Hot in Belmont

PRICE: $229,900
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,728 finished/570 unfinished
ADDRESS: 805 Belmont Avenue
CURB APPEAL: 9 out of a possible 10
LISTED BY: Sonja Casero with Century 21/Albemarle Properties * 977-3033

Belmont has become the hot real estate spot in downtown Charlottesville, and as a result, house prices have skyrocketed. Obviously the benefits must outweigh the negatives, though— many houses sell before they’re even listed.
    Driving through Belmont is often an exercise in restraint as eye-catching gardens sit alongside Victorian beauties with comfortable, friendly porch swings. The houses seem well lived-in and loved, and, regardless of which street you drive down, the urge to slow down and absorb the neighborliness takes over.
    In the center of Belmont sits this charmer. As you come up the front steps in the shadow of a blooming Japanese cherry tree, along a border of cheerful spring bulbs, you see a front porch so big that it could easily receive 10 arriving guests. Extending around one side of the house and protected by bushes, it serves as a fashionable “outdoor room.” Inside, the house has an almost Dickensian feel, and you get the idea that if you were to sneak up and peer inside on a cold winter day, you’d see scenes representing the epitome of family life.
    The front hallway is spacious, allowing plenty of room for boots, books, or whatever needs to be dumped as you come indoors. The front room with its 10’ ceiling begs for company with its bay windows and comfortably situatedfurniture. From there on in, it’s a dining room followed by a kitchen with a compact and very usable breakfast nook. The scale of the rooms is neither grand nor small, but would appear to accommodate a wide variety of social situations gracefully.
The one alarming feature of downstairs that may take a while to get used to is the owner’s choice of paint colors. The front/living room is the least startling with its three-tone yellow wash that glows liked a Tuscan morning. But in the dining room, with a dividing chair rail, the top half’s painted a “cantaloupe,” the bottom half a sort of creamy tangerine sorbet. Being in the kitchen with its “limesicle” walls was like walking inside a giant ripe avocado. The effect was more mesmerizing than mellow, but since the detail is cosmetic rather than architectural, it could easily be altered.
The staircase with windows at the top and bottom leads to three bedrooms, a full bath, and an extra room which now houses an office, but which once contained a nursery and all necessary baby gear. Two of the bedrooms, which have been decorated for the under-10 set, elicit deep sighs of contentment. The closest bedroom to the bathroom has one wall painted with a beautiful forest scene complete with elves, unicorns, fairies, and a benign bear. The other has a built-in loft with pale, diaphanous curtains hanging below.
Back downstairs in the kitchen, one door leads to a room with a toilet as well as a full-size washer and dryer that convey with the property. Another door leads to an unfinished basement appropriately used as storage space. The breakfast nook opens to a 15’X10’ beautiful redwood deck where you can sip morning coffee and people-watch or read the paper under the huge, professionally maintained trees in the fenced yard. An added bonus to this little retreat is the close proximity of a real corner store, the Belmont Market, where you can find missing dinner party ingredients or run into neighbors and catch up on local news.
The current owners have lived in Belmont for eight years and watched it evolve into a place where their kids feel both safe and free. Listening to the owner reminisce about neighborhood parties, kids learning to ride their bikes, and indulging in the age-old tradition of stoop sitting almost made this reporter make an offer on the spot.
Fortunately, there’s more than one slice of heaven in Charlottesville.

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