Luxury estate homes with every imaginable amenity built on three-acre lots amid gently rolling hills in horse farm country are drawing buyers to a 150-acre community called Shenstone Reserve 50 miles from Washington in eastern Loudoun County.
Toll Brothers, a national builder of high-end homes, bought the property in 2010 and started selling in 2011.
“We sell before we start construction because we customize,” said Betty Brown-Vivian, senior sales manager. “Prospective buyers drive around the property and choose a home site. Then they sit down with us to plan the way they want to live.”
Jason Crismon, project manager, flipped through a thick binder of several hundred pages of options. Every last detail of the interior and exterior is up for design. “If you can dream it, we can build it,” he said.
“You start with the model you like, then you add on,” said Greg Friedrich, a new resident. “We wanted fireplaces in the living, dining and family rooms, plus in the sunroom and conservatory. So we have five fireplaces on the first floor.”
He moved to Shenstone about two years ago from Old Town Alexandria with his wife, Susi, and son Eric, now 4. “Our experience with Toll Brothers was excellent from start to finish. Even after we moved in, when a nail popped out of the wall, they were here right away.”
“We took a wall down between the den and sunroom to make one big office for my husband, and we added a bar and fireplace,” Nancy Colan said. She and her husband, Brian, still live in Ashton. Construction of their house will begin shortly, and they plan to move in November.
“We also made the pantry bigger and the mudroom smaller. We’re putting a stone wall in the master bath to make it like a spa, and we’re adding a front porch,” Colan said.
“Ninety percent of our buyers take advantage of customization options,” Brown-Vivian said.
Basement hoops: Because so many options are available, houses can vary significantly. Buyers can extend the house’s footprint to enlarge rooms. They can select bay windows, wall moldings, bookcases, a basement basketball court, sculptured ceilings and marble floors.
Buyers can visit a Toll Brothers design studio in Chantilly or Columbia to select flooring, cabinetry, fixtures and other elements.
Standard features include nine-foot ceilings; double wood staircases that arch up from the two-level, 20-foot-high entry foyer; a second rear staircase; and four bedrooms with four adjacent bathrooms.
Other standard features include gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a large island, a breakfast room and a walk-in shelved pantry with a glass-paned door.
Privacy and companionship: Homeowners established an e-mail list to share tips about goods, services and vendors. Women in the neighborhood formed a social group that meets every six weeks or so.
“Everyone is looking for privacy, but they still want a community feel so they can go next door for that proverbial cup of sugar,” Brown-Vivian said.
“We have a lot of privacy,” said Friedrich, “but folks walk around and trade stories. The community is great. When I was gone on business during the last snow, my neighbor came by to plow.”
“We have more room than we need,” said Nicole Robinson, “but we wanted privacy and space for our daughter, Mackenzie, who is 8 months, to run and play.” She and her husband, Michael, moved there two months ago from Stone Ridge off Route 50. They chose a relatively flat site with few trees.
“We were looking for a country feel,” said Colan, who chose a lot backing up to woods.
“Each lot has a personality unique to itself,” Friedrich said. “Our elevation is high, and we have a sweeping view out front of a horse farm.”
Shopping and recreation: Safeway and Food Lion are a three-to-four-minute drive away. Historic Leesburg, with restaurants and antiques shops, is five minutes away. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets are 10 minutes. The Village at Leesburg with Wegmans, movie theater, bowling and retail boutiques is 12 minutes. Dry Mill Vineyards and Winery and Sunset Hills Vineyard are close.
The W&OD Trail, offering hiking, walking, biking and jogging, runs from Purcellville to Washington. Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, Rust Nature Sanctuary and Red Rock Wilderness are in Leesburg.
Living there: The community will comprise 48 single-family homes on three-acre lots. Twenty-six are sold, including six currently in construction. Twenty-two are for sale. Five floor plans are available, ranging from $829,995 for 3,400 square feet to $921,995 for 4,800 square feet.
Schools: Catoctin Elementary, Simpson Middle, Loudoun County High.
Transit: Loudoun County Transit operates rush-hour bus service from Park and Ride lots to West Falls Church, Rosslyn, Pentagon and D.C. Virginia Regional Transit operates bus service throughout Leesburg, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.
17862 Running Colt Pl., Leesburg
The single-family homes range from $829,995 to $921,995.
Builder: Toll Brothers
Features: The homes come in five floor plans, but include numerous options allowing buyers to order larger rooms, bookcases, a basement basketball court and flooring. Standard features include double curved wood staircases in the foyer and a second rear staircase.
Square footage: 3,400 to 4,800.
Homeowners association fees: $50 per month.
View models: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Sales office: 703-729-8884 or TollBrothers.com.