Jan O'Neill, 859-4541
MLS # 98355384
Located in the desirable Highlands neighborhood in the Foothills, this house is equal parts family home and entertainer's hideaway. Although it looks like an understated two-story from the front, its cleverly camouflaged hillside footprint hides a large daylight basement, which opens to a woodsy backyard that evokes a McCall mountain retreat. An efficient three-story floor plan places four bedrooms on the top floor, the main living and entertaining spaces on the main level, and a rumpus room, a private suite and two spacious storage rooms below.
Much of the red brick on the handsome 39-year-old home's brick and stucco front exterior is hidden behind a thick evergreen hedge. A long, brick-paved front porch that runs the width of the house is defined by a trio of wide supporting arches.
Traffic flows effortlessly through the house and the floor plan seems intuitive and timeless. Once you've entered the foyer, the hallway leading to the kitchen lies straight ahead. To the right is the family room, and to the left is the formal living room—which has a fireplace—and the formal dining room. There are floor-to-ceiling casement windows in the living room and family room (the owner tells me they have been painted shut). Heading down the hallway toward the kitchen, you pass a powder room and the stairwell leading to the lowest level. The brightly lit kitchen is painted buttery yellow and has white cabinetry, although the dishwasher, stove and a pair of ovens all appear to be outdated. Between the kitchen and the family room sits a breakfast nook with a terrific view of the Foothills and the pine tree lined back yard below. An elevated wooden deck at the rear of the house is accessed from the formal dining room. For entertaining al fresco, there's plenty of room for two tables with chairs and a buffet table.
Some of the best features upstairs are the views from each of the four bedrooms. Windows on two walls in every room not only make the upper quarters bright and cheerful, but there are various unbeatable views of mature pine trees, pink-tinted apple blossoms and of the Foothills and Bogus Basin. Hardwood floors and walk-in closets punctuate each of the three smaller bedrooms, which are actually well-sized rooms, but smaller than the master bedroom. The carpeted master bedroom features a pair of wide closets and apple blossom views. There is also a third full-size closet and a dual vanity in the spacious master bathroom.
The daylight basement features a rumpus room with a brick fireplace and linoleum flooring that imitates the look of red brick. The entire lower level bears rustic horizontal wood paneling, giving it a mountain cabin appearance. There are two big storage rooms downstairs (one could be a wine cellar), as well as a spacious bathroom with a shower stall and funky black and white wallpaper that looks like handbills from various plays and performances. The fifth bedroom is hidden down here, complete with built-in desk space, wall units and a backyard view. A covered concrete patio and the woodsy back yard, which is shaded by several tall pines, are accessed from the rumpus room. Beneath the pines, wild strawberries are used for ground cover and there is also a lawn, shrubbery and perennials. There isn't much in this middle-aged house that begs to be replaced, aside from the basement bathroom's wallpaper, a couple of outdated kitchen appliances and maybe a stray light fixture. I was struck by how clean and tastefully outfitted the house as a whole appears to be.
Pros: Highlands neighborhood, woodsy back yard. Functional floor plan suits family life and entertaining.
Cons: Outdated kitchen appliances. The front evergreen hedge needs pruning or replacing.