Intelligent design: A mid-century Rugby home defines true class

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We might have found the exact opposite of a McMansion. It’s upscale, not showy. It’s stylish, not trendy. It’s anything but gauche. It’s just a well-designed, beautifully-built home that has stood the test of more than six decades in ways that are kind of astonishing.

Meet 2016 Spottswood Rd. Let’s bypass, for now, the white brick exterior and the unassuming, yet dignified, entryway. Let’s head straight through the dining room and find ourselves in the kitchen, which embodies all that is so unusual about this house.

Behold: a 63-year-old kitchen that does not need to be renovated. It’s true! Whether it was noted architect Milton Grigg or his clients who originally chose the finishes in here, we can’t say, but their choices were prescient. The plainest white cabinets set off stainless-steel countertops. A clever wraparound layout packs storage and work space into what is not, after all, a very large room. Three large windows overlook the peaceful, verdant backyard, while a small octagonal one peeks out the front. If you want to change something, you could get some new drawer pulls or at most a new fridge—but the kitchen feels amazingly current given its age, and seems like it would support the pursuits of a serious cook. It won’t, however, serve the cook’s five or six friends who want to hang out and drink Bloody Marys while brunch is prepared.

From the entry, four steps lead gracefully into a sunken living room that, like the house overall, is shallow but wide. The fireplace marks the center opposite the entry, flanked by twin sets of doors opening onto the sunporch. This room isn’t especially well lit. Assuming the sunporch is comfortable in most seasons, though, one could certainly make that the usual hangout. It’s got its own fireplace, an appealing flagstone floor, and lots of windows that invite the garden inside.


This house was, at some point, blessed with a mother-in-law suite that added considerable square footage. For those of you who are itching to redo something, this is your wing.

Currently, the addition includes a large living room, a bedroom, a bathroom, a tiny kitchenette, and a walk-in closet. Next door to this suite is a wood-paneled den. All of the above will need some refurbishing and probably even some remodeling. Realtor Stephen McLean gave us a couple of ideas about alternate floor plans that could turn this whole section of the house into a much more up-to-date master suite.

There’s plenty of room here for double closets, double vanities, double Stairmasters or whatever else you might need. And unlike in the original portion, you won’t feel badly about tearing out the existing finishes. Though it was built to mimic the original, stylistically it hasn’t aged quite as well. (Somebody’s mother-in-law was really into pink.)

Grigg seems to have expected this house’s occupants to own just one car—a single carport attaches just off the kitchen—but there are other parking spots outside the port. Meanwhile, the property, which clocks in at nearly an acre, is a gardener’s dream, in that there is lots of gardening to be done. The front yard is minimally landscaped—almost a blank slate. In the rear, a small, leveled backyard overlooks a wooded slope overgrown with ivy-covered trees (including two great magnolias), where an ambitious landscaper could install a terraced garden full of winding walks and plantings.

Though the existing brick and gravel paths are disappearing under grass and moss, a few statues and containers are here and there, suggesting the property’s great potential. And there’s even a little greenhouse attached to the home—fix it up and get planting!

Finally, we’d be remiss not to point out the utter convenience of this home’s location. You can practically roll out of bed and be at Barracks Road (and, of course, you can hear some traffic too). If you value privacy, quality and grace—and who doesn’t?—go and get acquainted.

Property details

Address: 2016 Spottswood Rd.

MLS#: 514879

Acreage: 0.94

Year built: 1951

Bedrooms: 4

Baths: 3

Square footage (finished): 3,347

Extras: Greenhouse

List price: $1,195,000

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