The Gateway to Home

The 2014 Parade of Homes at LongCreek Plantation

By Melissa Andrews

Rolling hills, luscious greenery, beautiful wildlife, tennis, golf .… privacy. It may sound like a faraway resort, but for many Columbians, it’s called home. It’s LongCreek Plantation. And this year, a new development in LongCreek is the site of the 2014 Parade of Homes. LongCreek Plantation is a well-established area in Blythewood boasting gorgeous homes and an even more beautiful environment in which to live. Within LongCreek are many different communities that offer varying sized homes to meet various needs of homeowners. Whether it’s the need for a large home on the golf course or a smaller home near a strong school district, LongCreek Plantation has so much to offer.

First and foremost, LongCreek Plantation offers a resort lifestyle, allowing homeowners to enjoy the convenience of city living without constantly hearing urban noise and fighting the hustle and bustle of downtown living. It also offers a unique design in that it is divided into a number of self-contained neighborhoods, keeping traffic to a minimum. Each community in LongCreek is located off of the main road, ensuring those driving through the neighborhood are generally homeowners, and some are gated, offering an even more secluded environment. This special layout helps control traffic and provides a quiet environment for homeowners. 

A key selling point for many residents of LongCreek Plantation is the school district. Located in Richland School District Two, residents have access to many nationally recognized elementary, middle and high schools, including RoundTop Elementary, Blythewood Middle School and Blythewood High School. In addition, students can take part in magnet programs, which enable them to focus on a specific area of study.

To be sure, when the kids come home from school — and the parents from work or play — there is much to offer within the neighborhoods. Perhaps it’s riding bikes to the glistening 150-acre lake in the center of LongCreek Plantation. Smaller creeks within the property feed into this expansive lake, which is available for residents to enjoy. Whether it’s putting in the canoe or kayak for a relaxing glide on the tranquil waters or testing one’s patience and fortitude with a rod and reel, Lake Windermere is ready and willing to provide a challenge or a respite for whatever residents have in mind.

It’s this beauty and natural living that has made LongCreek Plantation a coveted area in which to live. Desiring the antithesis of a concrete jungle, the developers have worked hard to ensure the neighborhood keeps as many trees on the property as possible. This greenery not only adds to the beauty of the area, it also helps to support a more environmentally friendly atmosphere. One doesn’t have to have a science degree to understand the critical necessity of clean air. LongCreek is committed to keeping the community environmentally sound in thoughtful and deliberate ways. Through its creeks, lakes and rich vegetation, the beauty of the area is outweighed only by the value it brings to the ecosystem.

For those who want to take the activity level up a notch, The Windermere Club is the community’s premiere amenity and provides all of the features and comforts of the highest-quality country club.

The Pete and P.B. Dye-designed golf course will test the wills of those who step onto it, but that shouldn’t inhibit the novice or high handicapper, who will find the greens forgiving at times. Each hole is distinctly different on this outstanding course, delivering an experience no golfer is likely to forget. The renowned golf course is the only one in the Midlands to feature bentgrass greens, providing a smooth, fast surface. In addition to members, all golfers are welcome on these impressive greens.

Not to be outdone, those who would rather achieve set point than a hole-in-one are in the right place at Windermere. The state-of-the-art tennis facility boasts six clay courts, two lighted hard courts and four lighted indoor courts — the largest indoor court facility in the Midlands area. This special tennis complex affords the social player to the Wimbledon wannabe ample opportunity to improve on their game. From tennis lessons, clinics and camps, members of all ages are encouraged to visit the courts and explore the challenging game of tennis. “We have wonderful junior and adult programs for competitive tennis play or just good fun,” says John Bakhaus, owner of Fairways Development, the original developer of LongCreek Plantation and the Windermere Club and Tennis Center.  

After a long day on the golf course or the hard courts, a dip in the Junior Olympic-sized pool may be in order, or perhaps a fabulous dinner overlooking the Number 18 fairway and Lake Windermere at the clubhouse. Exceptional dining is at the ready, and for those looking for a party location, the ballroom and parlor provide ample space and a beautiful atmosphere to dance the night away. 

Windermere even offers an equestrian center for those who enjoy an afternoon on horseback. At Windermere, social activities and opportunities abound.

With all that LongCreek Plantation and The Windermere Club have to offer, it’s no wonder that the Home Builders Association chose this as the location for the 2014 Parade of Homes. The new community called The Gates features the highest-quality, well-appointed homes one would expect in an established neighborhood like LongCreek, known for its traditional architecture of mainly brick, natural material and wood siding. That traditional architectural community stands true in the homes featured in the Parade. 

“We are very excited about this new development and to have these beautiful homes featured in the Parade,” says Ron Johnson, partner at Gateway, LLC, developer of The Gates. “We aren’t selling a home, we are selling a lifestyle.” 

The Gates are literally the gateway into LongCreek Plantation, as they are located at the entry to the neighborhood. In keeping with the longstanding reputation of LongCreek, the new homes will maintain the highest-quality features and finishes, with a somewhat smaller footprint. Many of the homes will cater to baby boomers, empty-nesters and young professionals — those who might expect high-quality but would prefer a smaller home. 

“This year’s Parade speaks to where people are going now with their new home purchases,” says Ron. “The houses will be nicely featured but a little smaller, demonstrating where the market is heading. These homes in the Parade really showcase the desires of today’s homeowner.”

Smaller, less expensive homes have been trending since the economic challenges of 2008. Add to that a growing baby boomer market, where the kids are out of the house and adults no longer need the space they once had. While the larger mansion-type homes aren’t as popular, that doesn’t mean that the interiors of these new homes aren’t worthy of a million-dollar establishment. 

“While we are seeing a lot of people downsizing, these same people want their homes just as nice and well-appointed. They may want to give up space, but certainly not refinement,” adds Ron. From immaculate craftsmanship, coffered ceilings, high-end appliances, and stunning hardwoods to name just a few, the homes in this year’s Parade will be sure to pull people into the home-buying market.

The new community found in the Parade also has an enhanced focus on the environment. The site is designed to be sustainable with curbless roads, grass swales and other environmentally conscious measures. Even storm drainage has been redirected to go back into the community, re-nourishing the water table instead of rolling down the street and out of the neighborhood. This continued focus on the environment will help to continue to conserve important resources. 

“This is one of the first communities designed that can truly be defined as sustainable,” says Earl McLeod, executive director of the Home Builders Association. This aspect not only helps the environment, but it also drives value. 

Additionally, three of the featured homes will be certified CHiP homes. The CHiP Home program is based on the National Green Building Standard, which ensures homes are tested and verified by an independent third party and then issued a certification by the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia’s Green Building Council.  

These features will be on full display in this year’s Parade of Homes. With gorgeous traditional Craftsman exteriors, the interiors of these homes are as diverse as their builders. From the most exquisite Italian and French designs and dramatic moldings to contemporary furnishings and antique-glazed cabinets, these homes will appeal to homeowners of all tastes and preferences. All of the proceeds from the sale of the home built by Cole Thompson and his team from Rex Thompson, Inc. will be donated to the charitable foundation of the Home Builders Association.

One thing is for certain: each visitor to the Parade of Homes will walk away from the event with new ideas for decorating and an eye into the newest trends. It’s an event for everyone in an unforgettable neighborhood. 

The 2014 Holiday Parade of Homes will be held Dec. 6 through 14 in the Gates of Windermere, LongCreek Plantation. It promises to showcase the best in craftsmanship, quality and new home trends in the Columbia market. In this year’s much-anticipated Parade, the Home Builders Association will introduce the newest development in the well-established LongCreek Plantation — the Gates. Take a walk inside … 

Home No. 1: Lot 25

Old-fashioned elegance

Built by Blue Ribbon Builders

By Melissa Andrews

One step into this nearly 3,000 square-foot home and visitors will feel the warm elegance emanating from every room. Unique features make this home stand out. Stylish crown molding and dark hand-scraped hardwood floors are featured throughout the main floor of the home, lending a luxurious quality to the overall space. The staircase makes a statement of its own with stained oak treads that impart a dramatic feel in the home.

Full overlay, antique glazed, off-white cabinets can be found throughout the space, providing a richness and elegance to the living area. “This is a beautiful trend that is becoming increasingly popular,” says Sara Tafazoli, marketing director for Blue Ribbon Builders, who constructed the home. 

To be sure, the masterpiece of this home is its gourmet kitchen. Granite countertops mark the hub of this home and provide a gorgeous complement to the room’s stainless steel appliances. The handsomely crafted antique-glazed cabinets can also be found in the kitchen, contributing a richness and sophistication to the space, while the tumbled marble backsplash with its mosaic tile accent adds pops of color and interest to the room.

The kitchen opens to a spacious family room that is the ideal location for unwinding after a long day, catching up with friends, or reading a good book. Majestic French doors lead to a rear covered porch, where residents and visitors can relax and enjoy the lovely surroundings that are LongCreek Plantation. “LongCreek Plantation has great amenities, as well as a fantastic location and wonderful school systems,” adds Sara. “It is a thriving community with so much to offer homeowners, and we are excited to take part in building dream homes in a dream community.”

Dreams will certainly be sweet in this home, where retiring at night is a treat for the residents. The owner’s suite, located on the main floor, is a respite in waiting. His and her vanities, along with a garden soaking tub and separate tiled shower ensure this bathroom feels more like a spa getaway. Not to be overlooked are the other three bathrooms in the home, which also feature tile floors and fiberglass tubs with tile tub walls. The attention to detail and high quality is on full display. The home also features five additional bedrooms, making this the perfect home for a large family or one with frequent visitors.

The home’s exterior features painted Hardi board siding with vinyl soffit and fascia that give the home a clean look and feel. The front elevation includes a brick water table that provides a stylistic appeal, while the craftsman-style stained wood front door provides a masculine focal point.

No detail in this home has been forgotten and that is in large part due to the dedication to quality that Blue Ribbon Builders puts into all of its creations. A family-owned, third-generation builder, Blue Ribbon Homes focuses on creating quality homes at a great value. Blue Ribbon is committed to providing outstanding features in its homes, which are designed and built for today’s families. The builder works closely with homeowners to enhance their everyday lives — a commitment on full display in this lovely home.

Home No. 2: Lot 23

A surprise inside

Built by GreenSense Homes

By Melissa Andrews 

From the outside of this home, one might expect a more traditional craftsman-style interior. But one step inside and residents and visitors will have a bold surprise. For certain, the exterior of the home is gorgeous. A combination of stone and Hardiplank with stone columns, the architectural style of this home is exceptional, as is its focus on the future of the homeowner. This home was created with Universal Design, which makes the home more accessible with aging and to people with disabilities. This includes wider doorways, easily accessible cabinets, and larger bathrooms among its many convenience features. And while this method of design is changing lives, it’s also a subtle touch that appeals to those who may not need these features. 

More than anything, this home will surprise and delight the senses. The interior of the home offers a modern and clean look that is juxtaposed beautifully with the more rustic exterior of the home. The transitional-meets-mid-Century design of the interior ensures the home isn’t too modern for most homeowner’s tastes. 

“We mixed a lot of different styles to achieve the overall look of this home,” says Joe Stuart of Prive’ Design Group, interior designer for the home. “At the end of the day, it’s a craftsman-style look, but the interior is the exact opposite of what one might think it will be. The home provides a modern aesthetic with a lot of beautiful materials, as well as high-end gorgeous features that are a part of the architecture.” These features include surface materials in the countertops, recycled glass and graphite cabinets.

The art throughout this home makes a statement of its own. The huge hand-painted pieces were sourced from the West Coast and provide an interesting backdrop to the clean look of the home. Custom Stanton carpets and walnut floors are found throughout, providing a luxurious, comfortable feel. Modern Italian pieces — including handmade Italian palais vases, accessories and furnishings — give a richness to the space. 

The master bedroom of the home can only be described as fabulous. The calming space features a fully upholstered charcoal headboard, mirrored modern lamps, and a deep charcoal rug, all surrounded in a calming, sea-salt wall color. The bathroom in the master suite features an all-glass wet room, with an open shower with a drain in the middle of the floor. Floor tile continues up the wall, while a freestanding soaker tub is the central focus of the room. Soft light shines down from the chrome ribbon chandelier, providing a relaxing feel to the space.

Elegance is also on display in the unforgettable kitchen. The center island features a custom black and mink glazed granite countertop with no undertone. Modern, hydraulic chrome and walnut stools flank the island. The backsplash is under lit from the cabinets, and with a creative twist of turning the molding upside down, the backsplash actually appears wet. Glass countertops are taupe with metallic flecks, a high-end look that carries through to the living room in the bookshelves that line the exquisite fireplace.

The breakfast room’s modern Marrakesh cream linen settee with chrome nail head trim provides a lovely complement to the chrome and walnut dining table.

This home is extremely energy efficient with a super sustainable, ecological and energy-efficient home that is constructed with the highest-quality post-consumer materials, enabling homeowners to save money and the environment at the same time. Throughout the home are recycled, naturally green and low-carbon-footprint furnishings. A beautiful combination of glamour, drama and thoughtful design make this home a beauty to behold. 

Home No. 3: Lot 31

Less is more

Built by Executive Construction Homes, LLC

By Melissa Andrews

One step in to this house and visitors will feel at home. The craftsman feel coupled with a contemporary flair provides an open, airy atmosphere akin to that perfect cottage getaway.

The specialized floor plan of this home gives it the ability to accommodate larger, multiple living scenarios. With main level living in addition to a livable suite upstairs, this home can expand to meet a family’s changing needs. “The multi-generational home has become a need in America, as more families are taking care of their older loved ones at home, or older children are staying or returning to their parent’s home,” says Eddie Yandle, owner of Executive Construction Homes, LLC and builder of the home. Eddie is a seasoned builder in the Columbia area and last year was named a Certified Master Builder, ensuring he and his company will go above and beyond in keeping up with the trends and opportunities in the building industry. He is now also one of the select groups of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Green Professional (CGP) educational designation, identifying him as an owner/homebuilder with the skills and the best strategies for incorporating green building principles into new home and remodeling projects. 

Upon entering this home, residents and visitors will notice the straight-line simplicity of the home, where less is more. In the quaint foyer, shiplap wooden boards are hung on the wall horizontally and painted white to lengthen the space and add an interesting texture while all floors are made of green materials. 

The home provides an open concept with the central focal point being the kitchen. “The kitchen in this home truly is the living space,” says Christy Monteith, owner of CL Interiors and designer of the home. “People aren’t really looking for a formal dining room; instead, they want a livable space to entertain and relax.” Such is the case in this home, where the breakfast space acts as the dining room. The casual room features distressed wood with whites, grays and pops of color through accessories. Fabulous abstracts from Columbia artist Mary Ann Haven can be found throughout the home, providing a modern feel to the space.

White cabinets made by a local cabinetmaker, stainless steel appliances and a dark gray island provide a clean, streamlined look to the area. This look is highlighted by the numerous windows in the room that let in the natural light and play up the fresh feel. Chrome pendant lights provide a contemporary touch.

The breakfast room and kitchen area open right onto the home’s outdoor living center, which features a covered porch ideal for entertainment.

Once entertaining is done and it’s time to retire, the homeowners will be delighted with the home’s large master bedroom. The master suite features a stunning enclosed shower with glass tile that reaches the ceiling and surrounds an inviting rain head. A built-in bench with hand sprayers ensures a spa-like experience. Painted cabinets and a double vanity in marble are wonderful finishes to this intimate room.

Upstairs is a vacation in itself. A spa room features a sauna and exercise room for the ultimate in relaxation and focusing on one’s well-being. Down the hallway is a “man cave” with a built-in bar and masculine look and feel. The upstairs area also has a convenient nook that has been turned into an office.  

This home is ideal for all families. One who may want to focus on working, reading, exercising or relaxing, or one who needs all the rooms for children and family. This house will grow with the family that is fortunate enough to call it home. 

Home No. 4: Lot 28

Building for good

Built by Rex Thompson, Inc.

By Melissa Andrews

Cole Thompson has been participating in the Parade of Homes for years, building dream homes for his clients. This year, Cole and his team at Rex Thompson, Inc. are building a home that can help others achieve their dreams. All proceeds from the sale of this beautiful home will benefit the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia Charitable Foundation. The Foundation is committed to helping individuals, programs and organizations in need. “We are always looking for ways to give back to our community,” says Cole. “We are excited and so proud to be able to support the Midlands through the Parade of Homes.” Rex Thompson, Inc. has been building unforgettable homes in Columbia for more than 30 years, so it’s no surprise Cole and his team are excited about supporting the community they have called home — and where they have created homes— for so long.

The Rex Thompson home featured in this year’s Parade will continue that focus on excellence. The craftsman style of this home perfectly blends textures, providing an outstanding curb appeal. With a hidden courtyard-entry two-car garage, the home’s interesting front facade is all visitors will see from the street.

This home is built with the highest energy efficiency. Open celled foam insulation fills the home, which is still a new, unique process in many of today’s homes. The home boasts a truly forward-thinking design with its more economical and environmentally friendly heating and cooling system.

Attention to detail is evident throughout the home with its heaving moldings, tray ceilings and gorgeous flooring. The foyer leads into a formal dining room, but the real living in this home will happen in the outstanding kitchen. Luxurious stainless steel Thermador appliances will delight the chef and the novice, making cooking an enjoyable experience. Granite countertops with a custom tile backsplash make a statement, as do the custom cabinets that were built on-site, ensuring they are a perfect fit and design for the space.

Adjacent to the kitchen is the keeping room. Off the beaten path, it’s the ideal location for kids — and adults! — to play and entertain friends.

Three bedrooms can be found downstairs — two bedrooms with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom and the master suite. The master is set off by itself, ensuring privacy and a respite from the day. The master’s sitting room provides great opportunity to unwind and catch up on the latest novel or television show. The master bathroom features a separate tub and tiled shower evoking a luxurious feel usually only found in the greatest of spas. A second master suite is located over the garage, complete with his and her closets perfect for guests, the in-laws, or the teenager in need of his or her own space.

The outdoor area of the home provides the ultimate space for entertaining. With its cozy fireplace, the back porch can be used by the homeowners virtually year-round — another great benefit to living in Columbia. There is also space above the fireplace for a television. Good luck getting guests to leave this house!

Without exception, the 2014 Holiday Parade of Homes will leave indelible memories — the best of construction and the creativity of design. It’s dream homes in the making.

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