Hidden gem: Shiny new house tucked away


ASKING: $459,950

SIZE: 3040 finished sq. ft., 800 unfinished


ADDRESS: 2313 Sheffield Road


CURB APPEAL: 8 of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Diane Jacques, owner/agent, Real Estate III * 979-0174

The many new subdivisions springing up out 250 West toward Crozet are highly visible evidence of the phenomenal population growth taking place in Charlottesville and Albemarle.

There's also evidence– just not so visible– in new construction in established subdivisions such as West Leigh and Glenmore. Because they're far back away from the road and shielded by big trees– or in the case of some of them, by gated entrances– it's not so obvious that many vacant lots are being developed to accommodate eager home buyers taking advantage of low mortgage rates and a red-hot real estate market.

This house, situated on a gently sloping 1.86 acre lot in West Leigh, consists of a "main level" (first floor) and a "walk-out terrace level," which, because of the slope, has many windows and reasonably good light– and 9' ceilings– and thus isn't really a basement. There's a smallish deck off the breakfast room which does shade the big main downstairs room a bit, but generally, that lower level is brighter than one might expect.

Down there, in addition to the huge main "rec room," are a large bedroom and full bath with tiled floor (the other floors down there, unlike the walnut-stained oak floors upstairs, are Berber carpet over cement), as well as a large storage space which "could be" a bedroom, but only if you call one of the three current bedrooms upstairs something else, since the septic system "perks" for only four.

(That would be easy, since one of those upstairs bedrooms is really more suited to be a study or office, having two walls of windows which provide warmth and light, but which make placing beds and dressers problematic.)

One worrisome design feature downstairs is a very large dead space between the bedroom and the bath– it's just empty space with no windows, no light. What's it for?

The agent suggested that it could house a computer work station, but the idea of someone sitting way under the house in that windowless space pecking away on a computer is somehow very depressing.

But that's about the only sour note. Upstairs the impression is all newness and light– from the soaring 14-foot cathedral ceilings in the living ("great") and dining rooms to the vaulted ceiling in the gorgeous master bath, and "premium" appliances and fixtures in the kitchen. Small details such as double chair-rails and crown moulding in the dining room, a "tray ceiling" in the master bedroom, and transoms over interior doors contribute to the feeling of elegance.

Other nice touches are gas piping to the deck for a grill, soothing sand-colored granite kitchen counters, and a gas fireplace with Williamsburg mantel in the "great room." The bathrooms are especially appealing since the builder seems to have opted for tile instead of the one-piece Motel 6 plastic tub/shower gizmos that are apparently standard issue in most other new houses we've toured. The master bath is large and light: its six-foot Jacuzzi snuggles under a huge picture window beside large, privacy-affording white pines.

The house looks good outside: a gleaming copper cover over the dining room bay window draws the eye to stretches of six-over-six windows across the front and creates a sort of "cottage" effect, although the house is far too big to be considered a cottage: the agent calls it a "contemporary with classic details."

In addition to the pines on the side, another grove of trees shields the back yard, which flattens out enough to provide space for a garden or kiddy play area. All in all, in this house on this lot you live in the country, but you have the benefits of County-provided water and proximity to town.