Striking understatement

ASKING:  $325,000



ADDRESS: Bridalwood Trail, Keswick

NEIGHBORHOOD: Keswick, Cismont

CURB APPEAL: 6 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Jim Dickerson of  Re/Max Assured Properties  466-4663  

The old marketing come-on “Drive a little, save a lot” could be applied to this new energy-efficient house in Cismont with a deep well and a fruit and vegetable garden big enough to tide a family over the summer. Built in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style, the mid-size house sits on 10 protected acres: Sissy Spacek’s farm backs up to one side, a large vineyard to the other.

The plain, uninspiring front of the house does not prepare one for the striking interior. The front door opens directly to the living room which, with a small dining space and unconventional kitchen, constitutes the entire center section. There, a 50-foot-long span of south-facing casement windows allow buttery sunlight to flood the rosy Italian floor ties which continue through all the rooms. In an interesting reversal, 4” tongue and groove Douglas fir planks form the ceiling, softening the chill of the tile floor and the huge stones of the large raised fireplace.

Two wings contain three bedrooms: on the east side, the master suite consists of a 12’ x 16’ bedroom, a spacious private bath, a walk-in closet (10’ x 3.5’, like all the closets in the house), and an alcove office created to make maximum use of the wide hallway leading from the kitchen. In the west wing, two bedrooms, each as large as the master bedroom, share a bath with their own separate hot water supply, a nice touch for families with visitors or long-showering children. 

The most surprising aspect of the house is the size of the rooms, but the owner’s ingenuity in space management is also noteworthy. This kitchen, for instance, has no cupboards to clutter the minimalism of the Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer, the cherry counters, and the Jenn-Air range and oven. All the usual flotsam of a busy kitchen— from the dishware and pots and pans to food staples— is neatly contained in a walk-in room-long “pantry” (a design some of the neighbors are said to be copying). Combined with a custom-made one-bowl stainless steel sink, these features make the kitchen a fitting, understated component of the huge central living space. 

The $325,000 asking price may seem steep for a mere 2,300 square feet in a house so far from town, but the energy efficiency provided by the 2” x 6” cedar-covered walls, a heat pump with gas backup (“dual fuel” in Realtor®speak), and the wood-burning Rumford fireplace means low operating costs in both winter and summer. The house shares the lot with a workshop/office which nearly doubles the usable space. 

True to the Prairie style, the house has few decorative flourishes, but the ironwork fireplace screen, towel racks, and door hardware are the handiwork of local craftsmen at Stokes of England, and lighting in every room and closet, hidden behind wood valances, makes the space seem warm and calm. In keeping with Wright's devotion to natural settings, the flower gardens in the back and the vegetable/fruit plantings in the front situate the house firmly in its natural environment.

So what’s not to like? For an inveterate city-dweller, the long distance to town is a drawback, and a bumpy gravel road looks like it might be trouble if we ever have a winter with snow. But apart from these minor quibbles, there’s not much to complain about in this modern manifestation of beautiful turn-of-the-century designs.


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