Help! Stuff snuffs great potential

ADDRESS: 2610 Jefferson Park Avenue

ASKING: $329,900.

SIZE: 2136 fin. sq. ft., 1068 unfin.

YEAR BUILT: 1930

NEIGHBORHOOD: Fry's Spring

CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Pat Burns of ReMax Realty Specialists 760-4715

Marginal properties are sometimes described as "a diamond in the rough." But this property– far from marginal– can more aptly be described as "a diamond in the roughage."

Other clich├ęs come to mind: One might say the house is hiding its light under a bushel. Here's another: "Can't see the forest for the... "

One thing, however, that cannot be said about this house is "what you see is what you get." What you see here is about ten times what you get. And that's the problem.

The owners have lived in this big sturdy house for 40 years. Over that time, they've enjoyed the beautiful oak woodwork, the classy French doors leading from the entrance hall to the living room, the wide stairway leading to a big upstairs landing/hall, the glass-front cabinets in the kitchen, and the big basement with lots of room for storage.

Uh-oh. Too much enjoyment going on down there. The basement, like almost every inch of the rest of the house– is packed with stuff– packed to the point that it's impossible for all but the most imaginative visitors to see (much less appreciate) the good things about the place.

And there are many good things. For starters, the house– close to shopping at Willoughby just down the road, to Fry's Spring Beach Club and its many amenities just across the street, and the university just a little way up JPA– sits on almost an acre, including a nice fenced backyard with big trees.

A large two-car garage/workshop, complete with its own furnace and separate office, sits tidily beside the house. There's a dandy jalousied back porch for enjoying summer suppers outside without the drone and itch of mosquitoes. And there's a floored dormer-windowed attic for expansion.

Four big bedrooms anchor the corners upstairs, with back-to-back bath/half bath between. (Those bathrooms, as well as another full bath on the first floor and the kitchen, need updating.) There's more closet space than usual in a house of this vintage, as well as a laundry room and pantry.

The wood-burning fireplace works fine, and a graceful built-in oak china closet adds charm to the large dining room. Finally, the large columned front porch provides space for rockers and planters.

One quirky little throw-back to days of yore– in the corner of each stair is a tiny ornate brass plate, put there to prevent dust from collecting. (Try finding one of those in Forest Lakes– or even in Glenmore!)

So why in the months since it was listed last October, during the hottest real estate market in recent memory, has the house not found a buyer? Because there's no equivalent of the stair-corner dust-preventer for flotsam: The house is hidden behind, beneath, between, and betwixt 40 years of accumulated collections.

Another problem is that paneling has been applied over most of the plaster walls (and at the top of the stairs to convert half the second floor into a separate apartment). These two difficulties, however, seem relatively easy to overcome.

The beauty of 2610 JPA, then, will be visible only to the eye of beholders with imagination. But the closer look will be rewarded– a diamond is waiting to emerge.