Dream Small: A Cape Cod in Lindbergh Forest

"I refuse to endanger the health of my children in a house with less than four bathrooms."

The line is from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. The 1948 film that follows a Manhattan family's move to suburban Connecticut is a favorite of mine. And, given that Myrna Loy says it during a tense scene with the Blandings' architect, when their more grandiose dreams meet budgetary reality, I suspect it was meant as a laugh line. After all, few people in 1948 had four bathrooms—not even an upper-middle class advertising executive like Mr. Blandings.

But would today's audience get the joke? According to the census bureau, 28 percent of the new homes in America had three or more baths in 2008—double the number just 20 years prior. And in the upper middle class markets today's Blandings would likely buy in, the percentage is probably higher. For instance, of the 314 homes currently for sale in the Farragut zip code, 203 have four or more bathrooms.

How likely they are to sell is a question raised by a recent University of Virginia study. Researchers found that, from 2000 to 2009, the number of homeowners 55 and over who may want to sell increased by 8 million, while the number of potential 30- to 45-year-old homebuyers decreased by 3.6 million. Even more important is how the tastes of those thirty-somethings are changing. According to the study, "The 30- to 45-year-old market that has traditionally flocked to the suburbs, eager for the opportunity for homeownership, has begun to value new things in their housing decisions. More and more, just-large-enough units, greater convenience and variety, and decreasing drive times are categories that first-time homebuyers are considering when deciding where to settle down." No wonder, the study concludes, that "from 2000 to 2008, central cities have tended to improve in income and housing values relative to their suburbs in the 35 largest metropolitan areas."

Which is good news for this cute Cape Cod. Built circa 1940 along a winding street in Lindbergh Forest, one of Knoxville's earliest automobile oriented suburbs, it was probably purchased by someone hoping to escape the same city crowds and bustle that sent the Blandings shopping in Connecticut.

Now, ironically, the home's proximity to downtown may be its biggest selling point. Although, updated with an all-new contemporary kitchen, an open plan, and a cathedral-ceiling sunroom, there's plenty to like inside, too. And, if you do find downtown living a little cramped, the big double lot has a fenced back yard with lots of mature trees. m

3612 Southwood Drive

1,428 sq. ft.

2 bdrm/1 bath

$139,900

Contact: Jessica Rodocker

Horizon Realty: 523-9550

www.knoxvillager.com