California dreamin'

ASKING: $725,000
SQUARE FOOTAGE: Fin. 2,982, unfin: 286
ADDRESS: 3436 Peyton Ridge Road
NEIGHBORHOOD: Turner Mountain section of Ivy
CURB APPEAL: 7 out of a possible 10
LISTED BY: Charlotte Dammann of McLean Faulconer  981-1250

This house off Tilman Road in Ivy was designed by Jim Tuley, an architect who moved here from Berkeley in the ‘70s and brought his California sensibility to bear on the houses he designed to fit Albemarle terrain.
This residence, an offspring of that marriage of east and west, presents the best of both worlds. The redwood and glass construction could characterize almost any elegant Northern California house. The rooms are big, airy, and light, thanks to huge walls of glass– too much to be called simply “windows”– and flat “Tuley white” walls, a shade the broker says is unique. (Don’t worry: someone at Meadowbrook Hardware can supposedly match it.)
All that glass and those flat white walls contain what might be considered a traditional split-level. Enter from the back through an understated landscaped area onto a landing. Down a few stairs and you’re in the main section of the house. It can’t really be called a “living room”– it’s a gallery, and nature is the exhibit. The whole front of the house is glass, and the view takes your breath away. It would be a shame for someone to buy this house who had to go to work. It’s for people who can just sit in this room and look out.
On this level are a long kitchen, divided from the big main room by a granite counter, a laundry room, and a dining room– tucked behind a wall of bookcases, alas. No view there except to the little garden, which isn’t so bad; it just can’t compete.
Down another level is the “basement,” but not a basement in the traditional sense: instead of a dark den with window wells and water bugs, this basement has views of three ranges of mountains, forests, fields, birds, clouds… heaven. Down here there’s a full bath with slate floor like all the baths, a bedroom, office, and an exercise room. Behind a wall is a darkroom now used as a wine cellar, and the utility area with outside access.
Up from the landing is the master suite: a large bedroom and bathroom with whirlpool tub, shower, and double sinks– even a bidet. There’s a strange area on this level, a sort of hallway/office… it’s almost as though the architect couldn’t figure out what to do with space that didn’t have that front-facing view to justify its existence. The current owners have left it open, and the lack of furniture or clutter contributes to the overall expansive feeling.
Among the incidentals, the floors in the house are all heart pine; there’s a new copper roof (not part of Tuley’s design); the heat is from hot-water radiators fueled by propane; and there’s a wrap-around deck if you want to get right out in the natural world instead of just gawking at it from the couch beside the fireplace.
The house isn't cheap. You're buying God's imagination as much as Tuley's. The agent explained that Tuley’s house designs were all “site specific.” These seven acres are off a gravel road right on the side of a hill. He had to situate the house very close to the road– there’s nothing behind the house but a two-car garage, also redwood, and cement walk to the door– up at the top of the slope. The result is a stunning house with indescribable views, but no flat space to do anything. Don’t come here expecting to plant a garden or set up the swing-set or badminton net.
Come here expecting to bask in the beauty of the Blue Ridge.