Two for two: Off to good start at Burnley Station

ADDRESS: 3968 Burnley Station Road

ASKING: $219,000

SIZE: 1348 fin. sq. ft./ 340 unfin. sq. ft.


NEIGHBORHOOD: Barboursville

CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Barbara Seidler of Colonnade Realty 973-4242

Driving up 29 North in the last five years has gone from moderately irritating to catastrophically lousy. No longer, it seems, do hours exist in which downtown shopping chores can be accomplished with ease. The only distraction comes from reading bumper stickers or deciphering license plate credos. Following a "Where are we going? And why am I in this handbasket?" bumper sticker can add a little humor to the stop-and-start drudgery, but the relentless development is quickly turning the 29 "corridor" into a hellish progression of consumer crack houses.

So once one passes the megalithic structures of Lowe's and Sam's Club, the green starts to stretch out again (but as backhoes perch precariously atop new dirt mountains, that green soon will become more of the paper variety).

Taking a right turn onto Burnley Station Road then, it's pleasant to see that the only construction has been of modestly built homes sitting on large lots with plenty of trees.

After winding and driving for several miles through forests and pastures, coming upon this house definitely eases the recent driving tedium. Since these places were built long enough ago to have an established landscape, one merely sees a hint of the house from the road. With only one level, this is not surprising.

Several different parking slots as well as entrances give the place a sort of office-y feel. But that does not distract once one realizes the appeal of such a subtle home. A winter carport that doubles as a summer patio brought us to the most convenient door. To the right, laundry facilities reside in an inconspicuous alcove, and to the left, built-in identical desks sit back to back. It doesn't appear unusual until the realtor mentions that the house was originally designed for two sisters. Which means that this intentional duplication probably saved a lot of squabbling as the sisters decorated and arranged their personal spaces.

The two bedrooms signal a similar mode of behavior as they're laid out exactly the same– identical shape, with windows and closets in exactly the same place. A shower room with inlaid tile, skylights– and a little extra room for sisterly maneuvers– divides twin bathrooms.

The large living room, though, truly has a communal feel. With its wall of windows, brick fireplace, bookshelves, and French doors opening onto a patio, it provides enough space for several sets of sisters. A long kitchen off this room has all the essentials without any of the fluff. A separate refrigerator and freezer flank the opening off the living/ dining area; a Halogen Plus Counterange commands the center space.

Because the house is built on a square grid, its layout is fairly obvious, with no odd corners or dead space. The front door has the only formal attribute, which is why the realtor had to point it out. It would probably only ever be used by Jehovah's Witnesses or the UPS man.

From the back door, concrete steps lead into a basement. Nothing fancy here except for a newly installed soft water system. Extensive decking off the multi-use carport circumnavigates the back of the house, allowing for more entertainment possibilities. Steps away, a very inviting pool and pool house promise more than respite from the heat, as towering oaks block all signs of neighbors.

All in all, this house with its unpretentious 1970s flair has a lot of bang for the buck. Easily a great starter home for a thriving young family, or a retreat for a retired couple, it clearly could even accommodate two curmudgeonly sisters who can't live with or without each other.