Space galore: Hidden Forest offers grand retreat

Address: 260 Forestvue Drive
Neighborhood: Hidden Forest, Earlysville
Asking: $745,000
Assessment: $702,200
Year Built: 2006
Size: 3027 fin. sq. ft./2075 unfin.
Land: 4.94 acres
Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10
Listing Agent: Amy Webb 434-760-1319, Nest Realty, 434-825-5756

Anyone who reads real estate advertisements on a regular basis understands that agents and brokers, who typically create their own copy, are as overtaxed as copywriters in other industries. The same words and phrases– privately situated, cozy, functional floor plan, graciously appointed– tend to get recycled. Nonetheless, there are some situations in which the descriptions, however overused, are accurate.

For instance, 260 Forestvue Drive is privately situated: accessed by two driveways– one of which leads to an attached three-car garage– the home sits on nearly five acres at the end of the cul-de-sac in Hidden Forest, a small subdivision off Bleak House Road in Earlysville. The land offers a nice mix of woods and open lawn, accented with attractive landscaping that complements the farmhouse-style design.

The custom-built house features over 3,000 finished square feet, including four bedrooms, four full baths, and a few surprises– like the dining room, accessed from the front entry by a wide cased opening. It’s smaller than one might expect for a house this size, but the crown molding and oak floors give it a classic feel, and it’s easy to imagine several friends gathered around the table enjoying a casual dinner in this cozy space. The modest size also provides balance to both the high-ceilinged foyer and the adjacent spacious kitchen.

With plentiful counters, a gas range, and a walk-in pantry, the kitchen should satisfy even the most ardent cook. An eat-in area is separated from the neighboring great room by a half-wall, contributing to the easy functional flow of the main living areas. Vaulted ceilings can sometimes make a large room feel vast and overwhelming, but a gas fireplace and built-in bookshelves help mitigate the effect here and make the great room feel comfortable rather than impersonal. Folks seeking solitude will find it in the television room at the front of the house (with a full bath).

Tucked behind the great room, the master bedroom suite  is also surprisingly small, although dual walk-in closets, a glass-enclosed shower, a soaking tub, and a double vanity provide all the necessary amenities. This space won’t appeal to those seeking Texas-sized quarters and over-the-top glamor, but buyers who can be happy with a quiet, light-filled retreat won’t be disappointed.

Upstairs are three more bedrooms, one so spacious that it could easily be converted to a second-floor master, a playroom, or even a rec room. A cedar closet and a small floored attic space provide generous storage.

Most people shopping in this price range aren’t looking for a fixer-upper, but the basement offers plenty of opportunity to satisfy even people with big plans. The floors are painted, and the walls are insulated and sheetrocked, but the ceilings haven’t been put in, the trim work hasn’t been done, and the roughed-in bath hasn’t been finished. With windows and doors admitting loads of natural light, the basement, which presently houses mechanical systems, a workout space, and a workshop, is a prime area for expansion.

A front porch, a rear deck, and a slate patio allow for appreciation of the outdoors, and the views are bucolic. Raised bed gardens and a fenced compost area will please gardeners; the yard is large enough to accommodate more extensive landscaping.

This offering will appeal to large families with lots of children, couples who enjoy entertaining and hosting out-of-town guests, or retirees who need plenty of room to house their visiting grandkids.

Given that the median home sale in Albemarle County last year was under $300,000, however, the current list price will limit the number of prospective purchasers. That’s not to say that it’s an unfair figure– at just over 5 percent above assessment, the asking price is competitive and within range of the other available listing in the same subdivision. But based on last year’s sales of homes in the $700,000-$750,000 range (13) and the current inventory (25), there’s a lot of competition.
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Note: The photographs above are properly credited in this online edition, but in the print version of the Hook they carried the wrong credit line.