Shock of the new: No hi-tech stone unturned

ADDRESS: 5898 Free Union Road

ASKING: $624,000

SIZE: 1200 fin. sq. ft./ 2640 unfin.



CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Roger Voisinet of RE/MAX Realty Specialists * 974-1500

Ever wonder where people park those mammoth recreational vehicles that clog the highways all summer? Well wonder no more. They appear to reside inside houses all across the country. How else can one explain their disappearance, considering the length and girth of some of them? One of them, at least, has a house in Free Union built specifically for its comfort.

Fortunately, it's not as awful as it sounds. Resembling a vintage barn design and even painted in classic red, the building blends unobtrusively into the landscape. Upon closer inspection, the details pop out and are further enlivened by an agent's 24-page description of the house's architectural and environmentally interesting accents.

To access the residential area of the house, one goes up an exterior stairway of an synthetic decking system that ends on a platform deck. An indestructible alternative to wood, the material, EON, "will not split, crack, warp, or suffer any of the effects of UV rays, snow, or insects" nor will it need painting, refinishing, or replacement, according to the manufacturer.

This construction feature is just the beginning of a dizzying progression of high tech building products and methods used in this structure with an eye towards ensuring, apparently, that one could walk away from this house and return 20 years later and have it appear brand new.

The house is constructed on a "heat sink" main slab that maintains a constant temperature of 55 degrees; Insulplan structural insulated panels are used throughout; and Hardiplank and AZEK siding and trim products complete the exterior. (NASA in it heyday would have constructed such a house if it could have afforded it.)

Inside, the dimensions of downstairs dictate the floor plan upstairs so the layout is pretty obvious. One long room with a bed and bath at either flank leaves plenty of room in the middle. The kitchen takes up one side of the big room, the living area the other. First appearances say boring, especially without the added bonus of someone's homey touches. (Although for a glorified garage, the refrigerator was generously stocked.)

Without the pages of information, one would be hard pressed to discover all the foresight and custom tailoring that went into the interior of this building. From the cherry cabinets to the marble countertops to the pewter trimmed ceiling fan to the cedar-lined closet to the radiant heating system, this dwelling is a tour de force of top of the line. Even the floor in the main room is documented as 150-year-old antique distressed random width heart pine.

Back outside, the wonders continue. Planning for future expansion, three extra foundations have been laid and are already county approved for an elevator to the deck, an office space and/or wine vault, and (why?!) a 20' X 30' additional garage space.

The catalogue explains more of the inner workings that include a full wiring system for implementing a surround-sound system, electronic entrance gate, nine Cat 5 cable locations, and a security system that would put the CIA to shame. This includes three motion detectors, two heat/smoke detectors, five door alarms, two window alarms, and a freeze guard (one can only imagine) in the attic.

The garage is huge. Sixty feet long and 14 feet tall, the wide, open space could easily see many incarnations. More than just a hobby shop, classic cars could be stored here, or fine woodworking/sculpture/wine created here, or just about anything your heart desires. A half bath and a 12'X 20' storage area take up two of the corners, but they feel tiny after all that airy space.

For the right person, this structure could be a dream come true, but the custom details and the high price will leave others merely shaking their head at the hubris of it all.