House Snooping: 53 Linden Avenue

By on January 29, 2011

Most houses in Verona have nice-sized yards, a quarter acre or so that is just enough for a grill, a table and chairs, and a swing set for the kids. But you don’t necessarily have to look out of town to find a house with more real estate around it. The lot at 53 Linden Avenue is 360 feet deep, giving you close to a half acre of property.

How is that possible? From Elmwood Road to Otsego, Linden Avenue backs onto a large woodlands that separates it from Elk Road. And in the early days of Verona, there was supposed to be a street there, too, called Vermont Road. Thankfully, it was never built and, while the town still controls access lots into the woods from the east and west, the homeowners that border it now control the bulk of the land.

Even under three feet of snow, the lot at 53 Linden is beautiful. There’s a long straight driveway that would be perfect to teach kids bike riding or to host a good game of basketball. There’s space for a two-car garage (already outfitted as a wood shop), two outdoor dining areas, and a woodpile that doubles as a canoe rack. The lot slopes off into a ravine that the new owner will have to share with a family of deer and a small brook. In the winter, you can just barely make out the houses on Elk and the playground at Laning Avenue elementary school. In the summer, they’ll just melt into the woods.

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OK, but you won’t be living in the woods with the deer, so you’re going to want to know about the house. It’s got a clutch of generous-sized rooms including several with lovely views of the woods. The current owner grew up in the house, and she and her husband have restored much of its original woodwork and charm, including a mantel that is so true to the spirit of the house that you’d never know it wasn’t original. The vintage veneer is balanced by plenty of modern touches: The back porch of the owner’s childhood is now an enclosed family room that opens onto a deck. There’s an attic fan and central air, and a finished basement. Two of three bedrooms have more closet space than Verona homes of a similar age. The owners have listed the house for sale themselves at $448,000, and you can see all the details on Zillow.com. There’s an open house this Sunday, January 30, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Yes, there’s a quibble, which there always is in any House Snooping column. I’m not going to take issue with the location of the two full baths (one in the basement and one on the second floor) because, hey, they are two full bathrooms and right now, I’ve only got one and a half. But if I were buying the house, I’d change out the countertop in the the eat-in kitchen, only because the owners have played up the kitchen’s heritage in a way that made me think of one of the Verona houses I grew up in. That house had burnished, stainless steel countertops and I could see them at 53 Linden Avenue too.

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But then again, if I were the owner, I might be spending so much time looking at the woods that I wouldn’t have even a minute to worry about countertops.

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