EYESORES AND ODDITIES

Some Dreams Get Tied Up in Court

Construction on the Chandlers' dream home ceased early last year when the builder filed for bankruptcy. Pigeons are the current occupants.
Construction on the Chandlers' dream home ceased early last year when the builder filed for bankruptcy. Pigeons are the current occupants. (By Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)

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Monday, August 7, 2006

You come upon them every now and then -- a mystery of ugliness. What is it? How on earth did it get there? Why doesn't someone get rid of it? We attempt to shed light through this occasional feature.

There are two things the Chandler family wants you to know about their Purcellville home.

First, it is not -- not -- for sale. The giant sign in the front yard bearing the words "NOT FOR SALE" in bold red letters should be notice enough, but it has not deterred scores of real estate agents who keep calling, asking if they're looking for a buyer.

Second, the long and depressing tale that resulted in the home sitting half-built and unoccupied, sheets of Tyvek flapping in the breeze, was not -- not -- their fault.

"We're a respectable family, and we're working really hard to have the house of our dreams, and then, poof -- crap happens," explained Tabetha Chandler, who has resorted to spilling the chronology of events to her hairdresser in hopes that the true story would filter into the community, one haircut at a time.

Perhaps it is time to set the record straight.

Bob and Tabetha Chandler -- he a businessman, 46, and she a security consultant, 34 -- bought the pretty piece of land off Hillsboro Road three years ago.

It was just a field then, but they imagined a covered pool. A place to ride their dirt bikes. Plenty of space for their son, 5, and maybe a pony for their daughter, 10.

They researched a few construction companies before settling on United American Construction, a local outfit that had a good reputation and had offered a fair bid to build a 10,000-square-foot home.

Construction started in July 2004 and seemed to move along swiftly. But as the year wore on, things slowed down, finally halting early last year.

"I hear rumblings that the company is not doing well and people are not getting paid on time," Chandler recalled. "Which is weird since I am getting a bill every month and I am paying in full."


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