Foxchase: Enjoying the perks of wealth


ADDRESS: 416 Foxdale Lane

ASKING: $895,000

SIZE: 4,060 fin. sq. ft., 3,222 unfin.



CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Maggie Beights of Real Estate III 531-1446

Like Moses leading his people to the land of milk and honey, local developers seem to want to lead us to silk and money. The square footage of colossal new homes around here bloats in proportion to the alarm of those accustomed to driving the same roads with the same vistas who suddenly find that one day, where cows once stood, now stand houses. Great big houses that could shelter a herd.

The designated "growth area" surrounding Crozet has builders chomping at the bit to erect spec homes to showcase their skills. The swank Foxchase subdivision is the latest addition to Crozet's booming renaissance. Builders have already snapped up more than half of the fifty-four $180,000 lots, each about an acre.

Mike Gaffney, president of Gaffney Homes, chose the lot second closest to 250 West to build his showpiece. Because it's currently all alone, it stands out more than it probably should. The orange clay that Virginians have to call soil surrounds the house like a muddy moat.

A steep incline to the garage might pose problems for a Pinto, but a four-wheel-drive vehicle could handle it in a heartbeat. Entering the house, though, really does take your breath away whether it's your style or not.

Soaring ceilings and a heady expanse of windows throughout give the house an airy feeling. Only by looking at the floor plan on paper can you see the designations for dining/living rooms (which are located in front on either side of the room-sized foyer). But all the classic upgrades are here: hardwood floors, marble around the fireplaces, tray ceilings, and a kitchen to warm the cockles of any gourmand's heart. In fact, for someone unaccustomed to such largesse, the prospect of filling those custom cabinets might seem a trifle intimidating.

More space, more rooms, flow ever onward and outward. A "great room" with wet bar leads to a full deck. Beyond is a master suite that– because of its size and current real estate lingo– has been dubbed the "owner's retreat." One imagines the owner's real retreat must be in Maui. The bathroom stands out with its dual sink stations, Jacuzzi tub, and marble shower, floors, and vanity tops. The wall of mirrors (and the oversized windows) not so subtly make visitors suck in their gut.

Upstairs and to the left, another huge bedroom with personal bathroom exhibits little character. From here, one crosses a bridge (over the "great room") leading to two more similar-sized bedrooms. A small raised loft area adds some architectural interest to the smaller bedroom, and looks as though it could create hours of enjoyment for the under-10 set.

An added bonus to these rooms is storage space behind the walls. Looking something like the bowels of a wooden sailing vessel, these spaces could possibly provide interest for the teenage set.

Lacking any real homey touches, the house just appears huge. But the space has been well planned, and it's easy to imagine a family here enjoying the spoils of Western Culture in the early 21st century.

Foxchase is marketed as a community. A clubhouse with amenities like tennis and swimming has been planned as well as privileges at the under-construction Old Trail golf course.

One wonders where all the folks are coming from to meet the building and restructuring permitted by the Comprehensive Plan for Crozet. Right now, it's just a tsunami of enormous houses dwarfing a rather small and shabby downtown. The Plan promises "a new form with identifiable centers and edges promoting walkability in its scale and organization."

But looking around, one sees only more cars, no pedestrians, and the blurred edges between one subdivision and the next.

However you look at it, Crozet's changing.