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Blog :: 08-2013

Golf Course Island Cluster

golf course island cluster

Louis Sauer at the Golf Course Island townhouses with 2 real estate agents. Photo courtesy of Yvonne Thompson via Flickr.

Golf Course Island Cluster is one of those rare neighborhoods that has it all: large, spacious townhomes; a combination of beautiful common areas and private space; walking distance to the new Reston Metro station, Town Center, and Lake Anne; and access to RA pools, paths, and recreation areas.

In 1967, Architectural Record Magazine chose this neighborhood of 188 town homes as Houses of the Year. And for good reason. Award winning architect Louis E. Sauer FAIA chose every nuance of the form and function with care. He felt row houses had a place in contemporary architecture, and Golf Course Island became his proof.

Sauer once said: "Now more than ever we need to get back to function: to find ways of fitting the largest number of dwellings into a given space, without sacrificing aesthetics and livability...Only then, out of functions, does architecture, a form, come out..."

He also said the two main problems with townhouses was that they lacked privacy and individuality. He felt careful interior planning and proper use of space, with the ability to individualize the exteriors, solved those problems.  Golf Course Island was the epitome of this vision.

These spacious town homes seem almost small when viewed from the outside. Inside, they are spacious, with every inch of interior space working in harmony. The 3 and 4-bedroom homes have parquet & hardwood floors through out, large windows, and an open flow design. And closet space. So much closet space!

There are several different designs in this 188 home community, ranging from 2 to 3 levels and 3 to 4 bedrooms. Much of the cluster backs Hidden Creek Country Club's golf course, and the main living areas open to the common areas and green space. The effect is a private and tranquil environment that does not feel like a town home.

There is also carport parking, and the cluster is in walking distance to the new Reston Metro, Reston Town Center, and Lake Anne Plaza.

Staging Tips for Sellers: Painting

staging tips for sellers The number 1 staging tips for sellers: paint your walls! Image courtesy of Dan / 

The number 1 staging tips for sellers: paint your walls! Image courtesy of Dan / 

Welcome to my series on staging tips for sellers, a place where I talk about the little things you can do to make your house sell. Today the subject is painting.

I can't tell you the number of times I've taken an enthusiastic buyer into what I know is the perfect home for them, only to have them walk away because the color of the walls didn't appeal to them. You think I'm joking? Absolutely not.

People react to a potential home on a very emotional level. The first impression matters. And if that first impression is unappealing to them, they really won't look carefully at the rest of the house.

Staging Tips for Sellers: Painting your walls

Painting your home to ready it for sale is one of the easiest home improvements you can make, and it will help you sell your house. You may think the purple walls in your living room are pretty, but chances are that unless a buyer loves that exact color, it will turn them off. And the black wall in your bedroom. Um, no.

What colors do buyers like? Typically neutral colors sell. People can imagine their furniture in a house that has pretty, but neutral walls. Does that mean stark white or boring beige? Not at all.

  • Go with Earth tones (the browns, greens, blues, oranges, reds and tans that you would find in nature), which are warm, inviting colors. They'll make the buyer feel comfortable and welcome.
  • Creams and neutral yellows photograph beautifully. More importantly, a buyer can easily visualize their furniture in the rooms--those colors match just about everything. A light blue in the bedroom will help the buyer envision complete relaxation and a stress-free oasis.
  • Coffee colors are especially nice against hardwood floors. Oranges and reds are great colors for the kitchen because they stimulate the appetite and will make the buyer imagine eating in the house, as long as the hues are soft and appealing and not in your face.

Is a splash of bright color okay anywhere? Absolutely. Bathrooms are a great place to add some brightness. They're small enough so the thought of repainting doesn't scare a buyer off, but the color adds personality.

When in doubt, consult with your realtor--we assess homes every day and can help you find the right colors that will make your house shine... and sell.

What is the worst color you've ever seen in a house?

Coleson Cluster, Reston Virginia

Coleson Cluster

Coleson Cluster in the historic Lake Anne area is one of the original Reston neighborhoods.

One of the joys of walking the paths of Reston is discovering the charming neighborhoods tucked away off the main streets. Coleson Cluster is one such gem.

Coleson Cluster was the third neighborhood built back in the mid-1960s, designed jointly by Reston founder Bob Simon and nationally recognized modernist architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith (who also designed Waterview Cluster, as well as many notable commercial and residential buildings in the DC area). Set off from main streets and nestled amid towering oaks, the cluster embodies the small-town, European vision Simon had in mind when envisioned Reston.

With 45 units, the cluster is designed with large front patios that extend to the public walkways. And each grouping of townhouses shares a carport. Both promote neighborly interaction, something that the residents love about their cluster.

The townhouses are easily identified as a Woodard Smith design with her signature floor-to-ceiling windows on each level of every house, at least one set of sliding glass doors, brick exteriors, and flat roofs. Walking through this cluster feels like walking down a street in Italy.

For those who love to walk, Coleson Cluster is a quick walk to both Lake Anne Village Center and the Reston Town Center. And with easy access to the Toll Road and Fairfax County Parkway, and just a few miles from the new Metro, getting where you need to go is convenient.

Click here to learn more about living in the historic Lake Anne area of Reston.

3 simple ways to save a little green

save a little green Programmable thermostats save a little green each time you use them. Image courtesy of Panpote /

Programmable thermostats save a little green each time you use them. Image courtesy of Panpote /

How can you save a little green, and be very green at the same time? With these 3 home green home improvements that actually pay off. They're cheap and easy, and worth doing now!

1. Get a programmable thermostat

This is probably one of the best things you can do to conserve energy. Programmable thermostats let you program a series of time when your heating/cooling systems kick in and kick off. For a low investment of about $60, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on heating and cooling your house. And they're pretty easy to install yourself, so it's one change you can make this weekend.

2. Get an ultra-low flush toilet

Here in Northern Virginia, our water bills can run pretty high. An ultra-low flush toilet will help you conserve precious water and keep your water bill down. How? Simple. These toilets use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush, as opposed to 3.5 gallons standard toilets use. It doesn't take too many trips to the bathroom to save a lot of water! You can find them for as low as $350, and if you know plumbing at all, you can install it yourself.

3. Upgrade your insulation

Upgrading insulation is right up there with getting a new roof in terms of fun home renovation projects. But it's one that will pay off in just a couple of years. New insulation not only helps lower your energy bills, it provides better sound control and better indoor air quality (as new insulations are mold resistant). It will run you about $1,500, but it will be worth it as you keep more cool air inside during the summer and outside during the winter!

What are some other things you've done to save a little green?


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Waterfront like along a lake