Every home has a story
John Womeldorf knows that every home has a story. As an experienced realtor with a deep love for Williamsburg, John looks beyond the basic features of the homes he sells. In his “Every Home Has a Story” series, John introduces potential buyers to the aspects of a home that they can’t see by viewing it online or attending a showing. By interviewing the sellers and writing about what makes each home so special, John helps his clients go from trying to see themselves living in an unfamiliar house to envisioning their family moving into their dream home.
When Stephen and Jennifer Bushing first laid eyes on this 1800 sq. ft. brick ranch house seven years ago, they knew it would be the perfect home for them.
Both natives of Michigan, Stephen works in a corporate capacity for Little Caesars Pizza, which is headquartered in Detroit. Before moving to Williamsburg, he was traveling a lot, training franchisees to run a new restaurant. Along the way, he met local restauranteur Chris Cook, co-owner of the popular Amber Ox Public House restaurant and also co-owner of the equally popular Precarious Beer Project in Merchants Square.
“Chris got his start with Little Caesar’s,” Stephen says. “He offered me a job as a supervisor at Little Caesars, and three weeks later here we were.”
“Bless our realtor,” Jennifer says with a laugh. “We probably looked at close to 45 homes. Every time we found one, it didn’t feel somehow like it was “us” and we didn’t want to settle. With this home, though, I think we chose extremely wisely.”
From the moment they walked inside and saw the great room, they knew this house was calling their name. The gracious space serves as the central hub for the home. Featuring a wooden ceiling and beams, a dramatic stonework floor-to-ceiling fireplace and a brand-new picture window that provides warm natural light and sweeping views of the wooded back yard, the room is a perfect gathering place for family and friends.
“I think that the great room really makes the house,” Jennifer says. “It’s just so big and so open. It’s easy to see into the kitchen, living room, dining room, and out onto the deck. This home is great for entertaining – inside and out.”
Bonus: the oversized deck can be accessed via both the great room and the primary bedroom.
As for the rest of the home, this one is bigger than it looks from the outside, and all of the rooms are substantial in size. In addition to the living room, great room and ample kitchen, there are four bedrooms and two full-size bathrooms. Three of the four bedrooms are quite large; the fourth room is well-suited to a nursery or a home office. For storage, there’s a walk-out basement with a heated and cooled office, as well as abundant attic space in the attic and a walk-in crawl space.
City life in the country
“This was our first home,” Stephen says. “We were amazed at how spacious the house is and how large the lot size is too. We have a third of an acre here, which is great. When you’re out back, it’s hard to imagine that you have neighbors because it’s so private. It’s truly city life in the country.”
Hop in the car and it’s just minutes to restaurants, shopping and one of the area’s many parks. The neighborhood is less than three miles from Colonial Williamsburg, the largest living history museum in America, and William & Mary, second oldest institution of higher education in the country. In terms of K-12, area residents enjoy a wonderful school district including Laurel Lane Elementary School, Berkeley Middle School and Lafayette High School.
“When we first started searching for a house, we were looking for a place to settle down and start our family,” Jennifer says. “This neighborhood is gorgeous, and the school district is amazing, so that was another big draw for us.”
A stone’s throw from Jamestown Road, picturesque Druid Hills and adjacent Kingswood have long been sought-after neighborhoods. Homes sit on generous and well-manicured lots that feature mature trees, shrubs and flowering plants. From pines to maple, white maple to holly trees, the couple has enjoyed the view in all seasons.
“There’s a wooded lot across from us, so we get to experience wildlife every day,” Stephen says. “A family of deer meanders about and birds are everywhere. We hear owls at night and early in the morning.”
With bluebirds, robins, cardinals and other birds galore, the area is truly a bird watcher’s paradise.
Upgrades and improvements
Since moving to the home, the Bushings have made some pretty dramatic changes. They gave the sunny great room a fresh coat of paint, then ripped up carpets and installed bamboo flooring in every room but the kitchen and two bathrooms.
“Bamboo is not just sustainable and eco-friendly,” says Stephen. “It’s also beautiful, durable and low maintenance.”
Other recent improvements include a new HVAC system and a new roof with architectural shingles. To the delight of the owners’ three dogs, a fenced back yard was also added.
“We’ve done a lot,” Jennifer says. “As I said before, the great room was our favorite room from the start, but I have to say that now it looks amazing. We also took out the old five-panel picture window and replaced it with a three-panel window that is big in the middle and double-hung on both sides for better view of nature when drinking coffee in the morning.”
Kingswood Neighborhood pool
The Kingswood Klams swim team is a summer league team in Williamsburg, Virginia, that competes in the Virginia Peninsula Swim Union (VPSU). The team was founded by current head coach, Harold Baker, in the summer of 1979.
Please note, you must be a member of Kingswood Pool in order to join the swim team. Fees are as follows: Family Membership: $400, Swim Team Fees: $90 per swimmer for the summer of 2021 +One time initiation fee: $200 (may be paid over two summers).
The team participates in six regular-season meets against other neighborhoods in the area like Greensprings West, Windsor Forest, Kingsmill, Fords Colony and others.
The Bushings have fallen in love with Williamsburg, and have every intention of returning to visit over the years to come. In the end, though, the tug of heartstrings for these two millennials was too great. Although they say that Williamsburg will always hold a special place in their hearts, they are returning to Michigan to be closer to their family.
Returning to Michigan
“It’s beautiful here, and our neighbors here are so great,” Jennifer says. “People are so friendly. I’m sure we will back and visit – especially in the winter months!”
The couple agrees that their home is perfect for anyone who wants to be close to the city and its amenities, but feel like they have a private place to come home to at the end of the day. They hope the next family will enjoy the house as much as they have.
Psssst! I wanted to let you in on a little secret. While I am a real estate agent…I am a different kind of real estate agent. I am creating a revolution in realty by combining everything you love about this area all into one place. Known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, I combine my extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg, Richmond, Northern Neck and Hampton Roads areas with my expertise in helping buyers and sellers navigate the ever-changing local real estate market to create a top-notch experience that checks all of your boxes.
Are you a homeowner searching for someone innovative and committed to selling your home? Allow Mr. Williamsburg to tell your story. With my unique marketing approach, your home will be seen from your eyes, not described in a few sentences by someone who doesn’t know it well.
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Your real estate journey is just that…yours. I get that it’ll be unique. It needs a marketing plan and a committed real estate professional to guide you every step of the way. To talk further, you can reach me via phone or text at 757-254-8136 or through email at [email protected].
I look forward to serving your real estate needs and welcoming you to this place that I’m lucky enough to call home!
John Womeldorf, Mr. Williamsburg