On a clear day: You can see Charlottesville
SQUARE FOOTAGE: Three residences total 6,006
YEAR BUILT: 1974
ADDRESS: 3722 Foster’s Branch Road
NEIGHBORHOOD: Stony Point
CURB APPEAL: 9 out of a possible 10
LISTED BY: Owners Dennis Woodriff and Mary Ann Parr of McLean Faulconer Inc. Realtors 434-295-1131
Driving up a winding road, armed only with cryptic, slightly vague directions, we had no clue about what we might find on top of this particular mountain. Since we had only a photo of a mountain vista in the “Fine Properties” supplement to the Real Estate Weekly and no idea of price, anything was possible. The sun shone brightly, and the recent rainfall had turned everything an opulent green.
Finally, as the two miles of gravel gave way to pavement and we rounded a corner, the house came into view. First impressions are often the most lasting, and the spectacular sight did not disappoint. Neither grand nor ostentatious, the house, built in homage to Frank Lloyd Wright, blends almost perfectly with the surrounding landscape. Indeed, images of Fallingwater, Wright’s signature house in Pennsylvania, came immediately to mind.
The majestic sights from this altitude cannot be ignored: Albemarle County and beyond dip and undulate into blue and green bands. Walls of mitered glass floor-to-ceiling windows beckoned us indoors where we found the line between inside and out continually blurring (the effect is intentional), another homage to Wright’s design. Plants lining the glass walls neatly obscure the demarcation between garden and sidewalk. All the floors in the house are of aggregate concrete, as are exterior walkways, an attractive effect, but certainly not child-friendly.
The redwood construction also contributes to the sense that the house is a part of the environment. Gnarled wisteria drops from a loggia surrounding some of the windows to protect the interior from direct sun.
The house is not grand– there’s no “great” room, for example. But its livability is perfect. The main bedroom houses just that, a bed, but someone lying in it, facing the Blue Ridge through a wall of sliding glass doors, would surely feel like a very affluent camper. The bathroom across the hall is to die for. Because of its position next to the ubiquitous wall of windows and a view of a private courtyard, we could easily imagine spending hours in the enormous tub.
The “living” areas are nicely partitioned, although there are no doors, and we had the illusion of much more space because of the design that makes the outside seem part of the interior. One other bedroom and bathroom, some office space, and a utility room round out this single-level main house.
Outside, mammoth shade trees provide privacy and seclusion. Behind the house, the main walkway leads into the woods to two more houses. Originally built to accommodate four teenage sons, they now are used as a Bed and Breakfast. A patio with a trickling fountain and a pool divides the single-level dwellings. The houses are painted a mild, earthy green, further complementing the landscape rather than intruding upon it.
The 55 acres of property are protected by a scenic easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, which means that no development, ever, will be allowed. Wildlife abounds, apparently unaware that humans reside here. Deer and turkey roam freely, and bobcat and bear sightings are not unusual. In the herb garden, where ivy and oregano intertwine, a languorous black snake kept curious fingers at bay.
All in all, people here share a peaceful coexistence with nature. Unfortunately, you have to have a lot of money to become one with this natural utopia.