When Mary and Greg Christensen went looking for a home in Williamsburg, it was with family in mind. The couple, in a second marriage for both, had a blended family of 4 adult children plus a grandchild and wanted plenty of space for them all to visit.
Mary, an elementary school teacher, had lived in the Hampton Roads area all her life but never in Williamsburg, and wanted to give it a try. Greg, a Long Island NY native who works in sales, found that Williamsburg’s stately, traditional style houses reminded him of home.
“Greg really wanted to live in Williamsburg, and I liked the idea of being where there are so many great things to do,” Mary says. “Plus, it has great proximity to airports such as Richmond International.”
The couple decided to build in Powhatan Woods, a 120-home neighborhood of detached homes located within the larger community of Powhatan Secondary, and close to Colonial Williamsburg. “We just liked the set-up here. It’s not your typical cookie cutter neighborhood; there’s a diversity of homes so that no two houses near each other are the same,” Mary notes. “Plus, there are lots of trees and rolling hills.”
The couple wanted a true family home, and worked with the neighborhood’s builder, Centex Homes, to find the right style. “We were immediately in love with the Devonshire model,” Greg notes about the 2,627 square-foot, 4 bedroom/2.5 bath home featuring a two-story foyer with a loft overlooking the family room. “The home has a great open floor plan that has allowed us to have some great parties with our family and friends. We love the loft just to relax on the weekends and the large bedrooms for kids and grandchildren when they come to visit…. With all the space in the house, I was able to move out of my office complex and move my office to the end room upstairs in the house, which saved us plenty of money.”
The couple had Centex make some modifications to the Devonshire plans, including finishing the 2-car garage with custom shelving and a place to store their outdoor furniture above the cars. They also had Centex build a walk–up attic with finished flooring accessible from Greg’s office, and an alcove above the gas fireplace in the family room for their television.
A Place for Celebrations. “When we looked at our house, we thought it would be a nice house for a wedding,” Mary says. And, it was. Her son and his fiancé were married under a gazebo on the couple’s large, backyard deck. A reception for 40 was held inside the open concept home.
The wedding was just one of many home celebrations Mary and Greg have enjoyed with their friends and family, which has grown to include 6 grandchildren, ages 3 months to 16 years. They have hosted many summer get-togethers on their 40-foot deck, which spans the length of the house and overlooks their fenced, wooded back yard. “It is a great place to sit and relax with plenty of room for lots of tables and chairs for casual get-togethers, cook outs, or just relaxing on a lazy day,” Greg notes.
They also have hosted Christmas parties for up to 30 people, always a treat for family and friends who enjoy Mary’s passion for holiday decorating. “With the layout in this house, we were able to have four Christmas trees set up,” Greg notes. “Mary did all the decorating and everyone wanted to visit over the Christmas holiday.”
“I do put up four big Christmas trees,” Mary admits, laughing. “The tree in the loft is our turning Hallmark tree. We have about $25,000 worth of Hallmark ornaments that we have collected through the years. Then there’s a tree in Greg’s office that has a sports theme. And, a silver and blue tree that goes in the formal living room has a New Orleans theme.” The largest tree, 10 feet tall and decorated in gold and burgundy, is in the family room, which has 30-foot ceilings.
Mary also displays small trees throughout the house and mechanical motion snowmen along the stairs. “My grandchildren call it ‘Nana’s Wonderland’,” she says.
Adding to the holiday ambiance are electric candles that illuminate each window in the front of the house. “That was another thing we had the builder do: put in a master light switch near the front door that controls all the outlets in the front of the house, upstairs and downstairs,” Mary says. “I can turn on all the candles from just that one switch.”
Mary notes the candles are lit not only at Christmas, but all through the year. “We just feel the candles are so Williamsburg.”
A House Built for A Family. “This house was built for a family,” Mary says. “There is countertop space in the kitchen for eating, a family dining area off the kitchen, and the formal dining room. Sometimes our family comes over and the adults can visit in the formal living room while the kids are in the family room.” The dining room, which features a tray ceiling, can seat 10-12 guests.
Mary also loves that the master bedroom is on the main floor, off by itself and far from the other bedrooms on the second floor. “You have plenty of privacy when you have company,” she notes.
“I love how open the house is, that wherever you are on the first floor you can talk to someone else on that floor,” Mary adds. “And I love the openness and lightness of the house; a lot of natural light comes in but it still feels cozy.” The gas fireplace in the family room also adds to the home’s cozy feel during the winter.
Living Close to Attractions. “We love being in this neighborhood. We are so close to all the attractions that we can be in Colonial Williamsburg or Busch Gardens in about 10 minutes,” Mary says. “But it isn’t so close that it’s a touristy area. When we come home, it is to this nice, quiet community with trees and rolling hills.”
Mary, who recently retired after 41 years with the York County Schools, also notes that “there are many road choices to get where you’re going without having to take I-64.” Residents could also leave the car behind to walk or bike to a local drug store or nearby Monticello Marketplace, she points out.
Attractions inside Powhatan Woods—amenities that include the community clubhouse, pool, playground and basketball courts– are also very accessible. ”One of my favorite features of the house is its location within Powhatan Woods,” Mary points out. “We have a privacy fence around our yard, but we put in a gate that leads directly to the community pool and clubhouse area. We don’t even have to go onto the street to get to the amenities.” Her grandchildren enjoy the playground with swings, slides, and climbing bars, while her adult children use the basketball court. Mary and Greg have enjoyed going to seasonal parties in the clubhouse.
A Friendly Neighborhood. “I enjoy working outside on the weekends and it’s a great time to meet with the neighbors,” Greg notes. “I found that the people that live in Powhatan Woods are very friendly and will always stop by to chat when I’m outside working on the lawn and trimming the shrubs.”
Mary points out that the neighbors, many of whom are seen walking their dogs, are respectful and helpful. When the power went out during a hurricane, a neighbor with a generator stored Mary’s medications that needed refrigeration. “People here are considerate,” she notes.
Time to Downsize. Deciding to leave their much-loved family home for a more maintenance-free townhouse was not an easy decision for the Christiansens.
“I love this house,” Mary says, noting that she and Greg plan to move to a townhome in Williamsburg. “I would stay here forever, but we just don’t need this much house to keep up now.”
Mary and Greg met John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf through a mutual friend. “We heard such good things about him,” Mary says. “Then we looked him up on the Internet and liked what we saw. We asked him to help us sell our home.”
“We will miss this home of 14 fabulous years,” Greg notes. “But the time is right to downsize and let another lucky family enjoy this house, Williamsburg, and all the wonderful things to do in our neighborhood.”
Here are a few photos of the amenities in the Powhatan Secondary neighborhood in Williamsburg, VA.
Why the stories? Because these aren’t just houses, they’re homes. In my years as a Williamsburg Va area real estate agent, I was always surprised when I looked at brochures from other listings. Quite often I see two sentences describing a 3 BR two bath $500,000 home. I personally feel if you are paying someone a substantial sum to sell your home they can put a little more effort into it. That was the genesis for these stories.
Having a website that focuses on real estate in the area brings a lot of questions from potential home buyers. Most of these folks have never been to Williamsburg Virginia. So imagine if you’re from outside the area and know nothing about homes their neighborhoods whether some of the questions you would ask?
What’s the neighborhood like? Who lives there? What are the schools like? Do they have any social events? Do they have a pool? Or the lots private? Do they mow your yard? Can you put in a fence? Can you have dogs? How far is it to the store? How far is it to the playground? How far is it to the beach? I think you get the gist.
Hopefully, it gives you a sense of what it’s like to live here, and what it’s like to live in that specific neighborhood.
This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Richmond/ Hampton Roads area and his expertise helping buyers and sellers in the local real estate market.
If you are a home owner searching for someone innovative to sell your home I would love to share my thoughts on marketing. You can read some of the stories I have written about the homes I have sold here.
Additionally, I have helped hundreds of folks find their dream home/ community and would love to help you find yours in the Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, VA Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Poquoson and Richmond VA area.
Want to tell your home’s story? Or find your dream home/ neighborhood in the area Contact John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf at (757) 254-8136 or [email protected] and we’ll get you started.
To schedule a visit to see this home or others in the Williamsburg or Hampton Roads VA area call/text 757 254 8136 or email [email protected]
I look forward to serving your real estate needs!