The Village Lifestyle – An Evolutionary Tale
The Village Lifestyle – An Evolutionary Tale
No study of Chateau Elan would be complete without examination of the evolution in housing trends and the emergence of the “Village” lifestyle over previous decades. I began selling homes in the mid 1990’s, times were simpler then. Most homes in large neighborhoods were built around some basic principles. We all needed a formal dining room, formal living room, the garage had to be next to the kitchen, etc…. I’ve often told people since, “if you stripped out the dimensions and just looked at different floor-plans side by side, you’d notice many similarities in houses across a broad price range.” Square footage, number of garages, amount of brick on the exterior and trim levels were how builders separated themselves from one another. That is how they created different value levels. Then came the Tsunami known as “The aging of the Baby Boomers”. As this massive wave of “empty nesters” began to re-organize their lives for their retirement years, the desires and demands of the housing market were forced to evolve. Chateau Elan displays these evolutionary trends across 3 different sections. You will see these trends in the Village, Creekside, and Oxley.
When the sudden change in housing needs began, more buyers wanted the owner’s suite on the main floor, less square footage, fewer bedrooms, etc…. No longer important were formal living rooms and 5-6 bedrooms in a house. Empty nesters had to search long and hard to find the elusive “ranch” house with all living on the main floor. Times were good for builders in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, so evolution came slowly. But the astute developers and builders spotted the trend and made changes. Although risky for the pioneers of this trend, as the rules of the road were not easy to identify, rewards were great for those who got it right. “Smaller but nicer” took on a whole different meaning for everyone as the movement to “Downsize” swept through the housing market. The biggest risk involved was eliminating unwanted square footage from the homes, but the “cost per square foot” rose. Builders still needed gourmet kitchens, more hardwood floors and exciting master bathrooms. Higher levels of finish were in demand, as the empty nester no longer had the expense of children to bear and they had more discretionary income to spend on luxury at home. The increase in cost per square foot brought appraisal issues and marketing questions, yet the demands of the market emerged victorious. Thanks to customer demand, a new housing trend was born.
The Village Lifestyle offers a low maintenance, high quality lifestyle. Typically, yard work is eliminated from the demands of everyday life, giving owners the opportunity to spend more time traveling or with family. Surrounding amenities offer social interaction and activities for the kids and grandkids. Bonding time has become more important to owners, and a true sense of community develops within the “Village” setting. While different levels of finish provide separation in pricing, empty nesters continue to seek out this new alternative in housing and lifestyle.
At Chateau Elan, the movement started in “The Village” with front porch living being a strong focus in the architectural styling. I refer to it as an “Early 1900’s picture of Americana,” as you drive the tree lined streets and feel the friendly nature of the architecture. With an almost exclusive “Master on the Main” floor-plan, the target owner is an empty nester, though the neighborhoods are not age restricted. “Oxley Village” soon followed suit and we began to see more of a European flare in the architecture. Oxley Village began during the “age of excess” as I refer to it(2004 – 2007), so it is typical to see higher levels of finish and larger floor-plans. As both Oxley and The Village began to fill up, “Creekside Village” came into existence. It offered more of a Craftsman feel to the architectural palate. Creekside offers slightly larger homesites and more of a varied floor-plan mix. Younger buyers have begun to adopt the same principles of an easier lifestyle, allowing more family time and less time spent maintaining around the house.
At Chateau Elan, new construction continues in Creekside Village and more development will follow! If you are interested in learning more about housing alternatives that come with “The Village Lifestyle”, please come by and see the sales staff at Chateau Elan! Homes are typically open for touring every weekend!!
-Tom Collins, Jr.