When you walk into the model home at Tunxis Heights in Bloomfield, what you see in front of you makes a grand first impression – details such as sweeping archways, bamboo flooring and granite countertops.
You’ll also be impressed with what is above and below you – varying ceiling heights and styles along with a geothermal heating/cooling system that provides the ultimate in energy efficiency.
"Most of the time people just walk in the door and say, 'Oh my gosh!'"says David Brooke, a real estate agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty in Simsbury.
Typically, he says, builders and agents "are expecting to wow people with nine-foot ceilings. Here we have nine, 10 and 14. The goal is to be the non-cookie-cutter home; one where people can walk in and see the dynamic depths that come from differences in ceiling heights and from the attention to architectural construction."
This mission is accomplished with a variety of details ranging from a coffered ceiling upgrade in the study to a tray ceiling in the master bedroom. In the common rooms, various ceiling heights and lines flow into curved and rounded archways. This blend of spaces and shapes creates an intriguing juxtaposition that gives the home an open feel but endows it with cozy nooks and crannies.
"You can see right through (the common area rooms), which gives a transparency to the property, but the rooms that need to be private are private," Brooke says.
He added that the homes at Tunxis Heights are "on the cutting edge of what's popular in terms of design, open floor plans and architectural features."
The "green factor," too, is huge among today's homebuyers and Tunxis Heights offers the latest in green energy systems. One of its most sought-after options is a $30,000 geothermal system that allows homeowners to save 50 to 60 percent on heating and cooling costs.
"Residents have been extremely happy with the energy savings," says Brooke.
A geothermal system uses the earth to help heat and cool the home, taking advantage of the fact that the ground temperature remains a constant 55 degrees all year. Since the ground beneath is warmer than the outside air in the winter and cooler in the summer, inserting a series of tubes into the ground allows air transfer to help with heating and cooling.
In addition to this upgrade, the builder JR Beaudry also focuses on green construction, using everything from standard bamboo flooring to extra insulation."The 'zip system' is basically a type of construction. It works like a jacket – if it's zipped all the way up, I am going to stay warm," Brooke says. "Most construction is not zipped all the way up; we make sure our homes are."
Tunxis Heights, which was begun in 2008, has currently sold 22 of its 32 homes. Three more are currently under construction and seven are available for building. The builder will be ready to start another home within the next month. New homes at Tunxis Heights can be completed in just five months, according to Brooke.
There are ten available floor plans, all of which can be further customized. By far the most popular, Brooke said, is the Edinborough, which is shown in the model home.
Here, the common area is flanked by two wings. One features a study which is a popular attraction, Brook says. This wing also has a full bath and a guest room. The other wing features the master bedroom suite and an oversized laundry/mudroom.
Athough many of the homes share a similar floor plan, you would never know it from the outside.
"The individualization of every property is huge with us," says Brooke, who adds that the builder "goes out of the way to make sure every home looks different on the outside." This is accomplished by incorporating different roof lines, as well as various materials such as cultured stone, sealed or dry stack stone, stucco siding, and cedar shakes.
The homes at Tunxis Heights range from 2,100 to 2,500 square feet and incorporate a number of high-end features. Formal coat closets blend into the shadowboxing of the walls on either side of the glass-paneled front entrance way. Elegant double vanity bathrooms have both a soaking tub and a European walk-in shower, plus an area specially designed to "hide" the toilet upon entry.
The real "wow factor" in the Tunxis Heights model home (which most people opt for among the ten floor plans that can be customized) comes courtesy of the dining room design. It features triple crown molding edging the 14-foot ceilings, shadowboxing and palladium-style windows. The dining room is accessed via a graceful archway.
"The builder is very informed and active in going around the country to survey different styles from trade shows and builder expos," Brooke says.
Tunxis Heights is built into a hillside and many of the homes still remaining sport spectacular views of “the surrounding area that overlook the tobacco fields.”
While it's close to the highway and a short commute to either downtown Hartford or the trendy, destination dining and shopping West Hartford Blue Back Square, "at the same time it still feels like a retreat here," says Brooke about Tunxis Heights.
"We had one woman who came into the model home with her mom from a 3,500-square-foot home in Burlington. She immediately thought the space felt like home. They said they felt like it had that consistency of quality they were used to from living in a $650,000 home."
"They also loved working with the builder, who they said is very detail-oriented," notes Brooke. "It just looks like time is spent on everything. It's like when you put extra time into cooking and buy quality ingredients. It just tastes better."
Open houses are held every weekend at Tunxis Heights in Bloomfield from noon to 3 p.m. In April visitors can meet the builder. For more information contact David Brooke of Prudential Connecticut Realty at 860-670-8081.
Builder: JR Beaudry
Price: $399,500 to $500,000+
Style: Ranch, colonial
Bedrooms: 2 to 4
Baths: 2 to 4
Square footage: 2,100 to 2,500 square feet
Acreage: .5 to 1.12 acres
Tax rate: 35.45 mills
Best feature: Architectural details and green construction
Contact: David Brooke, Prudential Connecticut Realty, 860-670-8081, firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret DeMarino is a freelance writer based in New Haven.