Time travel: Back to the '60s close to town

ASKING: $295,000

SIZE: 2392 fin. sq.ft., 979 unfin.

YEAR BUILT: 1961

ADDRESS: 2806 Northfield Road

NEIGHBORHOOD: Northfields

CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Eric Strzepek, Century 21 Albemarle Properties, 977-3033

There was a certain innocence to the '60s that is very appealing in these times of water shortages, $1.50/gallon gas, and Viagra prescriptions. Oh, sure, the Cold War was scary, the Vietnam War divided hippies from their I-Like-Ike parents, and the civil rights struggle could be brutal.

Maybe it's just the "good old days" cliché that makes us look at the past through rose-colored glasses. Whatever the reason, this house on Northfield Road, lived in since 1961 by the original owner, is a monument to nostalgia.

As soon as you enter the front door, you find out you're in a unique place. Because that door you just came through– with doorbell, mail box, front stoop, knocker, the whole front-door package– isn't really the front door! When you step through, you find yourself in a covered patio with a beautiful slate floor and a sweeping view to the back yard.

Now you can turn and go through the real front door into the long, dark, paneled living room. (What was that fixation on paneling back then?) This L-shaped living room, with a raised hearth and deep, built-in bookshelves, opens to the bedroom wing to the left and to the dining room and kitchen around the corner. It has big windows, but because they open to that covered front-entry patio, they don't allow much light to enter. However, there is also a large "picture window"– another pure '60s touch– with a large angled fanlight window above it, allowing beautiful views of a huge magnolia in the front yard.

The kitchen is another happy surprise. Although the appliances are 40 years old it has one of those great old stoves with the oven above and burners on a sort of tray that slides in and out under it it's perfectly serviceable and even charming. There's a wonderful skylight over the whole room, with Art Deco-influenced mirrored beams holding it up, that makes the sky the ceiling. I wouldn't change a thing in that kitchen, but realizing that anyone else probably will, the owner is offering a $5,000 "kitchen remodeling allowance" as part of the pricing package.

The ceramic tiles in the three full bathrooms (on floors and walls) are large white "Florida tiles," elegant and only a little campy. One bathroom has a laundry chute which delivers dirty skivvies directly to a sorting table in the washer/dryer area in the basement level below. It's hard to resist the charming little touches in this house.

That downstairs "rec room," or family room, contains a wet bar with sink, walk-out access to the sweeping back yard, and more built-in bookshelves. Behind this large room is the laundry area, a workshop, and just in case the Red Scare revs up again, a sort of bunker area deep under the front of the house for storing those canned garbanzos or maybe even hunkering down yourself. There's a full bath on the downstairs level, too.

Outside is all taken care of. A row of gorgeous boxwoods lines the driveway leading to the one-car garage (more paneling!), and the backyard has been professionally landscaped with a tall privacy hedge on one side and flowering shrubs grouped under a large tree. A brick path leads to a patio and, up an unusual brick stairway, to a covered deck just off the kitchen.

The garden storage shed, approximately 25' x 30', at the edge of the property is big enough for all necessary garden tools, including riding mowers and tractors. The back yard's only drawback is that it's a pretty steep slope to the woods at the edge of the property.

Situated far down a little-traveled road, protected in front by the large boxwood hedge, and with two front doors, the house is private in the extreme. I can imagine a swell couple of a certain age inviting all their friends over for groovy parties on that beautiful slate patio, having so much fun– the way they used to do when rock was young.