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Maple Lawn South works for this family

The living area of the Longwood model has lots of windows providing ample natural light. (Benjamin C Tankersley for The Washington Post)

As schools continue to refine their on-screen instructional rhythms in a covid-19 landscape, Melani Hunter eases into a daily shakedown for the 20 students in her prekindergarten class at Shepherd Elementary School in Northwest Washington.

“I’m singing and dancing,” said Hunter, 42, who lives with her husband and their three children in a 5,000-square-foot house in Maple Lawn South, a rising community of single-family houses in Fulton, Md., halfway between Washington and Baltimore. “My students are so young, their attention span is so short, it’s more embarrassing to do that in front of your own family.”

“And I’m like across the hall, and she’s doing jumping jacks,” her teasing husband, Kori, 47, added as the couple relaxed on their front porch on a recent Saturday afternoon. “And I’m wondering, ‘What’s going on?’ ”

Maple Lawn South, in southern Howard County, lies just west of Maple Lawn, a 604-acre, mixed-use development that opened in 2005. NVHomes plans to build 176 homes on about 100 acres at Maple Lawn South, and construction is expected to be completed next year. Buyers have a choice of four floor plans. About 115 houses have been sold.

Buying New | Maple Lawn South in Fulton, Md.

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Maple Lawn South is a rising community of single-family houses in Fulton, Md., in southern Howard County, about halfway between Washington and Baltimore. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Maple Lawn and Maple Lawn South occupy land once owned by the Iager family. In 1839, German immigrant Heinrich Iager bought 108 rolling acres along what is now Route 216 and named the property Maple Lawn Farms. In 1938, Ellsworth Iager and his wife, Elizabeth, began raising and selling organic turkeys there. The cackling of turkeys can still be heard from across Scaggsville Road.

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The Hunters’ new home, which has six bedrooms and 5½ bathrooms, cost slightly more than $1 million, said Kori, a database developer. They moved there in September 2019. Changes to the standard floor plan included turning a living room into an office and turning a study into a bedroom. A powder room became a full bathroom with a walk-in tub. Half of the basement is finished, “with the rest used as storage — for now,” Melani said.

Two of the couple’s three children — ages 10, 5 and 9 months — are receiving remote instruction online with the help of Melani’s sister. Kori’s mother also lives with the family.

“Everybody has their own space,” Melani said.

For Melani, the kitchen was one of the big selling points. “I’ve never had an island in my kitchen,” she said. “It sounds so silly, but now, when I’m doing my dishes, I’m facing my family,” she said. “I remember growing up in Bucks County, Pa. The kitchen faced the windows.

The house is the first new property Melani has ever lived in. “I went to the design center and picked out what the marble [countertops] and cabinets would look like,” she said. “That was exciting.”

As the couple prepared to move in, Kori drew up plans for modifications to the backyard. They included a pergola, two fireplaces, a fire pit, a hot tub, two waterfalls and a ping-pong table. “It’s definitely a party deck,” said Kori, who, before the pandemic, commuted three hours a day, round trip, between his home and his information technology job in McLean, Va. “I have a lot of my life back now.”

The house is a three-minute walk from the elementary school where the 5- and 10-year-old are enrolled. Middle and high schools are nearby. Just before the first day of school, the family dropped by for a virtual open house. “It was a beep and greet,” Melani said. “We drove through the parking lot, and they gave each student a Chromebook.”

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“This community has a lot of diversity and a lot of kids,” she said. But while the pandemic lasts, she said she doesn’t feel able to fully evaluate the level of friendliness.

Melani declared that she relishes the overall vibe at Maple Lawn. “It feels safe,” she said, “and very community-oriented.”

The amenities at Maple Lawn South include an outdoor pool, a tot lot and a clubhouse equipped with a gourmet kitchen and a meeting room. A hiking and biking trail is under construction.

Nearby: Maple Lawn’s business center, Columbia, Laurel and Savage are within a 15-minute drive. The closest regional retail complex is the Mall in Columbia.

Schools: Fulton Elementary, Lime Kiln Middle and Reservoir High.

Transit: The Maryland Transit Administration operates daily commuter bus service between Fulton and the District. Regular MARC commuter train service is offered from Laurel and Savage. Metrobus offers service in nearby Burtonsville.

Maple Lawn South

8215 S. Maple Lawn Blvd., Fulton, Md.

Thirty home sites are for sale in Phases 2 and 3 at base prices ranging from $889,900 for the Liberty floor plan to $949,900 for the Marymount. Another 30 home sites will go on sale in 2021. Prices are scheduled to increase before the end of the year and again at the beginning of 2021.

Builder: NVHomes

Features: All houses are two stories. Standard features include a full, unfinished basement with rough-in for a full bathroom. Ceilings are nine feet high on all levels. Window sizes are 3 feet by 6 feet on the first floor and 3 feet by 5 feet on the second floor. Houses come standard with two-car garages; a very few remaining home sites offer garage space for a third car. Foyers and dining rooms feature crown molding. Seven-inch-wide, solid-core vinyl flooring is offered on all floors. Stairs from the first to the second floor are hardwood. Every model offers two-tone wall color and white semi-gloss trim. The kitchens have 42-inch raised-panel white or dark-stained maple cabinets with slow-close drawers and doors, a gas cooktop, a double wall oven, a large, deep stainless-steel sink, a dishwasher and a built-in microwave. The kitchen, hallways, pantry, bathrooms, laundry and walk-in closets have recessed lighting. All second-floor bedrooms are prewired for ceiling fans and lights. There is an interior fire-safety sprinkler system. The development is Energy Star-certified for energy efficiency.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 4/3.5

Square footage: 2,800 to 4,300

Homeowners association fee: $86 a month.

Contact: Mike Hancock, community sales manager, at 240-456-0481 or whancoc@NVHomes.com.

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