Still, appearances can be deceiving, so get to know the place. Walk on in— and be carried away by a house of color, light, and upscale charm.

The cachet of Belmont extends to its distant limits here on Altavista. Still, folks say they can walk to a café on the Downtown Mall in 12 minutes. This is a neighborhood of people who "get it," who know that to benefit from urban blessings they have to let go of the suburban ideal.

The neighborhood is a patchwork of funky fixer-uppers and houses, like this one, that have been doted on for almost a century.

Built in 1925 (of cement blocks, trendy back then, pale blue now), the house has been totally updated with expensive, top-of-the-line fixtures: Restoration Hardware meets Helsinki chic. There are stainless steel details on kitchen cabinets, gas-powered, on-demand water heaters, elite energy-efficient washer/dryer upstairs, heat pump handler for each floor, and slick utilitarian touches everywhere.

Inside, everything falls into place: the living room on the right is sunny, bright, and roomy enough for family living. The dining room beyond continues with subtle wall colors, bringing out the original glory of the 1920s hardwood floors. Nine-foot ceilings, plenty of large windows, and three-inch molding around all doors and windows create a sense of serenity old houses know so well how to provide.

Beyond the kitchen is a sunny playroom or sunroom with a bank of windows looking out to the sizable fenced-in yard accessed by a large new deck with steps to the lawn. An actual clothes line is a real bonus.

The house is so loaded with storage that the pressure is off to down-size. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, built-in linen closets, coat closets, laundry closets, pull-out pantries, wardrobes to the ceiling, and cubbies provide a place for every last gee-gaw. Each has been designed with contemporary flair and high-end functionality. So go for it: buy those cases of chunky salsa and super-size jars of pickled eggs for long rainy weekends. There’s room for it all even without a garage– and oh, in addition, there's a sizable storage shed in the backyard.

Upstairs, a large master bedroom with pale colors and lots of light, a big second one, and a third smaller bedroom/office/baby's room make it seem like visiting the three bears' house— just very upscale bears. Add a large lavish bathroom with glass-walled walk-in shower and a laundry cove with supply closet, and any Goldilocks would be quite happy to wake up here.

It's "just right."

The plantings can give one pause: raised organic beds of tulips, daffodils, peonies, lilies, sage, marigolds, butterfly bushes, honeysuckle, crepe myrtle, and myriad veggies, A-through-Z(ucchini). Is this a blessing or a burden? If you have gardening urges, this headstart on summer blooms is a bonus.

Living with the charm and spunk of the ‘20s yet with every single thing new, working, and in high style will make new buyers want to have their own picture taken. They'll look good, too, just like this very photogenic Altavista offering.
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