Tina Zadrozny of The Orchards, a By Carrier community in East Lyme, is in the business of making wish lists come true.
“I always tell my buyers if you are thinking of something in your head and you think it's impossible or it can't be done, always say it. We want to give you what you want your way,” says Zadrozny, president of The Orchards of East Lyme Development, Inc.
At The Orchards, several floor plans are used as a starting point only – each customer essentially gets a “blank slate” when they design their home. “It's kind of like a puzzle,” Zadrozny says. “You go back and forth (with customers) and then land on a perfect plan.”
Unlike those house hunting shows where homebuyers find themselves whittling down their “must haves,” Zadrozny is helping homebuyers get them instead.
“Everyone has very different, very specific lifestyles and we want to build the house to meet those needs and requirements,” she says.
Case in point: Zadrozny is currently working with a family that wants five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, a layout typically found in a larger home, in a home that is less than 3,000 square feet.
“They don't want the home too large because they don't want all that space and they don't want the taxes,” she says. In another instance, homebuyers want a walk-in pantry in a 2,600-square-foot home. “You won't find a lot of those in 2,600-square-foot homes. But they will get exactly what they want.”
The solid construction underlying all the homes at The Orchards allows for this kind of customization. “There are a lot of steel beams in our houses so we don't have to worry about load bearing,” she says. “We can keep our houses open and our designs flexible.”
This also allows the houses at The Orchards to be different from one another. “We won't build two homes exactly the same,” says Zadrozny. “We don't want to be cookie-cutter; we want to be unique.”
This attention to detail and quality, along with the By Carrier name and the choice location with rolling hills and expansive views, some of Long Island Sound, is making for brisk business.
“This year has been fantastic,” Zadrozny says. “We have really moved along and are getting the word out that The Orchards are back for sale. People are coming.” She explains that By Carrier took over the subdivision two years ago from another builder who had constructed 45 homes. “There was a lot of cleaning up of material, extending roads, building the model home,” she says.
Seven homes have been built and sold and are currently occupied. Another 10 are under contract and under construction. By spring, construction will also be underway on the community’s 30-foot by 60-foot in-ground heated pool and bathhouse. The Orchards already boasts a clubhouse with an exercise room, a large living area with couches and a flat screen television, an office area with desks, and a full kitchen that can open up to include a bar. There is also a basketball court and tennis courts. The community includes many young families so “residents are really excited about the pool,” says Zadrozny.
The By Carrier family is also very hands-on when it comes to upkeep. At By Carrier communities, “It’s not uncommon for one of the Carrier family members to live on site, which means that all day, every day, we have quality control,” says Zadrozny.
By Carrier is a company headed by six brothers, all in the construction field, who blended their talents to establish exceptionally high standards. One of the By Carrier hallmarks is its industry leading five-year home warranty covering structural defects, roof leaks, basement leaks, electrical, plumbing and interior climate control. “It's a true warranty,” says Zadrozny. “There's no teeny, tiny fine print.”
By Carrier is also devoted to green building. “Our energy efficient equipment is second to none,” she says, explaining that By Carrier homes rate twice as efficient as a code-built home, based on the HERS Index, a rating process that compares the energy efficiency of a home to a reference home that complies with a minim set of efficiency standards.
Energy bills per month at The Orchards total about $215 for heat, hot water and electricity. Energy efficiency features include R-10 foam board insulation for interior walls in the basement, 98-percent efficient Carrier Infinity 2-Zone propane forced air heating, high efficiency 17-SEER Carrier Infinity central air conditioning, and a 98-percent efficient tankless hot water system.
While all of the homes are custom, there are some common amenities such as two-by-six exterior wall framing, a low-maintenance paver front porch or stoop, a paver front walkway, a paver patio on level lots and a deck on walk-out lots, granite countertops and tile backspashes in the kitchen, a center kitchen island or peninsula, genuine wood crafted cabinetry and more.
There is also red oak flooring throughout much of the first floor, tile floors in the bathroom and laundry areas, a finished two-car garage, and first- or second-floor washer-dryer hookups with tile, basin and drains.
And while many communities feature nine-foot ceilings on the first floor, The Orchards features this ceiling height on both floors, allowing for a spacious feel and oversized windows.
The company has a wide range of upgrades and options, including many types of tray and coffered ceilings. Upgrades at The Orchards are not “bundled” in packages so customers can purchase only those design features they really want. There are also allowances for appliances, lighting, countertops, and more.
With plentiful options, a location just minutes away from I-95, access to nearby beaches, fine dining and quaint shops, East Lyme is a great place to call home, Zadronzy says.
“My brother (Tony Carrier) lives here and he has three kids. When I'm visiting him, it makes me think of when people talk about the old days – when five or six kids would be playing in the backyard and then they would run over to a neighbor’s house and play in the neighbor’s backyard. It has that wonderful, neighborhood feel.”
A Phase II Grand Opening event will take place at The Orchards in East Lyme this weekend on Sept. 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring food, a raffle and incentives. For more information on the community or to arrange a showing contact Mark Murphy of By Carrier Real Estate at 860-334-8942.
Builder: By Carrier
Price: Starting in the mid-$400,000s
Style: Colonial, ranch, first-floor master suite
Rooms: 8 or more
Bedrooms: 3 or more
Baths: 2.5 or more
Square footage: 2,400 square feet and up
Acreage: .75 or more
Tax rate: 23.349 mills
Best feature: Custom design
Contact: Mark Murphy, By Carrier Real Estate LLC, 860-334-8942
Margaret DeMarino is a freelance writer based in New Haven.