Fifty miles west of the District, the Blue Ridge Mountains come into view at the crest of Virginia Route 7 West by Exit 9 and the sign for Clarks Gap. This is western Loudoun County, close to the border of Clarke County and the Appalachian Trail, and not too far from the Shenandoah River.
The hills, grass and woodlands are beautiful, and you are in the country.
This is the setting for Brentwood Springs in Round Hill, Va., a 45-acre property in the midst of development by Wormald, a six-generation, Washington-area family business run by three brothers, Ken, Ed and Robert. The community will comprise 95 single-family houses on roughly quarter-acre lots.
A third of the area is developed; the rest is in mid-construction. Resident-occupied houses are decorated with fall and Thanksgiving fare such as orange, black and yellow wreaths on the front door and pumpkins on the steps.
Condominium perks with private-home ambience is an attribute buyers like. "My husband, Chris, and I didn't want to maintain a yard. So the fact that we don't have to mow the lawn or shovel snow, is a perk," Renee Novello said.
The Novellos selected a wooded lot. "Our porch faces a nice barrier of old trees and the common area. It's pretty private," she said.
Build-to-suit: Bob Pelletier and Gisi Whittaker moved into their home July 1 and promptly left on a five-week trip to Europe, but not before giving the project manager a list of things that needed repair and attention.
"Ordinarily, after five weeks, you're pretty close to the clock running out on getting things done, but they started the clock running when we got back from our trip. Everything was taken care of," Pelletier said.
"We also got lots of help selecting options and getting a few changes made," he said.
Charlie McAuliffe, the sales manager, said, "We're not totally a production builder. We build-to-suit." That means the builder will accommodate personal customization within reason and for a charge. For example, a buyer may extend a room, enlarge a closet or make it smaller, or close in a room.
Pelletier and Whittaker replaced the standard windows along the house rear with nearly floor-to-ceiling casement windows. They ordered two custom-built cabinets and specified the color to match that of an existing piece of antique furniture, and they asked for a made-to-order cabinet over the fireplace to hide the TV screen. They were happy with the results.
They downsized from more than three acres in Hamilton, Va., to single-level living in Brentwood Springs. "Even though everything is on one floor, the house doesn't look like a rambler. It's open, airy and spacious," Whittaker said. A nice feature is a mini-hallway leading to the bedroom that enhances the feel of privacy.
The Novellos moved from Brambleton and opted for a two-level house. Their children, Anthony, 6, and Alivia, 11, have their own bedrooms on the second floor, and their parents occupy the master suite down the hall.
The laundry room has a side-by-side washer and dryer, sink and space for cubbyholes, and wall hooks to hang caps, canvas bags and umbrellas.
What's nearby: Sleeter Lake is great for fishing, and one can pull up bullheads, smallmouth bass, bream, bluegills, perch and pickerel. Chris Novello takes his children there for nighttime fishing off a little dock.
There will be a playground, walking and exercise trail and grass field on the property. Hiking trails are close by in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Berryville.
Stoneleigh Golf and Country Club in Round Hill is a membership club and a destination wedding venue.
Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville hosts plays and musicals, comedy shows, concerts and exhibitions, and is a regional cultural gem. "There's definitely an artsy feel to Purcellville," Novello said.
Grocery shopping is available in Purcellville and in Leesburg.
Schools: Round Hill Elementary, Harmony Middle, Woodgrove High.
Transit: The town of Round Hill is reached via Interstate 66 East merging onto Virginia Route 267 West, which you take all the way to the end, Exit 1A. Then follow Virginia 7 West to 7 West Business "in Round Hill," not 7 West Business "in Leesburg." This is an important difference. Evening Star Drive, in Round Hill, goes to Brentwood Springs. Dulles International Airport is 28 miles away.
17289 Creekside Green Pl., Round Hill, Va.
There will be 95 single-family home sites. Nineteen are sold. Seventy-six are for sale ranging from $489,900 to $609,900. The builder is offering $10,000 closing cost assistance when buyers use the builder's lenders.
Features: All homes have a dry-walled two-car garage. House exteriors have aluminum gutters and downspouts landing in concrete splash-blocks. Exterior doors have deadbolt locks. Hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed inside the house. Six of the seven floor plans offer a first-floor owner's suite. Ceilings vary from nine feet to two stories high. The kitchen is outfitted with GE appliances, a granite counter and a stainless-steel double-bowl sink.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 6 / 2 to 6
Square footage: 1,666 to 6,800
Homeowners association fee: $180 per month
View model: From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Contact: Charlie McAuliffe at 540-751-9103 or wormald.com/BrentwoodSprings