Scenic sanctuary: Relax or romp about in Ivy Farm

Address: 505 Ivy Farm Drive

Neighborhood: Ivy Farm 

Asking: $699,900

Assessment:  $573,900
Year Built: 1979
Size: 2,956 fin. sq. ft. /150 unfin.

Land: 5.8 acres

Agent: H. Jordan Hague Jr., Equity Saver USA  434-977-7283
Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10

Water views are coveted by just about everyone, especially homeowners. The CAAR listing for this Ivy Farm property displayed an abundance of idyllic photos of the surrounding woods and pond— an enticing prospect for the recluse in all of us.

The short 15-minute drive from Emmet Street to Ivy Farm Road is dotted with lovely vistas­— a serene commute. But prospective buyers who set out with visions of Walden Pond dancing in their head will be a bit disappointed: this haven in the woods is not completely on the road less traveled. While the house sits on the rim of a private 5.8-acre lot, it's part of a subdivision, and a neighbor’s house located a stone's throw away is visible, complete with a large playset.

Built in the late 1970s, this four-level contemporary appears diminutive and uninspiring from the outside, but upon entering, visitors are struck by the potential. Sunlight streams from skylights and an expansive wall of glass across the rear upper floor. Nearly every room has a balcony, a deck, or patio egress.

To the right of the entryway, on its own level, the master bedroom has a fireplace and private balcony. But the Victorian décor, repeated throughout the house, looks out of place in the context of the modest architecture. A carved antique bed-frame overpowers what would otherwise be a comfortably sized room; looking beyond it, however, views of the tranquil forested backdrop make it easy to imagine the place uncluttered, with spare modern furnishings.

The en suite bath has been extensively updated with heated travertine tile floors, a corner shower, and a handsome vanity. A small walk-in closet contains one wall of shelves but only one section for clothes on hangers.

A short flight of stairs leads down to a family room with an imposing brick hearth and wood stove. Two undersized bedrooms here have large windows and full-length glass doors leading to a wooded path, but the layout could be disconcerting to a homeowner who wants more privacy and fewer views. This level has a tastefully renovated bathroom that serves three rooms plus a lower-level playroom. Reducing the size of the family room would provide larger bedrooms and an additional bathroom.

The last level contains an up-to-date laundry room, a sliding glass door to the backyard, and a bookcase-lined game room kids will love— if the Foosball table conveys.

Fabulous picturesque views dominate the top level. Beyond the wood deck, a path leads to a distant pond, and the panorama is showcased impressively from the open-concept living/dining/kitchen areas. The 18’ x 14’ living room has a vaulted cedar ceiling and brick wall featuring a minimal, cantilevered stone hearth that could be greatly enhanced with a mantel and a decorative stone or ceramic façade over the brick. Any large-scale entertaining can easily flow from the informal dining room into the living room and adjacent deck.

The kitchen is oriented to provide the cook with the best view of the wooded landscape through floor-to-ceiling glass. The substantial granite countertop that wraps around the perimeter, however, proves that bold is not always beautiful. And while the cabinetry and appliances are in good condition, replacing the wavy-patterned countertops would be a wise move. A study that once served as a bedroom is next to a partially renovated bathroom with fiberglass shower.

Following any of the passageways to the great outdoors and walking the gently sloping path to the pond and well-appointed gazebo helps compensate for any shortcomings inside. The listing mentions swimming, fishing, and boating from the private dock of the five-acre pond— surely an invitation few can refuse. The walk back on the naturally landscaped path reveals the best features of the property: passive solar glass, porches jutting into the sunlight, swings swaying above mulched patios. The mahogany siding has aged gracefully and nestles the building into its surroundings.

Although this house itself is not grand, buyers who value quality R&R in their own backyard can’t go wrong investing in this property at the right price. Folks who can budget for some renovations to put a modern spin on the interior will have a stunning sanctuary, an easy commute to work, and playmates for the children– in all, a welcoming retreat at the end of the road less traveled.
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