No fluff: Understated Avalon mimics town

ADDRESS: 595 Old Drivers Road

ASKING: $585,000

SIZE: 3,311 fin. sq. ft.



CURB APPEAL: 9 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Cynthia Viejo of Montague Miller & Co. 973-5393

Since the July/August 2003 edition of AAA World, a regional AAA magazine, included Scottsville among five of "The Atlantic's Most Pacific Places," you'd expect everyone to sit up and take notice. Perhaps some out-of-state developers are poised to scoop up land, or a golf course designer is scoping out fairways. Certainly that's what's happening to Scottsville's western counterpart, Crozet.

But on a sleepy Monday morning, the down-county river town's only noticeable action involves some pickup trucks drinking their fill at the gas station. As a lone visitor ambles up the street to peruse the retail offerings, those same trucks slow to glacial speed to check out the newcomer. Ah, the joys of small town living where everyone knows your name– and sometimes, your business.

The appeal of this house located a mile out of town at the end of a gravel tract is immediately apparent. "Avalon"– built by a sea captain as a wedding gift for his daughter (What happened to those days?)– sits front and center on a sea of green. The screened front porch, approximately 40 feet long and 14 feet deep, feels like a ballroom.

And that's just the beginning of the grandeur. Two huge rooms on either side of the entry/foyer have been lovingly restored to better-than-original luster. The continuous length (16 feet) pine flooring has been sanded and shined to reveal its innate beauty. The walls have been painted a warm chocolate that appears a little heavy-handed at first glance. A far cry from Martha Stewart's ubiquitous sage green, it suggests (if one follows color meanings) stability, financial success, and psychic powers. (Coran Capshaw's living area is a similar color.)

An office flows off one of these large rooms, which continues on to the kitchen. Here, light shines in from flanking side porches. Outrageously modern with a six-burner commercial style gas stove and a stainless steel JennAir side-by-side refrigerator, the space just begs for occupants. An island and fireplace lightly delineate the dining area. A small, curving staircase leads to a little loft space for those inclined to less grandeur. Perfect for kids or a weekend guest, it's one of those rooms that add an odd charm to older homes.

Climbing the front staircase to the second floor seemed an ordinary feat until the last step. Raised just an inch higher than the other risers, it can make an unsuspecting visitor trip and stumble. Built as a precaution against burglars and marauders, that last step was enough to wake the inhabitants and alert them to possible danger. Now it's just a cute story because a full alarm system has been installed.

The room-sized landing leads to three bedrooms and one full bathroom. Closets have been built into two of the bedrooms– the third uses an armoire. Gone are the days when one's clothing could fit into an armoire, but the rooms are spacious enough to allow for a walk-in if that's what you want. A small attic now suffices for fashion overflow.

The 9.3 acres are mostly wooded. A large organic garden (not currently planted) is surrounded by a sturdy white three-foot picket fence. A buck probably wouldn't stop here. A slightly ramshackle two-car garage could easily be put to use as workshop. Previous owners owned goats, and although a fenced section is overgrown and wooly, adding some small livestock would return this to pasture in no time.

All in all, everything here is understated yet elegant. The European owners have resurrected the "bones" of this property without adding a lot of fluffy details. In fact, much of Scottsville could be described the same way. Now, when you see folks sporting those t-shirts touting "London, Paris, Rome, Scottsville," instead of shaking your head in disbelief, you can nod in agreement.