Upgraded Charming 1940s Home in Larchmont

John Womeldorf knows that every home has a story. As an experienced realtor with a deep love for Williamsburg and the surrounding areas, John looks beyond the basic features of the homes he sells. In his “Every Home Has A Story” series, John introduces potential buyers to the aspects of a home that they can’t see by viewing it online or attending a showing. By interviewing the sellers and writing about what makes each home so special, John helps his clients go from trying to see themselves living in an unfamiliar house to envisioning their family moving into their dream home.

Many happy years in Norfolk

Trish and Wick Harlan have called 5210 Powhatan Avenue home for decades. It all started when Trish, a student at Old Dominion University at the time, rented a room from Wick in the white Cape Cod he bought with his father in 1977. The couple ended up getting married, raising three children and have spent many happy years within the walls of this adorable home. Now as they embark on their next chapter and retire to the mountains of North Carolina, they are ready to pass the home on to a new generation of residents who will hopefully love living there as much as they have.

Built in 1942, the white Cape Cod style home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The floorplan is typical of homes built in the 1940s, as is the charming front porch, complete with plenty of space for porch chairs and a swing. The home sits on a 1.8-acre lot with a detached, one car garage.

1940s charm with lovely upgrades

While the Harlans have worked to maintain a lot of the original charm of the home, they have also done some upgrades to keep it well-maintained. They upgraded the upstairs bathroom by totally reformatting the floorplan and also renovated the downstairs bathroom with a shower that has walls and ceiling tiled.

In 2018 they did several updates to the kitchen, including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and custom, 45-inch white cabinetry that runs to the ceiling. They also added luxury vinyl plank floors to the kitchen. The rest of the downstairs is hardwood which they recently had refinished.

The couple also replaced the oil furnace and gas furnace with radiator heat, as well as replaced all of the windows. They also purchased a new hot water heater in 2020. Most recently, they painted the entire home with a fresh coat of “Alabaster White” with the exception of the downstairs bath and one downstairs bedroom which are a nice, muted Earth tone. Trish has always loved the windows and natural light in the home.

The Harlans have hosted countless backyard BBQ’s throughout the years. The large, open backyard is perfect for outdoor gatherings. There’s a lovely cherry tree, room for a playground and vegetable garden and large pine trees along the back boundary between this home and the one behind it.

Growing up in Larchmont

Living in the top-rated neighborhood of Larchmont was ideal for the Harlan’s three kids. They attended the sought-after public schools and spent most of their time outside and at the homes of neighborhood friends.

While many of the neighbors are young families, the area is also bustling with youthful energy being so close to Old Dominion University. The neighborhood is also along the Elizabeth River and neighbors are known to use the river access at ODU or the boat ramp at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. There are two blocks between the home and the river.

The Larchmont neighborhood is very attractive to young families looking for a safe and ideal place to raise their children. Trish says that many of the neighbors are young couples with school-aged children. “Everyone is very thoughtful and looks out for one another,” she says. “There are neighborhood events throughout the year, including an annual BBQ at the neighbor’s and everyone gets invited. There is even an award for the newest members of the neighborhood. It’s a great way to meet all of the new neighbors and they hand out a map with everyone’s phone numbers and emails in case you ever need to get in touch with someone.”

There is so much to love about this desirable address. Trish has loved the proximity to her hometown of Virginia Beach (40 minutes) and to Ocean View (15 minutes), so you have your pick of what beach you want to go to. Where there are beaches, there’s great seafood, so Trish has loved being able to get fresh seafood at many of the nearby restaurants.

Located down the street from ODU, Norfolk Naval Base, Sentara Hospital, Children’s Hospital for the King’s Daughters and Eastern Virginia Medical School, 5210 Powhatan Avenue is a desirable address for those who work in the area. The home is so close to ODU, Trish used to ride her bike there when she was a student and never had to worry about a parking pass.

Trish says the Larchmont community is second to none. The Harlan kids were always involved in activities with their schools, including travel sports and rec sports. There was also always something community-oriented for them to do, like the Farmer’s Market at the church down the road and countless local brewpubs and eateries.

The area is also ideal for those who live an active lifestyle. According to Trish, people are always jogging or riding bikes up and down the paved walkways and along Powhatan Avenue because it’s a straight road. There are a lot of biking groups in the area to connect with other bikers, and part of the Elizabeth River Bike Trail goes right through the neighborhood.

The elementary school, Larchmont Elementary, is right down the street and the Harlans were able to walk there when their children attended. James Blair Middle School and Matthew Fontaine Maury High School are also well known and the Harlan kids loved both. In addition to the fantastic public schools, there are also a number of private schools in the area, including Saint Patrick Catholic School which is right in the Larchmont neighborhood, as well as Norfolk Collegiate and The Williams School in Ghent.

Trish served on the Parent Teacher Association at Larchmont Elementary so she knew all of the teachers and parents. She was also a substitute teacher there for years, so she is very familiar with the school and says they have a great administration and the location is perfect.

Trish says the schools have so much to offer and the full involvement of the community. From sports to carnivals to Navy demonstrations to field days and more, there was always something fun going on.

Home sweet home

Though their children are scattered across the south now in Virginia Beach, Birmingham and New Orleans, the Harlans say it’s a bittersweet goodbye to the house they have called home for so long. The family has hosted countless birthday parties, especially in the large backyard where they could hang piñatas and run around. They have fond memories of Easter egg hunts and setting up tents in the backyard for campouts. 

Having spent her entire life living in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Trish is looking forward to a new chapter enjoying waterfalls and hiking in the mountains of North Carolina.

While their neighbors are sad to see them go, the Harlans know the new residents on Powhatan Avenue will be welcomed right away. “We have seen a lot of friends come and go through the years because of our proximity to the military base,” says Trish. “Larchmont is a very tight knit community and whoever moves in will be welcomed with open arms.”

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