Smaller and smarter homes have big appeal

With technology, efficient use of space, The Gables at Elm Tree by Alden Homes aims to become the new normal in Lancaster County

When Bill Martin and Liz Borg designed The Gables at Elm Tree, a new community by Alden Homes in Mount Joy, they had the lifestyle and desires of millennials in mind.
But it should really come as no surprise that their simple designs, efficient use of space and smart technology appeal to a much broader home-buying audience.
In its recent grand opening weekend, the model home for this neighborhood of modern cottage-style homes just off Route 283 drew interest from all ages.
“Our demographic is bigger than we thought it was,” says Martin, architectural designer and new homes consultant for Alden Homes.
Martin and Borg, interior designer and director of sales, wanted to bring something different to Lancaster County, and they’ve succeeded with The Gables at Elm Tree, a carefully planned community of single-family and villa-style homes.
Available in four floor plans and nine different elevations, the homes are designed to make the best and most creative use of space. They range in size from 1,300 to 1,900 square feet.
“It doesn’t really matter what the (square footage) number is, because it lives so perfectly,” Borg says of the model home, a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath Montgomery. “There’s not an inch of wasted space.”
The sleek, modern, space-saving design pervades the Montgomery, from its floating bathroom vanities and the built-in desk tucked in an eave next to the staircase to the dog crate built into the mudroom and the built-in drying rod and hampers in the second-floor laundry closet.
The home also allows for expansion, with an unfinished third floor perfect for storage now or additional living space later.
An open floor plan on the first floor offers a seamless transition between kitchen, dining area and family room, where a built-in wall of shelves and cabinetry flanks a cozy gas fireplace.
A flex room off the family room is perfect for use as anything from an office to play area. And with double sliding barn doors, the room can easily switch from private to part of the gathering space.
The European-style kitchen features Signature Custom Cabinetry with sleek, simple lines, chrome drawer and cabinet pulls, an island with 3-inch laminate top and a walk-in pantry. It also showcases an Adorne under-the-cabinet kitchen lighting system that eliminates receptacles in the backsplash and includes ports for an iPad and speakers that work with your smartphone.
The second floor has three bedrooms, including a master suite with walk-in closet and private bath.
The second floor also includes additional storage space, since the Montgomery, like all floor plans in The Gables at Elm Tree, does not include a basement. A basement can be added at a buyer’s request, Martin says.
Many other impressive features do come standard in this community, including hardwood flooring and 9-foot ceilings on the first floor, a tile backsplash in the kitchen that extends to the ceiling, and an 8-foot deep front porch with a composite floor, because, as Martin notes, no one ever raves about the warmth of concrete.
What truly sets The Gables at Elm Tree apart, however, are the technological features that come standard in every home.
Each home will include a package of wireless remote features by Lutron Electronics.
Buyers will be able to choose a certain number of functions to control remotely, such as turning on lights, a gas fireplace or air conditioning, unlocking a door or having a fan turn on automatically when you enter the bathroom.
With the technology already in place, Martin notes, adding additional functions in the future will be relatively inexpensive.
Also standard in all homes are USB outlets in every bedroom.
When complete, The Gables at Elm Tree will have a total of 116 homes — both singles and duplex-style villas that will feature adjoining one-story and two-story homes for unique visual appeal.
Single-family homes range in price from $228,900 to $265,900; villas are priced at $223,900 to 260,000. Alden Homes is offering a $5,000 buyer incentive for the first of each model sold.
To preserve the carefully designed streetscape of the community, buyers will have limited options in terms of home exteriors, but they can design an interior that fits their personal style, Borg says.
“Our goal as designers is to make the process as easy as possible,” she says, noting that buyers will be able to make a one-stop shop at the Alden Homes design center in Cornwall to choose everything from flooring to plumbing fixtures to cabinetry.
The Gables at Elm Tree is located in the Manheim Central School District. The model home is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., or by appointment by calling 376-1199.
Directions from Lancaster: From Route 283, take the Mount Joy exit and turn onto Route 772 West. Turn left on Strickler Road, right on Cornerstone Drive, then right on Willow Creek Drive. The model home is on the right.