Up to speed: '70s colonial gets a makeover

ADDRESS: 2803 Huntington Road

ASKING: $469,000

SIZE: 2,900 fin. sq. ft., 891 unfin.



CURB APPEAL: 8 of 10

LISTED BY: Laney Kaminer 242-4585, 974-1500

If you live in a house built in a "low-lying area," and last year's deluges and this year's over-active hurricane season have you worn out from flood worries and ready to seek higher ground, 2803 Huntington Road might be worth a visit.

Unlike most of the 1970s-style, two-story, well-shuttered, neocolonial homes that line Huntington Road as it meanders north from East Rio Road, this two-story house isn't even visible to passersby.

An asphalt driveway leads through thick trees to reveal a well-kept yellow-painted brick and mansard-roof home on the flattened top of 1.2 acres. With most of the yard to the front and side (and split nicely between lawn and deciduous tree cover), the house is not only well elevated but also quite private for a such a near-town location.

Sitting on the brick patio or raised deck in back of the house, residents might catch a glimpse of their Carrsbrook neighbors on nearby lots in their back yards, but front yard views are simply leafy green vistas at this time of year.

Hurricanes aside, this house is well suited to most of the rigors of Virginia's climate.

Two heat pumps­ one in the attic for the upper story and one in the unfinished basement for the ground floor­ take care of basic heating and air conditioning needs.

A southern-oriented sunroom added just off the living room with three walls of windows is no doubt pleasant year-round, but may be most appreciated on gray days when every ray of natural light will be appreciated. The room's heated tile floors will also be appreciated to keep even lightly slippered tootsies toasty.

Those same newly installed heated tiles reappear in the completely revamped kitchen area. A brick fireplace in the adjacent family room is currently outfitted with gas logs, but according to the agent, it can handle wood fires, too.

Even better during stormy seasons, if the north wind should blow too hard, this house has its own generator. (It's probably a good idea to stay home and comfortable during scary weather because that steep and curvy driveway is probably a slippery slide in an ice storm.)

The current owners, despite having been at the address for only three to four years, are responsible for revamping the house from the 1973 original. Tearing out wall-to-wall shag carpeting, they added not only the sunroom and the heated tiles, but also new cherry hardwood floors.

They also added a master bedroom and full bath with Jacuzzi-style tub, glass-paneled shower stall, and glass-block window on the ground level, for a total of five bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms overall. (Two full baths are upstairs with the four other bedrooms.)

The formal dining room, kitchen– with an eat-in space big enough for a table and four chairs beside a bay window– plus the slightly sunken family room area, look over the back patio.

Doors open from the family room to the patio. New white cabinets, white tile splash guards, and all-white appliances (which convey) complement the expanse of glossy black and silvery granite counters broken only by a recessed white ceramic kitchen sink for a non-fussy feeling in what can often be the busiest looking room in a house.

New owners wanting to do any fix-up here will have to be content working on the single open expanse of space– the basement. Carpeted and well lit, but with open floor joists above, it could remain storage space or be converted for any number of practical uses.

Thus, this 30-year-old house presents little to complain about: some great upgrades inside, a modest exterior and yard outside, and a location that feels country while being neatly tucked into Albemarle's urban ring. Leave the driveway, make a right turn on Carrsbrook Drive, and 1.3 miles later, you're staring right back at Better Living.