Cabin comfort: The early American house, circa 1990

Photo: Marlo Allen Photo: Marlo Allen

We’re conditioned to think certain thoughts when we see a log house: wilderness, rugged individualism and bootstraps by which someone is ascending. Yet it’s been a long time since hardy frontier settlers constructed theirs from fresh-felled trees. We never see cabins in cities, but that’s just a convention at this point—modern log homes can be just as laden with conveniences as any other type of dwelling.

Still, as this Nellysford listing proves, cabins evoke an experience of simplicity, solitude: a nature-driven life in the woods. A cabin built just 26 years ago—like this one, perched above the Rockfish Valley—represents an interesting balance between tradition and modernity.

When you come up the gravel driveway and lay eyes on 562 Edgewood Dr., the most salient impression is made by the deep porch that wraps the house on three sides. So along with echoes of Abe Lincoln, this house asserts its Southernness. It sits in a clearing with woods just off the far side, and tall shade trees along the drive.

Though it’s plenty handsome, the real visual treat comes as you approach, then stand on, the porch. Between the stands of trees, the northern view is a slice of the Blue Ridge, solid and magnificent across the valley.

It’s when you get inside that you really feel you’re in a cabin. And thankfully, it’s not one that overstates its rustic credentials. The interior is replete with exposed timbers and wooden surfaces, but the woodwork has a finished quality that plays well.

And no historic cabin would feature a living room with this kind of drama. It works on just the right scale: The double-height ceiling makes the room feel spacious and generous, while its modest square footage keeps it intimate. A wood stove in a brick fireplace isn’t particularly striking as a focal point, but does notch up the coziness factor. This is the living room where in winter, you snuggle and watch the snow fall through the big window, and in summer, you revel in the cool of a house well-shaded by its wide porches.

Delineated by lower ceilings, the kitchen and dining areas are humbler than the living room. A family can certainly eat here happily, but it’ll be tough to throw a big dinner party, and it seems a shame that the view from the table features the garage rather than that luscious mountain scenery.

The kitchen, meanwhile, will be most buyers’ least favorite part of the house. Like every other part of the house, it’s clean and well-maintained, but here the cabinetry, countertops and linoleum are dated. And the island is oddly small and distant from the other workspaces. New cabinets and a beefed-up island could amplify the function and style of this space.

Laundry’s located off this center hallway too, convenient to the master suite, whose best feature is French doors to a screened porch that runs the full width of the house and is totally private. The master bathroom, like the second bathroom upstairs, could use an update but doesn’t contain anything offensive.

Upstairs in the open loft, which looks down into the living room, life is good. You’ve got a lovely view through the dormer window on the front of the house. You’ve got ample storage in the form of closets and wall-mounted bookshelves. And the space is big enough to use as an office plus something else: yoga, cello practice, etc.

It’s easy to imagine happy times on the wraparound porches outside. And, if you were so inclined, you could grow a lot of veggies and ornamentals in the many sunny corners of this property (including a sizable swath of lawn along the driveway, the kind of place where nobody ever goes except to mow). Just know that you won’t be doing so in complete isolation, as there is a next-door neighbor visible and audible. After all, this isn’t wilderness anymore.

Posted In:     Abode,Magazines


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