When Diana Brod, 59, and her husband moved from England to Northern Virginia eight years ago, they were looking for the same orderly lifestyle. They found it at the St. Johns Wood apartments in Reston.
The 15-year-old complex has nice apartments, well-manicured lawns and great service, Brod said. "If you are working mega-hours, you don't want the stress and other stuff," she said.
When residents travel, staff will watch over their apartments, including their pets. On a recent weekend away, Katie Egan, 26, took advantage of the service and filled out a card to have someone come in to feed her cat. She and her boyfriend have lived in their two-bedroom, two-bath apartment for about 10 months.
"It's a lot of money to live here, but with amenities like this [cat service], it's worth it," Egan said. "I love it. I like coming in the driveway, the landscape is very inviting."
Bill King, 49, found St. Johns Wood so inviting that after his company moved him into a temporary apartment there almost five years ago, he stayed. King, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment, said the complex offers services he hasn't found elsewhere.
"I get home so late from work that the packages that Fed Ex and UPS bring, they drop them off to the management office. They will actually bring those packages to my home," King said. "So I don't have to try to get home before the management office closes."
He said, "I have a patio. I am on the first floor. It is so gorgeous; when I go out there, it is surrounded by trees. You never hear anything here. It is like living on your own acreage. The way they are built, it is like you have your own house."
The 14-acre complex sits next to a park. The access to the outdoors appeals to Maria Segerstedt, 36, who is living temporarily at St. Johns Wood with her husband and two children. "I love the area because of nature. It has a lot of walk paths around here. We try to walk to the playground, parks and the pool. It is convenient."
Segerstedt and her family are from Sweden. They are staying in Reston while her husband works nearby for Ericsson, a Swedish telecommunications company. "I feel safe here. People are out walking and jogging. It is peaceful," she said.
The community also is close to stores, including a grocery and video shop. Brod, who works at the Loudoun campus of Northern Virginia Community College, enjoys the access to the restaurants and shops of Reston -- before she goes somewhere, she said, she "MapQuests for a Barnes & Noble and a Starbucks."
She said, "Reston is a preplanned community that is done perfectly. It really has just flowered, so casual without being yuppie casual. I don't have to worry how I go out."
Brod said she tries to use the fitness room in the community center daily. The fitness room has several cardio machines as well as free weights. "The gym is always clean. If something is broken, they fix it," Brod said.
Residents of St. Johns Wood are part of the Reston Association, which affords access to Reston's pools, tennis courts and parks. The rental complex also has its own pool and sundeck, as well as a guest suite tenants can rent. Dulles International Airport is just 10 to 15 minutes away, Brod said, and the suite makes it convenient to offer hospitality, but not have guests underfoot.
For Egan and her boyfriend, Reston was a compromise location; he works in Tysons Corner and she works in Fairfax. "Getting into Tysons is really easy, it's close, 15 minutes," Egan said. She said that her commute is longer, but with a more flexible schedule, she avoids some of the traffic.
"It's a really great place to live. It's very comfortable," Egan said. "It is a high standard of living."