ON THE BLOCK- Wanted: Happy trees seek warm owner

ADDRESS: 2920 Doctors Crossing Road


ASKING: $1,185,000

COUNTY ASSESSMENT: $687,600 ($463,200 under "land use" tax break)


SIZE: 4,400 fin. sq. ft.

LAND: 31 acres

CURB APPEAL: 7 out of 10

LISTED BY: Jim Bonner and Aaron Manis of Roy Wheeler Realty, 951-5155

On the PBS show The Joy of Painting, host Bob Ross always painted his landscapes working from background to foreground. He might begin with the contours of rolling hills in the background, then add a pond and a dirt path in the middle-ground, and finally put some "happy trees" into the foreground with his go-to color, Van Dyke brown, while saying something like, "It's your world and maybe, just maybe, a happy little tree lives right here."

That process basically describes the way the current owners have done much to improve the landscape around the house (background) while the house itself (foreground) remains a clean canvas waiting to come to life with the personal touches of a new owner.

In the short span of six years since the house was built, the surrounding 30-acre lot has been transformed in a number of ways that have increased the scenic appeal of the land. A three-acre pond was created out of a marshy lowland, and a small dock was built to moor a single rowboat. The dock has weathered to a mellow gray, and the faded white rowboat floats peacefully nearby. The pond has been stocked with a mixture of bluegill and bass.

The forest that closely encircled the homesite was mostly cut down to create an open lawn extending about 50 yards from all sides of the house and dotted with well-spaced trees that were selectively left uncut. This thinning of the forest has opened up and enhanced the views.

The owners have cleared walking paths around the pond, through the woods, and over three small creeks winding through the property. Across the creeks, they built several rustic wooden footbridges of logs and small trees.

Compared to the surrounding land, the house remains a blank canvas, with only a few details of charm, warmth, and homeyness. The design of the house is a prosaic mix of neo-colonial and modern elements typical of many houses built in the last 15 years. Slanted brick lintels with a stone wedge keystone, and black plastic faux shutters amid red brick walls coexist with modern features including an integrated garage with huge garage door, skylights, and several composite building materials including Hardiplank siding. One design detail that does add charm and character to the house is the Jeffersonian porch railing design of an X-within-concentric-squares.

The interior of the house is simple and functional, with a few touches of luxury. All the rooms– rectangular and average size– have oak hardwood floors and flat ceilings, which allow generous half-finished storage space in the attic under the pitched roof. High-end modern kitchen appliances complement plain cherry-stained frame-and-panel cabinets. In two rooms, freestanding wood stoves are a nice touch, but they nearly overpower the space.

A large bay window in the master bedroom suite offers wonderful westward views, and there's a bath with a large whirlpool tub, and a good sized closet with useful built-in shelves. But the bedroom itself is not particularly large.

The owners have added a few details in an attempt to make the house welcoming and cozy, including planter boxes under the front windows and two handmade birdhouses in the front yard, one of which is a model of a log cabin, complete with lean-to covered porch and Lincoln Log construction. Also endearing are the simple red and white facades of the small barn and workshop on the property.

A few more winsome touches from a new owner could make the house as charming as the exceptional setting.