Hill and grace: Ednam Forest is all that

ADDRESS: 500 Rookwood Place

ASKING: $1,500,000

SIZE: 3726 fin. sq. ft. 100 unfin.



CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Nancy Lee McConnell of RE/MAX Assured Properties 817-0395 ext. 115

Browsing through the listings of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors' website (CAAR.com) always seems to produce a small jolt, as house prices continue to escalate. The site's search engine automatically lists homes in order of price, most expensive first. [The first listing pops up at $24 million– see news story this week on Castle Hill.]

Scrolling down out of the stratosphere, we settled on a nice, more modestly priced (comparatively speaking) home in the backwoods of the Boar's Head Inn otherwise known as Ednam Forest.

The long, curvy roads here are indeed surrounded by forest, a rarity in modern subdivisions. This house not only sits high on a hill but also stands tall, no shrinking violet. The entrance doesn't register as terribly exciting, but that's only because once the big doors swing open, the interior beckons pretty strongly.

No nod to the federal/colonial period so popular in Central Virginia. No superfluous crown molding or useless chair rails. It's a pleasant feeling to walk into a house and just want to look up. The foyer opens into a two-story living room with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out the back into the woods. Not overly grand, but refined enough for most seven-figure spenders.

Down some stairs, a long hallway gives way to a formal dining room, modest kitchen, and breakfast nook. The most compelling feature really is the light. Both natural and man-made, it makes the entire house vibrate with life. Gallery lighting in every room and hallway can be dimmed and directed at the touch of a button.

The next level contains the master suite. A small reading area overlooking the main living room leads to a bedroom and continues into a bathroom and walk-in closet. A balcony rounds out this level– all of it in proportion to the rest of the house: not grand, just gracious. Another level above this contains a very private den/study/whatever. Certainly this is the place to get away from it all.

Back downstairs, one begins to notice the many well-lighted cubbies and niches along the walls. Designed for displaying objets d'art, the space is more Malibu than Monticello. One almost expects to open one of the many accesses to outside and hear waves crashing against the bulwarks.

The ground floor has a nice little entrance from the detached two-car garage that, considering the number of stairs, seems necessary if one plans to haul groceries. But not to worry, down here one can slip into the spa room with hot tub and sauna to relax those tired muscles. More informal than the rest of the house, it still manages to impress with its clean layout. Down the hall, two more bedrooms turn the place from top of the line bachelor pad into family-friendly home.

From this level, sliding glass doors lead to a secluded patio. A continuation of one of the exterior walls encloses the space gracefully. A cascading waterfall bordered by lush plantings falls into a koi pond. Several vintage fish languidly cruise the perimeter.

Ednam Forest remains one of Charlottesville's tonier neighborhoods. Each house has a unique flavor dictated by the owners' taste– to a degree. An architectural review board approves each house plan. Trees and privacy take precedence, ensuring peace for all residents. And the price-tag seems reasonable considering the other things for eight-digit figures currently making the rounds.