Show off: Big Belmonter outshines neighbors

ADDRESS: 750 Belmont Avenue

ASKING: $469,900

SIZE: 2,800 fin. sq. ft.



CURB APPEAL: 8 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Bob Hughes of Colonnade Realty 951-7344

Like a trumpet solo in a big brass band, this week's offering brazenly flaunts its newness. Surrounded by Belmont's well-documented funkiness, the place has been more than fixed up– it's been glamorized.

Nathan Metzger of Atlanta-based real estate firm MCO Virginia Owns Inc. bought the property to occupy his employees during an intermission between other projects. Responsible for constructing Coran Capshaw's Riverbend Apartments at Pantops and Walker Square in Fifeville, Metzger allegedly assembled his employees and asked them whether they wanted to collect unemployment for three months or work on a house. They opted for the house.

From one's first steps onto the pristine and pillared wraparound porch, evidence of quality workmanship is apparent. No lumpy paint-overs or hidden spackled cracks. Passing through the vestibule with glowing maple floors brings one into an interior that gleams like a shiny penny.

The original windows let the light stream in, providing a seamless transition from outdoors to in. The front room, because it's accessed only from the entry hall, seems a little closed off considering that the rest of downstairs is wide open and welcoming. But who knows? The formality of the 1920s may be poised to make a comeback.

Under the stairs, a door leads to the basement, but since we couldn't locate a light, images of Silence of the Lambs welled up, so we beat a fast retreat.

On the first floor, more huge rooms splayed out awash in natural light. In the back, a thoroughly modern kitchen has been installed with two pantries, Hymac (Corian-lookalike) countertops, and a ceramic floor. The view from the sink is a nice little perk, because though other houses are close, they're low enough so that no one can stare if you decide to do the dishes in the buff. A smaller room and laundry space discreetly occupy a corner away from the grandeur of the rest of the house.

Upstairs, more of the same. Sparkling heart pine floors lead from one large bedroom to the next. In several places where the floor has been replaced, it would take a pretty picky purchaser to notice any difference. An extra- wide hallway connects three bedrooms and a bathroom.

The only addition to the house is a master suite running along the back. Directly above the kitchen, with views that take in several mountains, this space could provide respite from many a harried day (if such a thing exists in Charlottesville). In the bathroom, an extra deep, wide, long bathtub with full tile surround has definitely upgraded the claw-foot tub experience into something worth driving home for.

Outdoors, the paucity of shade trees means the house stands out a little too spectacularly. Fortunately, the tree-lined avenue keeps the neighborhood from resembling anything like suburbia. A single parking space behind the house adds to the urban appeal, and as soon as downtown resembles D.C. will probably be worth as much as the car parked there.

The only really hair-raising aspect of this house remains the price. Butts are sore from all the self-kicking of folks who sat idle over the last 10 years when Belmont houses like this could have been picked up for about a third of what's being asked now. While perhaps not as satisfying as having bought this property for a song in 1993, there's little doubt that owning it now would bring its own rewards.

Its proximity to downtown, larger than average size, and corner lot all would seem to satisfy the desires of Belmont home-wannahavs.