Once when Nicholas Murano, sales manager of Farmington West Estates, was showing a prospective homebuyer around the sales model, he saw her daughter pass the woman a note. The woman read it and then handed it to Murano. "I think you have to see this," she said. The note read: "Mom, please buy this home."
It's easy to be captured by the ambiance of Farmington West Estates. The homes, ranging in size from 2,200 to 3,100-plus square feet, manage to be simultaneously spacious yet homey; elegant and at the same time comfortable. The balance is nicely struck by builder Stephen Realty & Development, Inc., noted for constructing premium homes since 1974, with attention to quality, value and architectural detail.
Exteriors are designed with quintessentially classic New England architecture: neat facades that range from brick fronts to clapboard-style, maintenance-free siding. All the homes boast Belgium block paver driveways.
The entrance to each home creates a refined first impression with a six-panel front door accented with brass hardware, sidelights and transom windows. It opens to an oversized foyer with gleaming tile floor and a convenient coat closet. Layouts of the eight available models are designed with a flow that allows for easy living, while a proliferation of windows creates luminous interior spaces.
In the great room, for instance, several oversized windows span three-quarters of the wall space. They stretch from floor to ceiling which is impressive given the nine-foot ceiling height. The warmth of the room is enhanced by hardwood floors and the glow of a gas-burning fireplace.
A spacious kitchen features granite countertops, a kitchen island, kitchen desk and workspace area in some models. Stainless steel appliances come standard. The modern kitchen designs also feature quality crafted cabinetry with oversized upper cabinets and crown molding.
All homes feature ample dining rooms. One model also offers a downstairs bedroom that is ideal for guests or visiting family, while another offers a main-floor study. All models feature a powder room on the first floor.
Hardwood floors are featured throughout the main level, and the foyer and powder room can be tiled at no additional cost. There is also an available upgrade to granite for those areas. An elegant stairway to the second floor features oak treads and a post-and-rail banister.
Master suites can feature one or two walk-in closets. Murano points out that the closet in the sales model – which boasts a window – could easily be converted to a nursery with space enough left for hanging clothes in the back.
Homes also feature a master bath with double vanities, a separate glass shower and six-foot soaking tub, a toilet area and a linen closet. The model home master bath includes a marble floor and bathtub surround upgrade that seems straight out of a spa.
"People come here (to the model home), see this bathroom and say, 'I want my bathroom to be just like this,'"Murano says. "These bathrooms can sell the house."
Most of the homes have four bedrooms, although there are some available with three. The Jack and Jill suite is a popular upgrade. Prospective homebuyers are also impressed with the upstairs washer and dryer area, which has an overflow pan with a drain to the basement.
There is carpeting on the second floor that creates a plush look. Additional interior touches on both floors include wide trim, six-panel doors and recessed lighting accents.
Depending on the design, the homes offer open first-floor plans that cater to contemporary family life or more traditional layouts that feature separate kitchen and living areas.
While there's much to see in terms of features at Farmington West Estates, it's what you don't see that is equally impressive: the quality of construction. The builder uses Douglas fir framing lumber for the roof, floors and walls. The 12-foot by 16-foot deck that comes standard is made of Trex material, known for being durable and maintenance-free.
The homes are energy efficient and boast upgraded insulation, windows and doors. In addition to R-38 insulation in the second-floor ceiling, the two-by-six exterior wall construction provides room for R-21 insulation in sidewalls. Basements feature eight-foot ceilings with R-19 insulation. There is also two-zone natural gas forced air heating with a high-efficiency furnace, as well as two-zone central air conditioning. The vinyl-clad, double-hung windows feature Low-E glass.
The Farmington West Estates community, now in Phase II, is planned for 158 homes (56 of which are currently sold) on a total of 55 acres. There is a common area with a pond stocked for fishing, as well as walking trails that start on the back of the property, part of the White Trail.
The $140 monthly common fee provides complete lawn maintenance, as well as snow and trash removal, Murano said. The lots are owned by the homeowners. Town services, including water and sewer, are provided by Farmington.
With homes starting at $429,995 (a $6,000 allowance for options is included in the base price), Farmington West Estates offers an affordable entry into the town that boasts such iconic institutions as Miss Porter's School and the Hill-Stead Museum, as well as lush woodlands and myriad lakes and ponds.
"Many of the people who come here have researched the school system first," Murano says, adding that they have selected Farmington "because of the schools."