Best of both: Old and new in Batesville

ADDRESS: 1562 Burchs Creek Road


ASKING: $619,000


SIZE: 2,590 fin. sq. ft.

LAND: 3.98 acres

CURB APPEAL: 8 out of 10

LISTED BY: Jess Haden, Roy Wheeler Co. 951-5153

Batesville is in transition. Both Bud Light and Veuve Clicquot are available at Page's Store for baseball-capped workmen and gentlemen farmers in monogrammed shirts. Jaguars pass pick-up trucks on the bucolic county roads. And so far, the celebrities and regular folks have managed to maintain a pleasant coexistence.

The same signs of evolution are apparent in the housing stock. Proximity to less-grand neighbors accentuates the elegance of this Victorian two-over-two. Roads surrounding the four-acre lot are blocked on three sides by evergreen plantings so dense that traffic noise, even during rush-hour, is minimal.

An enormous oak with a swing dominates the back yard, site also of a vegetable garden, a gazebo, and a quaint storage shed– the only storage on the property, unfortunately. Formal plantings surround the classic front porch with gingerbread trim in perfect repair, and a swing suggests the genteel life former residents of this quaint little community no doubt enjoyed. A soapstone patio hints of long summer evenings entertaining the Batesville haute bourgeoise. A circular grill beckons– for oysters on the half shell or hot dogs, depending upon which half of the Batesville citizenry has been summoned. (But across Burchs Creek Road, a VDOT shed of some sort houses a collection of trucks and gravel, possibly an eyesore in winter when the leaves are down.)

The house itself holds no surprises: on one side of the foyer, a formal living room with coal fireplace, on the other, a parlor, also with a coal fireplace, the two divided by a grand staircase. An additional room behind the parlor with high ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace serves as the dining room. In this room– added not long after the completion of the house, according to the agent– the hearth extends well beyond the fireplace, possibly to accommodate a wood stove, although now the house has oil-fired hot water heat. A new bathroom on this floor sports golden marble tile and a skylight offset by deep blue walls and ceiling.

Unfortunately, the owners had to move before implementing their plans for a kitchen/utility room re-do, and the contrast between the tasteful restoration of the front rooms and the mere adequacy of the kitchen echoes the old and new of Batesville itself.

The second-level floor plan suffers from a three-steps-up, three-down design and too many doors. And the joys of a wonderful sleeping porch are dimmed by the fact that it can be reached only through one of the three bedrooms. It's easy to imagine the center bedroom and long open porch blending into a master bedroom/bath suite. Waking to the light from the row of double-hung windows would be glorious. Many of the double-hung windows still have their original float-glass, a sign of the house's early history.

Closets have been carved into each room with our old favorite bi-fold doors– but as we always point out, they can be jettisoned in a heartbeat.

A historic house in good shape, beautifully situated on enough land to provide privacy from Batesville's eclectic mix and only 20 minutes to town– sounds like another element of the best-of-both-worlds ambience of the little county town.