Too cool: Only the hip need apply

ADDRESS: 2520 Williston Drive

ASKING: $650,000

SIZE: 5000 fin. sq. ft., 300 unfin.

YEAR BUILT: 1966

NEIGHBORHOOD: West Leigh

CURB APPEAL: 5 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Sale withdrawn

This house is not for everyone. In fact, it will be a very unusual person who drives out Route 250 to the West Leigh subdivision, penetrates the '60s fa├žade of what seems to be a typical brick rancher, and swoons when he (or she) crosses the threshold.

If you "get it," that's what will happen. This house, in current parlance, rocks.

Let's talk about the house per se. In the 5,000 square feet on two sprawling levels are 18 rooms (counting three full baths). The owners indicate there were even more when they bought it, which they have transformed into large, dramatic spaces.

The master bedroom is a prime example. Formerly three small who-knows-what sort of rooms, it's now one large (if shallow) glamorous space opening to a 21st-century bath (designed by the owner) with slate-tile steam shower and Jacuzzi, and the most space-age sitting-on-top-of-the counter sink we've seen. The other side of the bedroom is given over to a large maze-like dressing area/closet.

The bedroom opens through French doors to what was originally the patio (now a sunroom) with a brick floor and a wall of windows. What's most interesting about the bedroom/master bath suite is the floor. The owner admits a passion for concrete, and here she's tinted it slate gray (to match the bath tiles) and put it down to unify the uneven floors of the three original rooms. It's probably cold in winter, but it's the crowning touch to the rest of the innovative textures in this area.

Back to the front hall, which is covered half-way up with corrugated sheet iron (we said you'd have to be a visionary to love this place). It leads through another set of French doors to a huge living room with more bay windows, maple-stained oak floors, and a fireplace (one of three in the house, all wood-burning). Beyond is the children's wing, with three large bedrooms, one of which was originally the master, so it has its own big bathroom with ceramic tile and wood wainscoting.

The third full bath here is the one thing in the house the owners have not updated its avocado green tiles have clearly witnessed beehives being teased and wide lapels being smoothed. The laundry room is back in this wing, too.

The dining room, kitchen, and family room (with built-in CD and videotape storage) span the back of the house, looking through another large window into a long, private garden. (The third fireplace is a little one here in the kitchen.)

Downstairs is more "rec" space with a Swedish woodstove (conveys), an office, a paneled playroom, another bedroom and full bath and another kitchen, evidence that this space was once a "mother in law" suite. (But you better have a hip mother in law if you're thinking of putting her down here.)

The term "downstairs" should not be taken to imply that this area is below ground on the contrary, the door from the large central room leads to a ground-level patio in front of the house, overlooking a spacious lawn sloping toward "Loch Leigh," a several-acre lake whose fishing rights are reserved for residents. Interestingly, despite the fact that this is a subdivision, the view across the lake to a thick woods is quite appealing and country-like.

To the right of the house is a big pool with spacious cabana containing bath, shower, kitchen, and storage room, and on the other side of the house there's a two-car garage. Other particulars include new roof, new heat system (with AC) and wiring, and up-to-date fixtures in all bathrooms.

But none of these details conveys the feel of the place. "Funky" isn't quite right, "eclectic" is the wrong tone, "quirky" isn't it, and– after a recent chastising letter to the editor– we can't say "swanky" any more. What is it about this house?

Go out for a visit and see if you "get it." If you do, you'll immediately start trying to scare up the $650,000.