Avoiding the cookie-cutter syndrome in the suburbs can be hard with so many new developments mirroring the same design scheme. But a new community in Upper Marlboro, Md., right off Route 4, gives home buyers urban-style townhouses with exteriors and walkable neighborhoods that seem to mimic city living.
That’s what attracted Charles and Dara Watson to Westphalia Town Center, a 6,000-acre community where residences will blend with shops, restaurants, offices and outdoor amenities.
The couple began house hunting over the summer in Washington, where they both work. “Needless to say, that was short-lived with our budget. We would’ve either had to buy in a less-than-ideal neighborhood or buy something similar to our current condo,” Charles Watson said. They have lived in their two-bedroom condominium unit in Capitol Heights, Md., since 2007 and plan to move to Westphalia in late spring when their new townhouse is completed.
While touring the development and looking at the site plan, the Watsons saw that the Mid-Atlantic Builders’ Urban Series was being built in the next lot. “We thought they were single-family homes because they looked so large,” he said.
The Watsons said other builders’ designs seemed to them like what you’d expect to see in suburbia. “But Mid-Atlantic Builders made this unique design that we fell in love with,” Charles Watson said.
‘Sexy’ kitchen island: Stephen Paul, executive vice president at Mid-Atlantic Builders, said company officials took a look at the marketplace in Prince George’s County and noticed that everyone was offering similar products, including the same Colonial-style residence.
“We decided to research and see if we might take a step out and do something different,” he said. “And on the outside, we wanted to go for a completely different look. Provide something in the marketplace that buyers can’t get anywhere else.”
The Urban Series homes at Westphalia feature flat brick fronts filled with windows and a covered-vestibule-type entry.
Once completed there will be 75 Urban Series townhouses. Three were sold before the model’s grand opening this month. Charles Watson said the couple bought their home before there was a model to tour. He said the prices hadn’t even been finalized. “As crazy as it sounds,” he said, “we literally bought our home from looking at the floor plan, the site plan of the community and the town center. It was just a floor plan and our imagination.”
The spacious three-level townhouses have three bedrooms and a main level with an open floor plan. There’s a two-car garage, a mudroom, storage space, a powder room and a large recreation room on the bottom entry level, which can be configured as a fourth bedroom.
The first floor flows seamlessly, with the great room, an open gourmet kitchen and dining room in an uninterrupted line and the kitchen as the focal point. The kitchen has a long, sleek center island with plenty of working and dining space. It’s large enough to easily fit four or five stools.
A portion of the island includes a sink and dishwasher. The kitchen has granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.
Watson said the best features were the open floor plan with the 14-foot-long island, which he described as “so sexy”; the large terrace; and the builder’s signature spa shower. The model home features recessed lights and pendant light fixtures in the kitchen, white countertops and an earth-tone tile backsplash.
Options easy: Paul said that although Mid-Atlantic is a customizing builder and will make changes that buyers request, the Westphalia product has very simple choices to make it easier for them.
“In other words, when you see the base price, it doesn’t take a lot more to add to the house to make it complete. It’s not like it’s missing something,” he said. “It’s real simple; there’s only one major option on each floor.”
On the lower entry level, a study or fourth bedroom could be added; on the main floor, buyers have the option of adding a wall between the dining room and kitchen; and upstairs, buyers can opt to have a spa bath. Paul added that, of course, buyers are able to pick things such as their colors and tiles.
The model home has three bedrooms on the second floor, including a luxurious owner’s suite with walk-in closets. The bathroom includes an oversize shower and a raised sink with unique lighting underneath.
Indoor/outdoor spaces: The floor plan comes with an expansive rear outdoor terrace off the great room accessed by several sets of sliding glass doors. It’s large enough for the model home to have both a cozy sitting area and a dining area with room for a grill.
In the model home the terrace has a covered retractable awning operated by remote control. This option helps to further blend indoor space and outdoor living during the warmer months. Paul said that because all the garages are in the rear, there are no back yards. “The buyer is making a lifestyle choice and saying, ‘I don’t need a yard or have to cut grass, and I can do things like walk my dog to the common area.’ ”
When completed, the community will have a town center with open parks, ponds, walking and biking trails, clubhouses and two community pools.
Schools: Arrowhead Elementary, Kettering Middle, Wise High.
Transit: Located off Pennsylvania Avenue (Route 4), this is one of the closest communities to Interstate 495 (the Capital Beltway) in Prince George’s County. It is just a short commute to Washington and Annapolis.
10601 Eastland Circle, Upper Marlboro, Md.
The townhouses are priced from about $419,990 to $426,990.
Builder: Mid-Atlantic Builders. (Haverford and Ryan also are building in the community.)
Features: The 24-feet-wide townhouses have brick fronts, an open floor-plan, a two-car garage, gourmet kitchen with large island and stainless-steel appliances, maple cabinetry, granite or quartz countertops, hardwood or ceramic foyer, 9-foot-high ceilings throughout, a terrace with sliding door access off the great room, a lower-level recreation room and high-efficiency gas furnace.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 4 / 3 to 4
Square footage: 2,824 to 2,950
Homeowners fee: $152 per month
View models: 2 to 6 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays
Contact: Joe Korzenkiowski (301) 736-3300 or email@example.com or www.midatlanticbuilders.com.