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Preview of New Lacey Lane Subdivision

by Katie Pyzyk February 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm 4,421 186 Comments

Lacey Lane subdivision plan

The developer behind the upcoming Lacey Lane subdivision in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood is giving peek at what the new area will look like once it’s developed.

The Barrett Companies, which is a business run by the Chamberlin family since the 1980s, bought the vacant property on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive and had it excavated last month. The Chamberlins had been working to acquire the land for about a decade.

According to brothers Taylor and Milton Chamberlin, the goal for the Georgian style homes is for them to be an alternative to “McMansions.”

“We really take our time to design the homes to fit in the neighborhood. We’re not builders that come in and put this huge McMansion in a small neighborhood where it doesn’t fit. That’s not what we do,” said Taylor. “All of this is really thought through and it’s really livable, usable space. It’s not those McMansions where you walk in and wonder, ‘What do you do in this room?'”

The base model runs around $1.4 million and features four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, with the possibility of another bedroom and bathroom on an additional level. Costs will vary based on the different lot sizes and individual add-ons the purchasers want in their homes.

“We’re pretty enthusiastic about what we’re giving back to the community and what we’re providing for people who want to live there,” Taylor said. “They’re neat homes, they’re going to be well built.”

Another goal is to foster a 1950s sense of community among the owners of the nine properties, in which everybody knows and interacts with their neighbors. The homes will only be accessible via a private road and there will be a small fence around the subdivision.

“There’s a sense of community where people can interact a little bit more, but not lose their privacy,” said Milton.

The homes feature outdoor living area options — such as screened in “sleeping porches” off the second floor bedrooms or fireplaces exposed to the outdoors — which are supposed to add to the sense of community.

“While one neighbor is out grilling, you can see a couple of other neighbors hanging out on their patios,” Milton said. “You can sit and hang out and watch the kids in the backyard. It’s a very functional space.”

Excavation at Washington Blvd and N. George Mason DriveThe brothers noted The Barrett Companies’ effort toward green building and energy efficiency. From better insulation and caulking to installing appropriate outlets in the detached garages for plugging in an electric car, the Chamberlins believe small touches make their properties stand out.

“It’s the little things that are very time consuming that a lot of builders wouldn’t want to do,” Taylor said. “All those little things add up. It makes it so much more efficient.”

A few neighbors had voiced concerns about last month’s removal of around 150 trees on the property to make way for the subdivision. But Taylor said the trees that were removed weren’t of high quality; many of them will be replaced with new trees that are native to Virginia.

“The trees that were on this site were very low quality trees per Arlington County’s grading scale. A lot had just grown wild over the years,” said Taylor. “In the process of coming back in here, we’re putting in a lot of newer, higher quality trees to grow up around the homes. I do understand the concern of neighbors around it. They’re going to see that it will be beautiful and lush and green again.”

Arlington County Urban Forester Vincent Verweij confirmed that developers must preserve or re-plant about 20 percent of the trees that stood on an excavated property according to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance. If such guidelines are not met, the county will not grant final occupancy permits.

“Arlington does a great job of protecting the county from a landscape perspective,” Milton said.

Model homes will be built on lots four and five, and the other seven homes will be built as customers purchase them. Work should begin on the first model in the next 30 days or so, with work on the second model beginning shortly thereafter. The homes are expected to take about seven months to build, so the models should be ready by autumn. The Chamberlins hope the whole project will be completed in about a year to a year and a half.

  • iameye

    how is a four bedroom 4.5 bath house not a McMansion?

    • Hee-Haw

      because 4 bedrooms isn’t, thats why. A married couple and 2 kids takes up 3 rooms right there. 4th bedroom can be office/guest room/play room. See how its not a Mcmansion now ?

      • drax

        Ten bucks says it already has a spare room for an office/guest room/playroom, other than that 4th bedroom (and possibly 5th). Bet it’s got a fully finished basement with a playroom and guest bedroom.

        And 4.5 bathrooms. More than the number of family members in your couple with 2 kids scenario. That’s right, everyone has their own private full bathroom.

        Not a McMansion.

        • Hee-Haw

          The houses “may” have those other rooms you speak of, but they are not considered legal bedrooms if there is no closet or large enough window…so these homes could be legit 4 BR’s.

          If there is a market for these homes, and there is, why do you care so much ?
          I don’t understand the hate. I think its just jealousy.

          • drax

            I don’t care. I’m just laughing at their attempt to deny that they’re building McMansions when they are.

          • Hee-Haw

            You do care, cause you’re jealous of these homes. Apparently, 4 BR = McMansion.

          • Huckleberry

            Easy there with the name-calling Hee-Haw. I didn’t get a whiff of jealousy from “drax”. Just realism. Especially the point about more bathrooms than people. Who needs that? Most of us grew up in family homes with maybe one full bathroom. And we survived!
            I gotta say, it makes me wonder if Hee-Haw has some financial or other interest in this deal…

          • Huckleberry

            Easy there with the name-calling, Hee Haw. I did not detect a whiff of jealousy in the reply from “drax”. Just realism.
            Makes me wonder if Hee Haw has a financial or other interest in this little deal.
            Many of us grew up in family homes with just one full bath. And we survived and still love each other. More baths than people is not only unnecessary, it’s a reason to rethink our priorities.

          • Hee-Haw

            I have no financial interest in this deal. I just don’t get why people feel the need to criticize what others spend their money on. If someone wants 1 bathroom, who cares ? If someone else wants 5 bathrooms, who cares ?

        • BBMS

          I would be surprised if any of these have basements.

          • John Fontain

            Prepare to be surprised.

          • drax

            1.4 mil and no basement? Fat chance.

          • speonjosh

            The basements will be cavernous.

          • drax

            From their site…

            Lower level:
            Recreation Room with gas fireplace
            Guest bedroom
            Full bath
            Bonus room (video screening room, exercise studio, etc.)

            And then there’s the 2nd story over the garage with a half bath.

        • R. Griffon

          McMansion – I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Or at least not to most people. A McMansion isn’t simply a large home, or one that has the amenities that buyers want these days. A McMansion is a large home (that’s the “Mansion” part) that’s cranked out speedy-quick with minimal regards for quality according to a mass-produced design that doesn’t vary from the rest (that’s your “Mc”). If it’s not BOTH large and mass produced with a “me-too” design, then it ain’t a McMansion.

          Are these McMansions? Maybe, I dunno. I’d have to see them once their built. But the flocks who decry “OMG McMansions!” every time someone builds a new home in ARL is pretty annoying.

          • brown before green

            ^^ correct!

          • McHater

            Well, if they would just build a huge house ON A HUGE LOT, that would shut down a lot of the criticism. That–and quit using the nasty siding they love so much. You know what I mean? Build a big, nice house–out of actual brick! Or actual stone! Even stucco, a la Spanish Colonial–would be an improvement over this horrible dystopic Hardieboard.

          • R. Griffon

            Build a big, nice house–out of actual brick! Or actual stone!

            I’m with you 100% in terms of taste, but it simply isn’t profitable. Most people like the way brick and stone look, but are unwilling to pay the price premium that they incur. Or put another way, a developer could never hope to recover dollar-for-dollar on the additional materials and labor necessary for brick and stone. People are much more willing to pay a premium for things like extra square footage, additional rooms, and interior finishes. Which is a shame really.

          • drax

            I don’t think McMansion means that any more. I think it means any home that is way too big for its neighborhood, even if it’s well-built.

            I don’t care if they are McMansions – I’m just laughing at the builder going out of his way to deny it.

        • KathyInArlingtonVA

          drax, that’s 4 bathrooms (same as 4 member family) and a powder room. So that hardly counts as more than the number of family members.

          • Huckleberry

            Gee, my math teacher would have flunked me for that answer. 4.5>4.0

          • drax

            4.5 > 4.

            But yeah, there will be the same number of bathing facilities, but more toilets than family members. Good enough for you?

      • Mimi Stratton

        Come on. I have the typical Arlington colonial box. It’s got 4 bedrooms, but they’re small, and I sure don’t have 4.5 baths. A 4 bedroom house built today is going to be a McMansion. People wouldn’t stand for what I’ve got–not paying $1.4 million!

    • internet tourettes

      It’s a McMansion when each of those bedrooms are 800sqft and have a full bath…… Like most of the tear down new construction 1+million dollar homes these will linger on the market then turn over ever year or so. I wonder if the new owners will fence their back yards so that the whole development will have a stockade effect kinda like the fort on “F-Troop.”

      • GetReal

        Do you really think each bedroom will be 800sf?

    • Wondering

      The 1905 Victorian I grew up in had 4 bedrooms too. Also a McMansion by your standards?

      • DCBuff

        How about by 1905 standards?

      • drax

        No. Four bedrooms alone does not make a McMansion.

        Next question?

  • Lucifer Bernanke

    $1.4 Million for the Base model…maybe I should start applying to some defense contractors…

    • JamesE

      Wait until March 1st

      • Lucifer Bernanke

        hahaha I know right … I’m almost hoping it happens to wake up some of the people in this area…doubt it…and even if it does go thru, I’m sure people will just get into their political bickering. The GOP and Demorats are on the same side people! Owned by the Banksters!! Humanity will awaken eventually…hopefully not too late by then…

        • ARLwahoo

          There’s more than just the defense contractors that are going to get hurt by March 1. And not all of us get paid like defense contractors and have million dollar homes as part of our equity.
          This won’t “wake-up” our gov’t. Instead, it will severely hurt a large amount of people that work 8-6 to support this country’s infrastructure.

          • Sherriffs Gonna Getcha

            the sequester is only slowing the growth in spending. The amount of spending on defense and the like will still be increasing people. The stuff you are seeing about is just scare tactics by lobbyists. For example, instead of the defense budget growing 10% per year, its growing 5%.

            Only in DC do they say that is a spending “Cut”

          • drax

            So we shouldn’t need any furloughs, since instead of hiring 10% we’ll only be hiring 5%, right?

          • Hee-Haw

            Clearly, you don’t understand this. Cuts have already been made as evidenced by people being fired. And more “cuts” are coming, hence more firings. I’m seeing it firsthand, by the way.

          • Sherriffs Gonna Getcha

            I believe you are just having people use this as an excuse. What if the government comes in at the last minute and kicks the can down the road again? Will all those people that were fired b/c of Cuts come back? It is fear mongering.

          • Hee-Haw

            Again, I’m seeing this firsthand and have been told by a govt manager that a team member of mine will be gone if sequestration goes into affect. You should stop spreading rumors.

          • R. Griffon

            Hee-Haw: I thought it was nearly impossible to fire a government worker (I’ve seen plenty incompetent, but NEVER seen anyone let go – only transferred). Does the sequestor give them a chance to let go of the dead wood?

          • WeiQiang

            @R Griff: my partner and my clients will be furloughed … which is not the same as free-loading. permanent termination (RIF) is not how agencies are handling the sequestration.

          • Hee-Haw

            @ R griff. Sorry, talking about contractors. If sequestration goes into affect, our govt mgmt will remove 1-2 contractors per team.

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            Isnt the decision to let go of one of your team members the decision of your employer? That is totally independent of what the government does. Why cant your private sector defense contractor simply assign that employee to another project? Why cant they simply lower their profit margins?

            Nobody is forcing the defense contractors to do anything. Its no different from any other private company that has to deal with a drop in demand. Some companies choose layoffs, some do cost-cutting in other ways, some diversify their business etc.

            Its totally unreasonable and unfair to expect “demand” to be guaranteed and for defense contractors to just throw their hands up and say “well they are lowering spending forecasts in the future, gotta fire people”

            Again fear mongering.

          • Hee-Haw

            The decision came from the govt. They tell the COTR, who then tells the PM, who then tells the employee. They will eliminate 1 position from our team. This person does not work for my company so I can’t say what that company will do. Some companies find other positions for their employees and some companies say “bye-bye, good luck”.

            I don’t get why you keep saying fear mongering…its already happened and WILL happen again on March 1.

          • R. Griffon

            Sheriff: I don’t think you understand how contracting works. That’s not a dig at you; you wouldn’t know unless you’d worked in the field. In most cases, the gov’t pays to have people in pre-defined labor categories at pre-defined rates. How much a given project costs depends on how many people at what labor categories and for how long. So when they cut funding, they have to decide which people to cut.

            My government contracting officer asked us to identify a plan to cut 20%. That means either cutting everyone’s hours by 20%, or cutting 20% of the people, or some mix in between. You can’t simply decide to “lower your margins” and charge a lower rate as you suggest b/c the rates are defined by the contract. To change rates you’d need a new contract (or at least a mod), and that takes months.

            So yes – the government can absolutely (and IS in the current climate) telling contractors to cut X number of people. And while it’s true that those people could theoretically work on another project, that’s only if the company happens to have another project that is currently short on people with the exact same skills and experience (read: labor category) as are being let go. If so, then any contractor will allow them to change projects. If not (as is the case most often), then that employee gets laid off.

  • drax

    “It’s not those McMansions where you walk in and wonder, ‘What do you do in this room?’”

    The base model runs around $1.4 million….”

    Awesome connection of conflicting phrases. Yeah, right, 1.4 mil. But not a McMansion!

    • Xard

      So all those original 1920s era homes around Arlington that sell for the same price are McMansions automatically, too? If a developer wants to avoid the McStigma, they just need to avoid making a profit?

      • drax

        Didn’t say automatically.

        • R. Griffon

          Except that you totally did say (by implication) that one is automatically the other. Perhaps you just didn’t understand what you were writing. You said that “[not a] McMansion” and “around $1.4M” were “conflicting phrases.” The only way that they are conflicting is if one automatically denotes the other. Otherwise, there would be no conflict of which to speak.

          If you’re agreeing that $1M+ homes can be McMansions, but don’t HAVE to be, then your original statement makes no more sense than saying that “is not an apple” is in conflict with “grows on a tree.”

          Sorry, but sloppy logical fallacies really irk me, esp. when people infer something and then turn right around and say “I never said that!” The Internet is pretty tough place for me…

        • drax

          Sorry for confusing you, R. I didn’t mean automatically I should have been more clear. I’m aware that other homes in Arlington are expensive. Thanks for the long pointless diatribe though.

          • R. Griffon

            Pointless? I’m pretty sure you just learned something. Then my job here is done.

          • darsasx

            Pointless in that 10 minutes you’ll have the opportunity to do it all over again for him on a completely different topic. Your job will never be done here.

          • drax

            I learned something about you, that’s for sure.

      • drax

        Oh, and then you continue reading:

        “four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, with the possibility of another bedroom and bathroom on an additional level.”

        LOL. Not many 1920s homes like that.

        • Xard

          So you’re falling back on the argument that it’s not price but number of rooms, and whether or not one has to wonder what one does in certain rooms that didn’t exist in the 1920s floorplan? Do you not know what to do in a bathroom?

          • drax

            I’m not “falling back” on anything. You’re being ridiculously pedantic though.

            There’s no official definition of “McMansion.” Good for you! You pointed that out!

            I’m saying these are good candidates for the title. You can call them whatever you want.

          • Hee-Haw

            “A McMansion is a 1.4 mil house with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.”

            Seems like an official definition of “McMansion”, according to you.

          • Xard

            Actually, I was trying to point out that the assumption you’re making is as silly as your bias against houses where more than two people can defecate at the same time. Without making a mess.

          • IPslowly

            Why is it that single family homes in this area apparently need more bathrooms than a 300+seat restaurant where everyone is there to drink and eat?

          • drax

            Yes, Hee-Haw, that’s the official definition!

            Jesus, enough already.

          • drax



      • DCBuff

        There are no “original” 1920s era homes in ArlCo selling for $1.4 mil. Those homes (e.g., a Sears bungalow) have been significantly altered/upgraded/added on to in order to reach such a price. Hence, not “original.” Whether those homes now qualify as McMansions is another issue.

        • Arlingtoon

          Au contraire, mon ami.

          • drax

            Find me a home in Arlington built in the 1920s with little or no additions that is worth $1.4 mil.

          • Arlingtoon

            Drax — they’re all over Country Club Hills. Including my own.

          • HereYouGo
          • Hee-Haw

            Boo-yah ! Bang Biscuit ! In yo face !

          • DCBuff

            The link takes me to a house built in the 1940s, on nearly a full acre, with 6 bedrooms, and that is most certainly not a Sears bungalow, with no evidence that it had not been upgraded. So, HereYouGo didn’t go anywhere near anything.

          • HereYouGo

            Okay, it’s not 1920s but I figured it was close enough since it was early 1940s and was kind of a recent transaction. Also, looking for a home of this age with 0 or little renovations is tough. This one wasn’t renovated. It’s not advertised as NOT renovated but who would advertise it that way. But from the add “.Looking for that new owner who is excited about returning this beauty back to the period of grace elegance.” you can see it needs work. No one said anything about limiting the bedrooms or acreage. So if you want to find a 75+ year home with no renovations, on a tiny lot, and only 2 bedrooms obviously you’ll be hard pressed to find one for $1.4. But if you’re looking for an original 20s era home for $1.4 they are a few out there. So is this home a McMansion?

      • Mimi Stratton

        Didn’t we learn anything from the burst housing bubble? That we don’t need huge houses and the sticker price that goes along with it?

    • thomas

      There are tons of 1.4M houses in Arlington and McLean that are not McMansions. Please describe a McMansion to us… Is it any house that is more expensive than yours? Or is it any house that has one bedroom more than yours? Or an extra bathroom? Please outline your criteria, otherwise, stop being a jackass.

      • drax

        A McMansion is a 1.4 mil house with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.

        • Hee-Haw

          No, its not. Not in this area. Sorry, you’re wrong.

          • drax

            Yes. Yes it is.

            Maybe this area will be full of those soon, making them the norm. But they are not the norm.

          • Hee-Haw

            “not the norm” also doesn’t qualify as a mansion. You might want to take a drive through Great Falls, Potomac, and Mclean if you want to see some true mansions. 4 BR house IS NOT a mansion, sorry.

        • fuzzy

          If one of these houses were in between a bunch of small, 1500 sq. ft, single story houses — then it would be a McMansion. That term only fits if the house does not fit in with the neighboring houses. In this case, all the houses will be roughly the same.

      • Mimi Stratton

        It’s more damn house than anyone with two kids or less needs.

    • In case you haven’t looked at the SFH real estate market lately, 1.4M does not get you a McMansion in Northern Arlington. It’s sad but true. Prices around here are a joke.

      • drax

        It might, it might not. I never said 1.4 mil is the only factor.

    • Deadite

      To me, the term “McMansion” refers more to the cookie-cutter look that a lot of newer housing developments give off, and not necessarily the price. I think these developers were trying to say these won’t be cookie cutter houses, but that obviously remains to be seen.

  • RWarren

    Looks like a duck to me.

  • Deadite

    “We want to create a neighborhood feel, but we want these houses to be completely fenced off from those “other” houses.”

    • CrystalMikey

      I read that too

    • Douglas Parker

      This will be a community of 9 wealthy (or deaply indebted) families. The road will be private. We will build an optional school so your children do not have to interact with the common folk. If you use Pea pod, you may never have to see another commoner again.

      • R. Griffon

        You don’t sound bitter at all.

    • Clarencourt Neighbor

      BIG groan. Obviously people have a right ot live how they want, and builders wil supply what the market can bear, but I really wish that the County would not approve developments like this. They kill neighborhoods, and they are such a waste of space. They could at least build a moat around the development’s boundaries, really keep the riff-raff (the rest of us) out.

      • Arlingtoon

        That made me laugh. Love the potential for marketing.

        The ultimate in prestige! A moated community! Never mind your middle-class gated communities — you’ve reached the top and need a moat!

        • Bsf

          A private road! They’ll have to pay for snow plowing?

      • Bsf

        Didn’t he also say he is giving back to the community. What kind of bull is that? I liked the look of a wooded area.

  • John Fontain

    In my opinion, it’s very unfortunate that this development is designed with the rear facing alley and fence enclosure. This design is contrary to the design of the rest of the neighborhood.

    The practical effect of this design is that neighbors will rarely see or interact with each other because they’ll enter and leave thier homes by driving through the alley directly into their garages and then on into their homes. The interaction between those within this new development will be very limited, but the lack of interaction will be even more pronounced between those in the new development and those on the surrounding blocks (the currently existing homes) because of the rear entry and the fence.

    There is no doubt as to why the developer designed the lots this way – pulling into a front facing driveway from Washington Blvd and George Mason at that busy intersection will likely be viewed as daunting to potential buyers.

    But I’ll at least give the developer credit for using detached garages (although that was likely done solely to obtain bonus lot coverage allowances).

    • Lucifer Bernanke

      Not like neighbors really talk to each other these days anyway :/

      • drax

        I think maybe they just don’t talk to you.

      • Polk

        Good. No one really like hanging out with people with 1.4M homes, even those who live in 1.4m homes next door. We pay to keep people out. That’s why the most expensive neighborhoods have gates. Leave me, my trophy wife, and my money ALONE!

        • drax

          I’ll leave you and your money alone, but if your trophy wife comes over to my house drunk again while you’re out of town, I’m just sayin’….

          • snarl

            im guessing youve never had a room in your house where you said: “What do you do in this room?”

    • drax

      Nobody wants to interact with those slums on the other side. They are only worth 600k to 1 mil.

    • Pulling out onto Washington Blvd or George Mason would be horrible. I don’t know how existing houses on those roads do it.

    • Mike

      If I read the map correctly, it appears that all the houses have entries that face the normal, existing streets – the new Lacey Lane is more of an alley. You are right, much of the time people will enter and exit their homes on that lane, via their cars, but people would enter and exit by car anyway, even if the driveways and garages faced the main streets. There is at least the potential that residents who do want to walk somewhere will use the regular streets like other people in the neighborhood. I’m not sure that the developer could have done it better.

    • Paul

      I doubt the county would have allowed the driveways and curb cuts. Thus the necessity for the private alley.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    But……is it “vibrant”? Remember, it is only a true “development and a true “community” if it is “viiiiiiiiibrant”!

    Feh, Barrett put in eight houses in the woods across from my neighbors and myself about 10 years ago. Barrett’ s “representative” invited the whole neighborhood to a presentation at a home two houses up from mine. Barrett’s “representative” was as slick and full of fast, smooth talk as an Amway upline. Promised they wouldn’t cut down every tree in sight, the new houses would not be “McMansions” that stuck out like sore thumbs, yada, yada. Half the neighbors believed him, half didn’t. Turned out those of us that didn’t believe the fast talker right. Every old growth tree was cut down, and yes, the 8 new houses were at least twice the size of every other home one my street and the next street over – and they stood out like sore thumbs. Everyone in my neighborhood was ticked off, but too late. Based on the experience in my neighborhood, Barrett’s word about this new “community” not being “McMansions” ranks up there with “the check is in the mail” and “I’ll respect you in the morning.”

    • Bluemontsince1961

      ” those of us that didn’t believe the fast talker right.”

      Those of us that didn’t believe the fast talker were right.

      • Douglas Parker

        Bluemont, I’m still trying to make sense of this. Help me out.

        • Douglas Parker

          Nevermind, disregard my comment. I don’t know what’s up with the comment section, but your amendment post showed up before the first post and it didn’t have any context.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Douglas Parker & Mike,

            For some reason, my original comment was undergoing the moderation process, that is why the correction was posted before the original comments.

        • Mike

          For some reason, Bluemont’s reply to his original post appeared a long time before the original post showed up, so it looked like he was quoting something that didn’t exist. Now it makes sense.

    • B sf

      I like the quote about the “wild” trees. They’re bad. I didn’t know that.

  • bemused bystander

    How many other gated communities are there in Arlington? Not counting the palaces up on the Palisades along Chain Bridge Road, which like to call themselves “McLean”.

  • JimPB

    1 — What with the amount of traffic on George Mason and Washington streets, the rears of these houses should face those streets. Evergreens should then be planted for a visual block and for further street noise reduction. The fronts would face the “common” driveway.
    2 — A common recreation area in the interior area could foster interaction among residents.

    3 — Green features, e.g., solar panels on roof? Rain barrels?

    • Yorktown Neighbor

      Sexy wives who like to drink, and occasionally smoke a little weed when the kids aren’t looking, is the best way to foster interaction among residents. Not sure you can plan that – it just sort of luck of the draw. But it sure does get the men out of the house and going to the neighbor’s parties, at least on my street.

      • drax

        Um, so, what’s your address?

  • Mary-Austin

    Pretty much any new home in Arlington is going to be above 1.2 million.
    Good for these guys who want to design something that actually looks classy instead of all the faux craftsman places we’re seeing now.

    • Mike

      Craftsman homes, Kenmore schools — if we could just name a park or something after Diehard, we could cover all the major Sears legacy brands in Arlington.

      • drax

        I’ll call my house “Toughskins” just to get the ball rolling.

        • speonjosh


        • WeiQiang

          regrettably, i’d have to call mine “Husky”

          • snarl

            im going with “free spirit”

        • cp

          Anybody remember Lemon Frog?

      • Elena

        Ha ha ha, good one!!! Maybe the big fat houses could be called Pretty Plus…

    • John Fontain

      “Good for these guys who want to design something that actually looks classy instead of all the faux craftsman places we’re seeing now.”

      We’ll have to wait and see on that front. Based on the pictures on their website of other homes they’ve built, they appear to be mostly classic McMansions and a few faux Craftsman (needless false gables, etc.). I wouldn’t get your hopes up, Mary-Austin.

      • WeiQiang

        well, we in SARWOK+ are happy to announce a new trend in Arlington overbuilding: the ‘Church’ style. on 16th between Joyce and Kent is a new-build that resembles a suburban megachurch … or a Red Roof Inn. it actually has a red roof. it is about 45′ deep and has just a large 2-story gabled front and a large 2-story gabled rear. maybe it’s an Ark.

      • Mick Manson

        Who are you to declare my false gables needless! I need them for my self esteem!!

        • WeiQiang

          dude, these are real … they are the whole end of the house

      • Mimi Stratton

        I’m embarrassed to say I kind of like the faux Craftsman houses. Is that wrong of me?

  • GetReal

    It doesn’t look like there is much yard left. The only place kids have space to play is in the front, not rear yard. That would be a deal killer for me. The other issue I see is what do you do if you have a teenager and a 3rd car. The homes that face George Mason and Washington Blvd will be forced to park on 14th or Evergreen as I don’t see enough room to park on the private street. I think Barrett is making a mistake in not building less homes on larger lots. Good luck w/ the sale.

  • John Fontain

    “The trees that were on this site were very low quality trees per Arlington County’s grading scale. A lot had just grown wild over the years,” said Taylor.”

    Imagine that. Trees growing wild without interference from man. Like they do in a forest. Oh, the terror!

    I have no problem with them clear cutting the trees. It’s their property and if they want to develop it to the max, that’s their right. But don’t blow smoke and say it’s because the trees were low quality or “growing wild.” Those trees were much better than the saplings that they’ll be replaced with. No consulting arborist will ever say (with a straight face) that a few saplings are better than “wild”, naturally growing trees with a maturity of over 50 years.

    I understand that from a practical standpoint, it’s very difficult to try to work around existing trees while maximizing development potential (i.e., $$$). But just say it instead of trying to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes.

    • Vincent Verweij

      It’s a little bit of a misnomer to use Arlington County’s grading scale here, considering they did not calculate their actual value. The forest was much more valuable, environmentally, than what is coming in. Not to mention the loss of good soil. One man’s low quality tree is another animal’s habitat.

      • Disgusted

        **** “The trees that were on this site were very low quality trees per Arlington County’s grading scale. A lot had just grown wild over the years,” said Taylor. ****

        Horsefeathers. This profit-mongering company destroyed an old woodland containing many mature oaks and other native trees. The loss of trees and wildlife habitat is irreplaceable. The profiteers left a few isolated trees scattered around the lot. These may die when construction cuts their roots.

        The Arlngton County Urban Forestry Commission had a discussion about the impending loss of trees. The Commission considered these trees to have high value, especially because they were within a woodland.


        • Joking?

          I hope you’re joking. If not, please go move to a part of the country where people care about a tree.

          • drax

            Many people in Arlington care about trees. If you don’t, stay away from us.

  • CW

    The site plan looks like a girl scout cookie…nom nom nom…”Lacey Lanes” would be a good name for a girl scout cookie.

  • BBMS

    If I bought Lot 8, I would totally take over the little nub of land across the alley where the property line is. Fence, some sort of water feature with a little pool to soak my feet in, tomato plants, bird feeder, wind chimes.

    • squatter

      old lawn chairs and a charcoal grill.

  • DL

    Georgian huh? How original.

    This 1950s utopia the developer is referencing where “everybody knows and interacts with their neighbors” is a product of the socioeconomic climate of one working adult , a stay at home spouse gossiping across the white picket fence with the other stay at homes, and the post war baby boom where everyone’s kids are the same age.
    It has nothing to do with the layout of the driveways/garages and orientation of the private yards. Many homes in Arlington were built in the 40s and 50s with driveways right off the main roads.

    Assume about $6500 a month for a $1.4 mil pad – you wouldn’t want to over extend yourself and become house poor , so mortgage and tax is 30% of income – the household needs to pull about 275k a year.

    I anticipate the nannies and gardeners getting to know each other – the owners themselves – not so much.

    • R. Griffon

      Right. Because people with successful careers don’t want to talk to other people.

    • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

      Why do you assume they will have nannies and gardeners? A couple can make 275K and still enjoy doing their own yard work and raising their own children. I know thats a lot of money but come on, that comment sounds like you are vilifying the rich like Obama. Give it a rest, its not in bad taste to do well.

  • G Clifford Prout

    They’ll fill up their garages with [email protected] and park their cars on the street.

  • Hmmmm

    I just could never pay that price for living on one of the busiest interestions in Arlington. You could purchase a “tear down” in Country Club Hills for less and just update it a little!!

    The good news for them is that they will most likely be on the same grid as the hospital so their loss of electricity will never last long!

  • Hank

    “We’re not builders that come in and put this huge McMansion in a small neighborhood where it doesn’t fit. That’s not what we do.”
    Taylor Chamberlin is punk-f’ing-rock! The Barrett Companies shows it’s not afraid to live on the edge when it “give[s] back to the community” by constructing base priced $1.4 million homes linked by a private road. Viva la revolucion, mis hermanos!

    • speonjosh


  • drax

    Highlights from their website:

    Kitchen: Granite counters with tile backsplash
    Family Room: Gas fireplace, bar area with sink & under-counter refrigerator, Desk area/computer station, i-Pod/i-Phone dock to home wiring system

    First Floor Features: Away room, Dining room, Security system

    Upstairs: Owner’s bedroom with walk-in closets & spa bath, Gallery

    Lower Level: Recreation Room with gas fireplace, Guest bedroom, Full bath, Bonus room (video screening room, exercise studio, etc.)

    Detached Garage 2nd floor (lockable home office/hobby studio): Finished, ready for carpet or tile with package HVAC, Half bath

    Yeah, McMansion.

    • Ashton Heights

      so much envy. Sad really.

      • Mimi Stratton

        Give me a break. We’re still building way-too-big houses for our tiny families, paying way too much of our income on housing–and when this dichotomy is pointed out–you say it’s envy.

        • DL

          Agreed ^

    • Virginiana

      what’s an “away room”?

      • snarl

        “The term “away room” was coined by Susan Susanka and her team when they were designing the “Not So Big House.” It refers to a room attached to the main living area where you can go to be “away” — to have a private conversation, watch a movie, listen to music, play video games, etc. She came up with the idea because with the trend for open floor plans, the only place to have a private conversation was a bedroom!”

  • R

    Who can afford these $1.4M homes? My wife and I are both GS-15s and we sure can’t. Lobbyists and lawyers?

    • JohnB

      $1.4 million means:
      $280,000 down
      $1,120,000 @ 4.5% for 30 years = $5,675 payment
      $5,675 / 28% of gross monthly income = $20,267 per month = $243,204 per year
      Annual salary for GS 15 step 1 in Washington DC = $123,758 x 2 = $247,516

      Me thinks you have trouble with the maths.

      • R naught

        Methinks he’s having more trouble coming up with the $280k down. . .

        • JohnB

          Well, if he bought a $500,000 home 10 years ago using 5.5% FHA and a 3.5% down payment the balance on the loan balance would be right around $400,000 depending on if closing was in cash or rolled into the loan. Never the less, he would only need $180,000 in price appreciation over 10 years or a compound annual growth rate of 3.12% which would have been totally doable even with the crash. Point being, it is not out of the realm of possibility for a household with two GS-15 step one incomes to afford a $1.4 million dollar home in today’s interest rate environment.

          • R. Griffon

            You … I like you. It’s always refreshing to see people bring real numbers and logic to the discussion.

            In short, the downpayment makes it a very tall order if you’re young and haven’t been building equity or some other equivalent principle over the years. But if you have, it isn’t nearly as unobtainable as many around here seem to think. You have to be doing well, it’s true, but you don’t need to be independently wealthy.

      • DoTheMath

        Thanks JohnB was thinking that saved me the trouble of looking up jumbo rates. PLUS if you’ve previously owned a home for a while that 20% down payment gets a lot easier to make with the profit from your sale.

        Oh I miss the no doc, low/no down, interest-only loan days… Could’ve afford one of these easy.

        • R

          Yep, it’s the down payment that we can’t do. I could do the monthly payment you list there (though it would be a significant stretch over what we pay in rent now), but we were not fortunate enough to own a home in the DC area 10 years ago. Alas.

      • B sf

        Did u forget the real estate tax and insurance. That could be a substantial chunk of change!

      • Debt Ratio

        Shouldn’t taxes and insurance (PITI) be included in the 28%? Taxes would run close to $1K a month. And on the 36% upper ratio, factor in car & school loan debt, etc.

    • fuzzy

      Answer – quite a few people in this region. I guarantee those 9 houses will sell quickly. I just wish I could afford one of them.

      People here need to stop hating on people with money…if they have the means, let them buy what they want. These 9 homes will bring in lots of property tax dollars to the County and won’t add much to the local school population.

      • Sheriff Gonna Getcha


      • Debt Ratio

        I agree. The previous owner had the right to sell his/her property, the buyer has the right to build (and is doing so in a manner that doesn’t require him to get a variance), potential homeowners have the right to spend their money as they choose. To the extent that they want to become a part of the community, they should be welcomed. Quite frankly, I would rather have nice, large homes than these poorly maintained houses that are better suited for West Virginia.

  • JohnB

    I’d much rather these be built here than outside the beltway. At least they’ll be able to walk to the bus stop on washington and get to the Ballston metro for work. I hope they can only get 1 mil for them though…

  • R. Griffon

    The thing that gives me pause is the private road. I understand that they pretty much had to do it b/c the only other alternatives would be driveways dumping out directly onto Washington and Mason (no thank you!), but typically when a community has shared grounds there needs to be an HOA or similar structure in place to maintain those areas. And HOAs are, at least in my limited experience, pretty much antithetical to neighbors getting along well with one another and fostering a sense of community. Maybe I’m just jaded.

    • John Fontain

      This will most certainly have a HOA, given that the shared road is on private property (and it is very odd to have a design in which the neighbors will be driving through each others lots to access their own properties).

  • Charlotte

    How can they build a “subdivision” on that little plot of land?? The loss of those trees is a tragedy. For years I have enjoyed driving past the small bit of nature each day. To see that empty land and know that huge houses are going up there is just plain sad.

    • ILikeTreesToo

      It is a bummer the trees are lost. But would you have purchased the land for market value to leave the trees? Or if you owned the land would you have left it unused – and had to pay taxes?

    • debt raio

      The lot is over 1.5 acres. There is something like 44K square feet to an acre. With 66K square feet, it seems as if they could have put 11 houses there since a house can be built on a 6K sf lot.

  • JoeB

    Hopefully this wont be like their last community Potomac Crest. Talk about some box ugly houses with no characteristics. Wooded land would be better than having another copy of that mindless development.

  • Scarlet Knight

    According to Wikipedia … In American suburban communities, McMansion is a pejorative for a type of large, new luxury house which is judged to be incongruous for its neighborhood. Alternately, a McMansion can be a large, new house in a sub-division of similarly large houses, which all seem mass produced and lacking distinguishing characteristics, as well as at variance with the traditional local architecture.[1]

    • drax

      And that is a great definition.

      A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s an example from Arlington:


      • Hee-Haw

        That’s just a big house, not a mansion.

        • drax

          It’s a MCMansion. Which is not the same thing as a mansion. As the definition explains very clearly.

  • ME

    Its all about density…this Chamberlin guy, not sure if it was the dad or son, goes around bragging calling himself Dr. Density…

    • john

      both sons. yorktown family (at least some of them)

  • snarl

    how do you get into the garage for lot 3? across the grass?

    also, ive always thought a mcmansion was a huge a$$ house on a postage stamp sized lot regardless of dimensions.

    • BBMS

      Yeah I noticed that too. Lot 3 is special, they get their own curb cut. The green driveway is just artistic license, or lazy graphics.

  • flyover_country

    The definition of McMansion is subjective. However, IMHO it has a lot more to do with the ratio of the building’s square feet to lot size as compared to the rest of the neighborhood, than it does to the # of bedrooms and bathrooms. So, while double or triple the square feet of the average house build in America may qualify for a “mansion”, a McMansion is that same house on a postage size lot. Maybe put another way, 8000 sq ft on 5 acres “may” have some sense of per portion or scale, 8000 sq ft on an acre or less is a McMansion. The original county comprehensive plan calls for the highest density near the metro stations, tapering down in height and density to townhouses, then further out again to the lowest height and density single family neighborhoods. The more developers are able to cut down all the trees and cram maximum density into the single family neighborhoods, the more they lose their character and the distinction in density with the townhouses closer to the concrete canyons of the Ballston – Rosslyn corridor.

  • flyover_country

    You can even have McMansions in Great Falls:


  • barticus

    Hmm.. I wonder how much they’ll enjoy having ambulance sirens wailing at all hours outside their McMansion — er, I mean reasonably sized home. One thing they can’t buy is distance from main routes to Arlington Hospital — make that Virginia Hospital Center. I also imagine street parking on 14th Street for hospital patrons will be greatly lessened.

    • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

      most ambulances come will go down Glebe then onto 16th street. Also- I think there are quiet zone rules over there as well. Plus VHC is not a trauma-center, so there is less ER-type stuff than you might imagine.

  • Read the fine print

    “Detached Garage 2nd floor (lockable home office/hobby studio): Finished, ready for carpet or tile with package HVAC, Half bath”

    Sounds like an illegal accessory dwelling unit to generate income and offset the mega mortgage payment.

    • R. Griffon

      And who exactly rents a unit with a HALF BATH and no kitchen?

      BTW, the county does have a very clearly defined permitting process for such dwellings. They don’t have to be illegal.

      • McHater

        Thanks for the reply to my post way above. But why would building with brick erode their profit? It didn’t in the ’30s through the ’80s. What happened? Did brick go up in cost? (I have seen a few all-brick McMansions–on Lorcom Lane in 22207. I bet theyr’e about $2.5 million each.)

  • The Heart of Lyon Village

    Thank goodness, I will have somewhere nearby to stash the help. It is getting quite difficult to find affordable housing for the help, especially when I need them at my beck and call 24/7.

  • flyover_country

    The epilogue to “Versailles on the Potomac”:


    Developers often opine that restrictive covenants are no longer enforceable. Perhaps the outcome here would suggest otherwise –

    “….The property’s owner decided not to continue work on “Le Chateau de Lumiere,” a 25,424-square-foot project, after a next-door neighbor in Hidden Springs filed a lawsuit, said Mike Mafi of the Building Group.

    Mafi, who was also named in the lawsuit, said that stopping the project is one of the terms of a settlement being worked out between the owner, Young Yi, and the neighbors, former Gannett chief executive Craig Dubow and his wife, Denise.

    The Dubows, who did not return a call for comment on Friday, said that the mansion would harm home values and that its design violated covenants that guide how properties in Hidden Springs can be developed. They were also upset that Yi had cut down many trees to build the home in a neighborhood that was designed to be a woodsy retreat….”

    • Mimi Stratton

      Good god. 25,424-square-foot. Insanity. Very appropriate this story is in the “Crime” section of the Post.

    • R. Griffon

      Fairfax County officials have said the project had the proper permits to proceed.

      It may sound insane to us, but if they had permits I don’t understand how anyone could stop them from building. To my understanding VA is a “by right” state, which means that if you own the land and what you’re proposing to build fits within current code and zoning guidelines, you’re free to go build it … “by right” of your ownership of the land.

      The fact that it may seem garish shouldn’t preclude them from exercising their rights.

  • flyover_country

    The reason I posted is that “law” is broader than the Government’s planning, zoning and code enforcement. There are a number of legal options available to adjacent landowners, depending on the situation, only one of which is restrictive covenants put in place by previous owners or developers. Some can have been thrown out over the years by the courts – this land shall not be sold to members of this race; others such as setback, ability to subdivide, uses (no commercial use for example), no tree removal to improve views (often along water), approval of new building by architectural committee, just to name a few are still very much enforceable. The difference being that the County/City enforces violations of code, planning or zoning. Violations of restrictive covenants are enforced by other adjacent landowners that are bond by the same covenants in civil court. Depends on how much it bothers you whether you are willing to spend the money to go into court and try to enforce them. The folks in Great Falls appear to have done just that and won.

  • Zanne

    As a longtime Lacy Woods neighborhood resident I just think an opportunity was missed here. It takes a lot of time and effort to aggregate this much land in the county. It is definitely now the developers property to dispose of as they see fit…this is VA after all; but they had the chance to innovate here and blew it. It shows a lack of vision and creativity. This is classic get the most cash out of the site as they think they can…as is their right. With a zoning varience, this might have been zero lot lines or a cottage cohousing concept built over a communal garage. Not every family in Arlington is 2 working adults and 2.5 children.

    • debt ratio

      Who is “they” who had a chance to innovate? Did you really think that anyone would buy the property for community’s enjoyment? Seriously?

      Now, the new houses going in on the other side of the street are horrific.

  • flyover_country

    Could be worse I guess, off Allan Rd in Washington DC:

  • jen22205

    Does anyone know how much the land was purchased for?


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