Month: April 2015

One Loudoun’s Role in a Greener Loudoun County

Here at One Loudoun, we couldn’t be happier to be located in vibrant Loudoun County. As the premier mixed-use development in the area, we’re keenly aware of our responsibility to help make Loudoun County the very best it can be. Our responsibility includes helping to make Loudoun County a greener space – benefitting both the environment and the local residents – and we’re committed to contributing to a sustainable local environment.

One Loudoun plays a strong role in a greener Loudoun County, and the following are the initiatives we’ve taken to promote a more sustainable area:

Conservation

Various aspects of One Loudoun incorporate a strong emphasis on conservation. One such aspect is our beautiful Central Park area, which totals over 100 acres and is designated as a tree save area. The overall development of the community incorporates conservation with a focus on smart growth designation and mixed-use buildings in our downtown area. Other efforts toward conservation in One Loudoun include water conservation in our buildings and a multi-purpose plaza in our downtown area.

Materials

Materials used in One Loudoun’s Central Park, downtown area and buildings all help to make the area greener. For example, trails in Central Park are made from recycled materials, and we have pervious paving and pervious turf grass in the downtown area. Buildings are made from low-emitting materials, and include green roofs.

Landscaping

The landscaping we’ve implemented in One Loudoun is an integral aspect to what makes our mixed-use community so eco-friendly! In Central Park and our downtown areas, we’ve incorporated indigenous plant materials and developed the area by making use of existing materials. Our downtown area also features a water cistern for irrigation purposes, and runoff from the roofs of our buildings lead to this cistern.

Transportation

As a mixed-use community, One Loudoun has a commitment to implementing transportation options that have a low impact on the environment. To that end, we’ve developed our community to be multi-modal, meaning that it can be easily accessed and enjoyed by bike, walking, bus or car. Our pedestrian-friendly downtown area features interconnected networks of trails and sidewalks, and also features designated parking for fuel efficient vehicles as well as electric car charging spaces.

Energy

Energy use is another important aspect of the eco-friendliness of an area, and at One Loudoun, we’ve taken various measures to use energy efficiently. LEED-certified buildings, wind and solar light fixtures and energy efficient building systems are all part of our efforts to be an energy-conscious community, benefitting a greener Loudoun County overall.

Benefits of Living in a “Walkable” Community

There are many benefits to living in One Loudoun such as all the local restaurants and entertainment, the central park, community rec center and pool and so much more. But perhaps one of the biggest benefits is the fact that it is a walkable community.

Everything you need is just a stroll away. So instead of spending half your life shuttling around in your car you can get out and enjoy the beautiful Ashburn, VA spring weather on foot. Aside from just the pleasure of an afternoon stroll, there are many other benefits to living in a new walkable community.

Health

Walking does wonders for your overall health preventing things like weight gain, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. A study done by the research organization Sightline states that walking 30 minutes a day can add up to a year and a half to your life on average. It also showed that people who live in a walkable community are 2.4 times more likely to walk 30 minutes a day than those who do not.

Less car time can have a dramatic impact on your air quality. A study by The Science of the Total Environment shows that the air you breath while in your car is likely the worst air you’ll breathe in an entire day.

Sense of Community

Another study done by the SPDRC showed that people in walkable communities have greater sense of community, pride of ownership and a feeling of camaraderie with their neighbors. This connection and social support leads to higher levels of happiness.

Safety

Walkable communities have been shown to be safer. A high amount of community members outside means more witnesses, making the location a less appealing target for crime.

Another aspect of safety comes from the design of walkable communities. There are more accessible walking areas and crosswalks, which decreases the likelihood of pedestrians being struck by cars.

Financial

When you live in a community where you can walk to everything you need, you do a lot less driving. Not only does this save on gas money, but it also saves on the mileage and wear and tear of your vehicle.

In addition, residential property values tend to be higher in walkable communities making them a great place to invest in a home.

Environmental

If you’re concerned about the environment then living in this type of community is a great choice. The reduced traffic, gas use, noise and air pollution can have a significant impact on the environment.

SOURCES: sightline.org, sdprc.net

Why One Loudoun? 

With the development of mixed-use communities on the rise nationwide, it can be easy for these communities to start to all look the same. But if you’ve ever visited One Loudoun, you know that it’s just not possible for our Loudoun County community to blend in with the crowd. There are a lot of factors that make One Loudoun distinctive, and a variety of reasons why residents have chosen our community as their home. The following are just a few of the reasons why so many residents just can’t imagine living anywhere other than One Loudoun:

· Entertainment galore: Living in One Loudoun means having every opportunity for fun and excitement, right in your community! One Loudoun is called Loudoun’s new downtown for good reason – with an exciting assortment of entertainment and recreation options, there’s plenty of fun to be had by all ages. Whether you’re stopping by the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for dinner and a movie, hanging out in our very own Central Park, organizing a pick-up soccer game on our outdoor fields or watching a concert with the kids at the barn amphitheater, there’s never a shortage of fun at One Loudoun.

· Shop and dine: Hungry? Thirsty? In the mood for some shopping? One Loudoun has got you covered. We’re proud to offer a delectable variety of restaurants as well as a collection of convenient retail destinations, with more to come!

· New homes: Our beautiful newly built homes from Camberley Homes and Miller & Smith allow residents to enjoy all the best of Loudoun County in style and luxury. Just ask our residents – there’s simply nothing around quite like the homes in One Loudoun!

· Walkability: The only thing better than exciting entertainment options, excellent shops and restaurants, and beautiful newly built homes is having all of these assets within walking distance of each other. One Loudoun exemplifies what it means to have a mixed-use, new urbanism community, providing benefits to residents, businesses and the local area. Walkable communities continue to grow in popularity across the country, and for good reason – with just one visit to One Loudoun, it’s clear how beneficial and efficient walkability is for residents in our mixed-use community.

· Location: Being located in Loudoun County means being a part of one of the fastest growingmost affluent counties in the nation. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of the Loudoun County community, and at One Loudoun, we’re looking forward to the future as more residents realize what it means to live in this incredible area.

If you ask One Loudoun residents why they love our walkable community so much, you’re likely to receive a variety of positive answers! There’s a reason we’ve become the premier mixed-use development in Loudoun County, and why our residents are proud to say that they’re home at Loudoun’s new downtown.

The Living Room is Dead

A great article by Katherine Salant featuring the beautiful Greenwich model by Miller and Smith at One Loudoun:

“Does a furnished model home live up to its promise?

In most cases you have to buy the house and move in to find out. But sometimes, you can try it out without having to sign on the dotted line. Late last year, I had just such an opportunity. I stayed with my family in Miller and Smith’s $624,990, 2,700-square-foot Greenwich model at the developer’s Downtown Collection in One Loudoun, a new-home community in Loudoun County.

hat did I learn?

As more seating options are introduced into a kitchen/dining area, there’s less need for a separate living room or family room sitting area, especially in smaller, move-down empty-nester households. And always ask a sales agent about whether a floor plan has unusual features that are not installed in the builder’s furnished model.

The feature that led me to stay in this house was unexpected. Outside, the Greenwich looks like a conventional new house in the Washington suburbs. It’s one in a row of long, narrow, two-story houses on long, narrow lots. The only unusual thing an astute observer might notice is the Chicago-inspired design of the exterior and the bigger basement windows on the front.

Once inside, the differences are immediately evident. In typical long, narrow houses, the spaces in the middle of the dwelling get no sun. But in this house, the kitchen/dining area in the center of the house is flooded with daylight from three huge windows and an unusually large pair of sliding glass doors that open onto an adjoining deck.

To give you an idea of why this space makes such a strong impression, nearly half of the walls with the big windows and sliding glass doors are glass. This is about twice as much glass as you would have if typically sized windows and sliding glass doors had been used, said Washington architect Randy Creaser of Creaser/O’Brien, who designed the house.

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Sean Kennedy and John Gaylor, who each own a Greenwich, said that when they experienced this kitchen/dining/great room space for the first time, they “fell in love with the house” on the spot.

I can see why.

With all the sunlight pouring in, the 15-by-18-foot L-shaped kitchen area felt right when I sat by myself at the island reading the morning paper over several cups of coffee. When the rest of my family eventually came down and joined me, the space was still a good fit and the island was a great spot where we could plan our visit to One Loudoun.

For the main event — a dinner party — we discovered that the unusually long 11-foot island is actually a practical size. It was big enough for three people to be working on the dinner (one guest was making a salad, one was fixing an appetizer and I was working on the main dish) and still have plenty of room for the other six diners to stand around it socializing, drinking wine and noshing on cheese and crackers. We could have had at least six or seven more people milling around this area.

The adjacent dining area was large enough to accommodate a table and eight chairs. The ninth diner at one end of the table sat on an optional built-in seat that is 10 feet long — enough for an adult to comfortably lean back on pillows, put his or her feet up, sip a glass of wine and chat about the events of the day with the person who is fixing dinner. The built-in seat can also be a cozy spot where one and even two middle-schoolers do homework while a meal is being prepared. And four-legged family members may also find it the perfect spot for watching all the household activities on the first floor.

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Because I entertain informally, I was not bothered that the mess of meal preparation was in full view of everyone at the table. The very idea can distress some people, but, as one of our dinner guests, Dale Henderson, discovered, the reality of this arrangement was less troubling than he anticipated. “I am skeptical of the dining room and kitchen all joined up in one space, but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would,” he said.

If I lived there, my household would likely spend most of our family time in the kitchen/dining area with its multiple sitting options and level of comfort — dining chairs, bar stools at the island counter or sprawled out on the built-in seat in the dining area. When we entertained dinner guests, we would be in this area as well.

The sitting area around the corner in the great room went unused during our stay, even when we were socializing. Had the cable TV been hooked up, we might have spent time there, but this did lead me to think that when enough seating options are included in a kitchen/dining area (most people would also want a sofa in such a space), a great room may become unnecessary just as a formal living room has for many homeowners.

The kitchen/dining area with the big windows is such a wonderful space I was astonished to learn after our stay that it was not the impetus for the design. The impetus was not the interior space at all; it was the large private outdoor space that adjoins the kitchen/dining area, Creaser said.

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It’s not surprising that I missed this central idea. It’s not in the furnished model where we stayed.

But in a typical Greenwich floor plan, the 15-by-24-foot outdoor space is sandwiched between houses that are only 10 feet apart. It’s a patio, not a deck, and because it’s protected from the wind, it can be used for nine months of the year. The patio also functions as a “sun trap” and brings light into the house, Creaser said.

This unusual concept was proposed by North America Sekisui House (NASH), Miller and Smith’s investment partner for One Loudoun. The NASH team saw a similarity between the site conditions of One Loudoun and those of their projects in Japan, where Sekisui House is based. To make their narrow houses in dense urban areas in Japan feel more comfortable with more daylight, the firm’s designers often add a side patio.

To get the unusually large patio that NASH wanted for a typical interior unit, Creaser carved an 8-by-24-foot area from the basic footprint of the house and combined this with the 10-foot area between the two houses. He was able to include the portion of this area that belonged to the house next door because the builder created an easement that legally allows it.

Accepting a space reduction inside to get a larger space outside is not a choice that most buyers of new houses would knowingly elect. But in this case, most prospective buyers will not notice the missing square footage because the big windows and outdoor patio make the interior area feel bigger.

To enhance the illusion of a larger interior space, the finish level of the patio is about eight inches below the adjacent interior space, as it is in the model. To accomplish this, Creaser had to raise the grade level under the patio by about five feet (from both the street and the rear alley you can see that the side yards slope upward).

A patio instead of a deck was another design input from the NASH partners. “They wanted this area to be connected to the earth and easily landscaped and you wouldn’t get the same effect with a deck,” Creaser said.

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By manipulating roof lines and overhangs, all the patios get direct sun in winter when the sun is low and shade in the summer when the sun is high, Creaser said.

How do the patio and surrounding interior spaces feel in a typical Greenwich with neighbors on both sides? Kennedy said that compared to the furnished model with the deck that overlooks a heavily used park, his self-contained patio area is a quieter and more contemplative space. His house faces east and he gets enough sun and reflected light from the gray siding of his neighbor’s house that he doesn’t need to turn on the lights until dusk.

The outdoor space is so private, Gaylor said, that “you don’t need to have drapes for the windows.”

As for the rest of the house, the plan is more flexible than even the builder could imagine. For example, the front room on the main floor in the model was furnished as an office and my husband immediately set up shop in it. The sales brochure suggests that it can also be used as a formal dining room. But Kennedy and his wife, Sandy, use this room in their home for reading and displaying a portion of the art they have collected over a lifetime. Gaylor and his wife use this space as a coffee room where they start their day.

On the second floor, an open loft space separates three bedrooms and two bathrooms from the master suite, a configuration that will suit a wide range of households, including families with young kids and a live-in au pair, families with older children and teenagers, step families with his and her kids, and families with returning adult children. Gaynor said that when his college-graduate daughter lived with them for a year, she used the loft area to socialize with her friends.

This arrangement will also suit households with grandparents who come to stay for several months every year. The visitors can stay in the bedroom with its own bath and be close to their grandchildren. Or, if they want more privacy, they can stay in a basement bedroom and cook their own food if the basement bar area is outfitted with small kitchen appliances.”

Katherine Salant has an architecture degree from Harvard. A native Washingtonian, she grew up in Fairfax County and lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. If you have questions or column ideas, she can be contacted at salanthousewatch@gmail.com or www.katherinesalant.com .

To read this article in its original format, click here.

Is Living in a Mixed-Use Community Right For You?

With all the buzz surrounding mixed-use communities and New Urbanist lifestyles, you might wonder to yourself, “is it right for me?”

If you’re not sure, try asking yourself these questions to find out!:

Do you enjoy sitting in traffic?

If you answered ‘Yes’, then a mixed-use community might not be for you.  In communities like One Loudoun, office space is cleverly built adjacent to homes.  This means employees who live and work in the community have a pleasantly short commute – they can even walk or bike – to work in the morning.

Does your family look forward to outdoor community events?

If you’d prefer to stay indoors on a beautiful day over heading to the downtown Plaza for live music and entertainment, then living in a community like One Loudoun might not be your cup of tea!  All throughout the year, we host a diverse line up of events, from the Tree Lighting in the winter to children’s concerts and block parties in the warmer months.

Is home design a top priority?

Those who invest in their new homes care about quality home design and innovative floor plans – and lucky for them, that’s exactly what they’ll find at One Loudoun. With stunning single-family homes by both Miller & Smith and Camberley Homes, homeowners can have it all in one home and community.

Do you like having an abundance of dining options just steps away?

Foodies rejoice! One Loudoun is home to a long, growing list of the latest eateries to hit Loudoun County.  Places like Elevation Burger, Bar Louie, and Family Meal are just a few of many hot restaurants in our community.

Do you want to do more to promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family?

Here at One Loudoun, our residents are encouraged to walk and stroll around the community, with miles of paved walkways making it all possible. These sidewalks guide the way to offices, shops, restaurants, Central Park and other community features. This promotes both a ‘greener’ lifestyle and a healthier one!

For countless families, living in a mixed-use community like One Loudoun just makes sense. Take a look at our new single-family homes by Miller & Smith and Camberley Homes, and read up on all we have going on at One Loudoun. You can make our community your new home in 2015!