'70s redux: Relic could be trendsetter

ADDRESS: 1832 Yorktown Drive

ASKING: $245,000

SIZE: 2,483 fin. sq. ft.



CURB APPEAL: 6 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Janice Bloxsom 295-4663 x109

One would think after reading the papers that Charlottesville neighborhoods consist almost entirely of modern, high-end monoliths or dilapidated gentrification projects. But those are only in the news because of Charlottesville's ongoing expansion and highly touted desirability.

But driving around Greenbrier, one can catch a glimpse of an original neighborhood. Real estate turnover is low, and the houses look as if they haven't changed much since they were built. Several sport new additions, but even they have to compete with the creeping ivy and tall trees that surround everything.

The pleasant five minutes it took to drive from the Downtown Mall to this house precluded any road rage. From this neighborhood nestled between the 250 Bypass and Rio Road/ Park Street, one could easily get almost anywhere in town without encountering congestion.

Because of the hilly terrain, few of the houses are actually level with the street. Driveways jut up and down at sharp angles. Here, we pulled in below the house and then had to walk back up to get to the front door. New soft yellow paint adds a bright touch to an otherwise plain exterior, but with nary a window on this side, it's impossible to guess what secrets the inside of the house holds.

Anyone who grew up in the '70s or watches Brady Bunch reruns will recognize the distinct split-level style. Unfortunately here, as in the '70s, wood paneling covers the stairwell and makes it dark and uninviting. Surely some of that yellow paint and a little wall rearranging could make the entrance a little more entrancing.

The first level (up a small flight of stairs) is split right down the middle into two areas of equal-size. Neither grand nor shabby, there's a lot of space up here. Either side could be used for living/dining, as it's fairly open and joined at the center by the kitchen. The back of the house opens up, with sliding glass doors to a deck. At this height, the view is almost of the canopy of trees, and that gives it a giant tree house feel.

Upstairs (two more narrow flights of stairs) the space offers a master suite on one side and two bedrooms and full bath on the other side. Fewer windows up here makes for total privacy, but one might consider some skylights to increase the light. Or at the very least, rip out the '70s psychedelic carpeting and put down some sisal.

Back downstairs (past the front door) to the terrace level, or ground floor, more space awaits. To the left, a decent-size space with romper room possibilities could be an office/storage/entertainment area. Sliding glass doors open to the driveway. One imagines that during rainstorms or a return trip from Sam's Club this would become the shortest route inside. So perhaps a little architectural reworking might be in order here to make it all a little more dynamic.

On the other side of the stairwell, a half bath, laundry room, and storage put this house over the top in terms of usable space. A private deck with southern exposure, cordoned off by a tall, informal hedge, had "hot tub" immediately leaping to mind.

So, either taken "as is" or as a "with potential" proposition, this place has many attributes. Lacking the current social requirements of tall ceilings and that "Forest Lakes flow," the house seems rather dowdy and unloved. But now that Charlottesville has made national headlines as the number one finest place to live, this throwback to the '70s could easily become someone's castle of the new century without spending a millennial fortune.