Retreat at McLean and Mehr Farm – Farmhouse Style Flexible Living
August 20, 2020
This community in McLean, Va. offer single-family luxury living, innovative home features, and a distinct design
Luxury homebuilding has been known to offer a level of quality unmet by most production homebuilders in the industry. These homes are typically designed with extravagant features and elevated elements that rival lavish commercial properties. But what if a homebuyer desires the innovative home features of luxury building with the family-friendly farmhouse style? Retreat at McLean and Mehr Farm is the answer.
The community started when Toll Brothers, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., acquired two sites less than a mile from each other in the prestigious McLean, Va. Mehr Farm, a well-loved, family-run flower farm that became available following the passing of the farm’s co-founder in 2013, and a Dominican Retreat House and grounds—an event and conference center—that closed in 2015. Toll Brothers re-zoned these sites to create special new home communities that would resonate with the modern buyer, resulting in plans for 21 homes at the Retreat at McLean site and 10 homes at the Mehr Farm site.
“We held focus groups on the submarket and price point and people overwhelmingly wanted ‘new,’’ said Karl Mistry, regional president, Toll Brothers. “The teardown builders don’t have the ability to create ‘community’ and we were fortunate enough to be able to combine a small neighborhood feel with updated floor plans featuring more modern and contemporary options, elevations, multi-generational suites, and more.”
With development starting in 2018, Southern California-based KTGY Architecture + Planning was tasked to create a unique design. Working with Toll Brothers, KTGY surveyed local custom homes and looked to nationwide trends. Favoring the increasingly popular rustic farmhouse style, KTGY created homes with open floor plans that focus on indoor and outdoor connectivity. The resulting communities are unlike any other in the affluent, traditional market. Smita Anand, principal at KTGY, describes the distinct design direction as “cultivated style meets modern design aesthetic.”
The new single-family home developments are located in one of the most historic and noteworthy suburbs, at a place where existing homes can date back as far as the late 1800s. “A new development site is truly rare,” Anand said. “Most of the architecture of these grand, old homes, situated on large lots, is usually traditional brick with a smattering of newer mid-century styles that have been added over the years.”
With three designs ranging from 4,300 to more than 9,000 square feet of living space and four to seven bedrooms, a wide range of personalized selections allows each homeowner to tailor their home to fit their unique lifestyle. “The new construction stands out to buyers who do not want to have to rebuild or renovate,” says Anand. “It appeals to the modern sensibility that is shared by retiring boomers and successful, older millennials who are both attracted to the same clean, fresh lines that typically offer more volume of living space than older homes.”
The farmhouse style is highlighted by the use of masonry and lap siding, while clean lines and metal accents add an urban touch.
During the design process, KTGY was challenged with a height limitation of 35 feet, combined with 10-foot ceiling heights on multiple levels, and with the farmhouse style calling for pitched roofs, this meant that KTGY had to be ever vigilant to fulfill the design intent within these parameters. “To create open living spaces, KTGY specified products that would adapt to the four seasons in Virginia and designed covered outdoor spaces that would work for a large, open-living floor plan despite a wide range of weather conditions,” explains Anand. The farmhouse style is highlighted by the use of masonry and lap siding, while clean lines and metal accents add an urban touch.
Priced from $1.8 million to more than $3 million, the potential buyers are move-down wealthy baby boomers, or the high-tech or business professional with a young family, according to Anand. The large homes provide open floor plans and indoor/ outdoor living that may not be found in the older homes of the neighborhood. These homes are up to date with electric car charging ports, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting and smart home technology. “They bring fresh colors and honest material selections that both modernize and fit in with a historic, luxury neighborhood,” explains Anand. “Contrasting dark wood and bronze metals with light paint colors and light bricks create an updated look that will stand the test of time.”
Inside, the design celebrates the relationship between the spaces within and the nature they are nestled in. Guests are ushered from into the foyer by way of the covered front porch. Large windows create visual connections, while the awning and warm flooring materials set the tone for indoor living. Folding doors open the formal dining room to a front patio and seating area, bringing the outdoors in. The curved, floating spiral staircase is highlighted by double-height windows that carry daylight from the entertaining spaces to the upper floors and the basement below. Glass pocket doors tuck neatly into the wall, serving to connect the indoor and outdoor living rooms. The breakfast nook opens to the outdoor room creating a second outdoor connection at the rear of the home. And a spacious, semi-private deck and outdoor retreat are found off the master suite. Homes can also be customized with features including elevators, covered outdoor spaces, large kitchens, wine cellars and chef’s kitchens.
Prices of the homes range from $1.8 million to $3 million, with target buyers typically move-down baby boomers, along with high- tech or business professionals with young families.
With 15 homes currently sold and ongoing construction, the Retreat at McLean & Mehr Farm redefines luxury living. The high-end finishes, personalized options and impeccable interior features combined with the approachable farmhouse style provide homeowners with the ease of living inside and out.