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Contemporary in a lovely setting awaits

July 13, 2012 12:10 am


The contemporary design provides a striking appearance on a lush lot in northern Stafford County. 06xx12hhcanterbury0219.jpg

The loft is a perfect for games or sleepovers for kids. The doorway leads to space for hobbies and storage. 06xx12hhcanterbury0356.jpg

The spiral staircase provides a unique way to reach the loft that overlooks the main living area. 06xx12hhcanterbury0259.jpg

The contemporary design includes an open master bath and shower combination with no need for a door or curtain. 06xx12hhcanterbury0210.jpg

A large, open living area features a fireplace, built-in cabinets and spiral staircase that leads to a loft. 06xx12hhcanterbury0179.jpg

The view of the Potomac and Maryland shoreline from the rear of 61 Canterbury comes at no extra charge. 06xx12hhcanterbury0239.jpg

The modern island kitchen at 61 Canterbury Drive is white on white, with stainless steel.


The property is known as 61 Canterbury Drive, but Shangri-La might be a more appropriate moniker. It's the rare combination of a meticulously kept contemporary-style home sitting on three acres overlooking the Potomac River near Aquia Landing in Stafford County.

Built in 1986 for Frank Fusco, a local physician, the house was designed by Northern Virginia architect P.D. Gravett.

Unlike some contemporaries whose design and features fail to stand the test of time, this one seems just as fresh and inviting as it must have been when it was new 26 years ago.

Of course it doesn't hurt that it enjoys timeless panoramic views of the Potomac and the Maryland shoreline in the distance. There is hardly a room from which a water view cannot be enjoyed. Numerous skylights provide ample natural light.

The property may seem located in a world of its own, but it is a mere 4.5 miles from the Brooke VRE station.

Nancy Chiappinelli has owned the property since 2000, and as a fan of modern art and architecture had fallen in love with it at first sight.

"I like the big windows and simple, uncluttered design," she said. "The outdoors seem to come inside."

Chiappinelli loves everything about his place, but as she nears her 85th birthday, her wisdom suggests it's time to seek a more compact living arrangement. She's listed the property with Suzy Stone of Century 21 Adventure in Spotsylvania. The asking price is $975,000.


The light, simplicity and setting work together to make this an attractive package. Nearly 3,600 square feet of living space includes three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a half-bath.

Though it is essentially a single level with a loft, the design makes it feel like anything but. From the marble-floored foyer there is a step down to give the main living area a sunken feel, and the angular, two-story vaulted ceiling lends the room great spaciousness.

An open wall lets the modern island kitchen remain connected to the larger space, but by placing it a few steps down the kitchen is well-defined. It is conveniently organized with updated appliances and plenty of cabinet space. Adjoining the kitchen is a cozy screened porch--an ideal place to relax. Also nearby is the dining area, surrounded by windows that provide water views.

The bedrooms are in their own wings on either side of the house. A short hallway from the main living area leads to the master suite, where the bedroom is again steps down for a sunken effect. Windows offer views that must be wonderful to wake up to--of the pristine grounds and the river beyond.

If you want to do more than just look outside, slide open the glass door and have a seat on the deck to enjoy the scenery.

The focal point of the master bath is clearly the wide-open tiled shower and adjacent jetted tub. Shower enclosures and curtains are mildew magnets anyway. Who needs them?

On the opposite side of the house are two secondary bedrooms. They share a full hallway bath and a deck for taking in the local natural beauty.

Also on this end of the house is access to the oversized two-car garage with extra space for a workbench and mower storage.

Rounding out the main level is an office that could easily become spare guest quarters in a pinch.

Two design features enhance the visual interest of the main living area. The first is the spiral staircase that rises to the loft. Here is space that can be just right for games and recreation or an excellent children's sleepover. A walkway leads around to a door that opens to an upper level deck with a bird's eye view of the river.

A nearby room that could be used for hobby pursuits continues into an expansive storage space above the master bedroom.

The other feature is the fireplace with brick hearth and chimney that rises through the soaring ceiling.

At no extra charge with contemporary design is an economical use of space. There are plenty of strategically placed closets in expected and unexpected locations, along with built-in drawers that provide attractive hiding places for frequently used items.

The house is broken into three zones for heating and cooling--comfort levels can be adjusted separately in the main living area and each bedroom wing.


As comfortable as it might be, the home's interior is but half the story of this property. Step from any rear door to take in an expansive back yard with mature trees and 3-mile-wide river. At the shoreline is a sandy strand and seating area to take in the Potomac's full majesty.

Adjoining the house is a rear deck for entertaining or meditating.

There is four-season charm here, as leafless trees only enhance the river vistas.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.