Among the possible tradeoffs of making your home in a rural community such as Durham or Middlefield is that residents can miss out on some of the ingredients that make the suburbs so appealing. Quaint, often close-knit neighborhoods, the convenience of town services and access to a variety of goods via local commerce rank right up there for those who choose Suburbia over a more rural small town.
While the reality of a small town may include sprawling land borders and open spaces, the town services can be limited when compared with larger towns with a stronger economic base. And town planning in the suburbs takes place with, well, more planning. The population overflow for those who work in nearby cities needs to live somewhere convenient and close. As a result, tidy neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs are born. Efficient town planning adheres to prudent zoning practices that derive from need. Because we don’t live in a true suburb, our planning has been less structured.
With that said, seeking acreage and the just-right location can be top priorities for house-hunters. Some people want long driveways, privacy, fencing, views, wooded borders and plenty of land for outbuildings, animals, gardens or swimming pools. For others, it can be the exact opposite with people looking for the community of a neighborhood in which to set down roots for their family. The ultimate neighborhood offers both social and safety benefits. Children thrive with freedom to explore the neighborhood on foot or via other wheeled access, safer from unwanted vehicular traffic. Walking the dog, riding bikes, playing with other children and socializing among neighbors are some of the attractions for those who live in neighborhoods.
And while living in a neighborhood isn’t a golden invitation to friends galore, impromptu BBQs and crime free living, there are some neighborhoods that come close. Take a look at these two fine examples of homes in terrific Durham neighborhoods.
45 Stephens Woods Lane
A farmhouse Colonial the Waltons would envy, this gracious home with its inviting wrap-around porch is designed for a family with an open floor plan, four bedrooms and lots of windows. The main floor offers multiple venues to unwind with a dedicated home office, living room open to the formal dining room, and family room with efficient pellet stove flowing into the large eat-in kitchen. The pristine kitchen provides well-defined workspaces with granite counters, stainless appliances, maple Shaker cabinets, a corner sink with great windows and sliders to the back patio.
Quality and taste converge throughout with thoughtful details such as the foyer with Doric columns, bay design in living room and master bedroom, tile work, hardwood floors and distinctive wallpaper and trim. The first floor bath with laundry room will save time and steps all day long. Four well-proportioned bedrooms and two full baths upstairs will keep everyone happy, especially the master suite with sitting area, Jacuzzi tub and twin closets.
With more than three level acres, the property affords privacy with a deck, stone patio and hot tub oasis. Other features include the comfort of a hydro air heating system, central air, ample storage, 2-car garage, shed and full basement. Situated on a cul-de-sac of fine homes in bucolic Durham hills (located just off of Old Blue Hills) and better than new, this house will top your list.
34 Sycamore Drive, Durham
Young and well maintained, this standout five bedroom Colonial offers a rare neighborhood retreat on a cul-de-sac dotted with fine homes just off of Bear Rock Road. Not overbuilt, every inch of its 3414 square feet flows with well-intentioned family spaces with conveniences such as first floor laundry room and 4 crisp bathrooms (3 full). The newly painted interior is open and bright with many large windows, shining hardwood floors, hardworking tiles, and two staircases. The main level flaunts a regal flair with tradition and taste in the perfect living room with fireplace and grand dining room embracing a passionate red palette. With two master bedroom suites (one on both the first and second floor), this distinctive home offers flexibility and potential beyond what you’d expect.
Completely set apart from the common rooms, the first floor suite complete with sitting room offers a perfectly lovely option for extended family. The large eat-in kitchen wants for nothing with gorgeous granite, stainless appliances, and rich cabinetry and the large prep island and breakfast bar offers generous space to launch that new recipe. The upper level leads to fabulous stair-top loft for lazy moments, bright and spacious bedrooms, and a large bonus room for fifth bedroom or teen get-away.
Outside, the well landscaped 3.16 acre lot affords privacy and recreation. Bordered by 152 acres of protected state forest land, this home claims Field Forest as its backdrop ripe for nature walks. Meanwhile, the driveway is level and ready for family basketball and bicycles. Close to everything, this property also features central air, front porch, large rear deck, full basement and attached 2-car garage.