Close to I-64, yet with a relaxing, country feel: that was the allure of Mirror Lake Estates when Liz and John bought a home there in 2007. “We were drawn to it because of its location in a quiet, more rural area of Williamsburg,” says Liz, a supervisor at a utility company. “The neighborhood is away from the ebb and flow of tourism…. but only 15 minutes from downtown Williamsburg.”
Liz and her husband, John, a D.O.D. employee, chose a two-story, transitional-style home with a cozy porch. It overlooks a front yard boasting one of the largest cherry trees in the neighborhood.
“We use the front porch all the time,” Liz says, noting that it’s a place to wave to neighbors when they stroll the neighborhood.
The couple was attracted to the layout of the home, which includes a living room, eat-in kitchen, dining room, half bath, and laundry on the first floor, and three bedrooms upstairs. “It has what I call a European layout,” Liz explains. “One door — the door that connects the front hallway to the kitchen — can close off the entire main level from the hallway and second floor. That is really appealing for families with kids and pets because you don’t have to worry about gates to keep them from the stairs [to the second floor]. It also helps a lot with noise between the first and second floors, as well as with heating and cooling the two levels.”
The home’s second-floor master suite was another plus, with a multi-purpose room adjoining the bedroom. “The previous owners used that room as a private office, but we use it as a dressing room. It could also be used as a nursery,” Liz notes. “It’s very versatile.” The dressing room, which connects the master bedroom to the master bath, has two walk-in closets plus under-eaves storage space. “It’s very handy. You don’t have to go to the attic to store things,” Liz adds.
Liz, who loves to cook, also found the eat-in kitchen and walk-in pantry appealing. The kitchen, which has been updated with new cabinets, appliances, and Corian countertops, is large enough to add a moveable island. “The kitchen is my favorite room,” Liz says. “It’s big, but it’s also cozy to read or work at the kitchen table. And, I love looking out the window above the sink into the back yard.”
Back yard oasis. That flat, fully fenced back yard has become the family’s oasis. Liz, who enjoys gardening, has planted a variety of low maintenance shrubs and trees along the perimeter of the corner lot. She also added a vegetable garden and a hedge of 4-foot red rose bushes. The middle of the large yard is mostly open space, to allow room for the couple’s daughter and the family dog to explore. An exception is the towering maple tree that shades the center of the yard; benches and a tot swing sit beneath its canopy.
The yard is big enough to accommodate the couple’s boat when it’s not moored. “We planted trees to screen it off from the rest of the yard, though,” Liz notes. The couple also widened the gate from the driveway to the back yard to allow access for their large pick-up truck. A double-doored, ivy-covered shed in the back of the yard is used to store their lawn equipment.
“My daughter loves being out in the yard and chasing the dog around,” Liz notes. “Having the fence means low stress about your kid running into the street. The back yard is just ideal for dogs and kids, safety and privacy.”
But Liz’s favorite outside spot is the two-level deck. When the couple bought the home, it had one deck, which needed replacement. “John fell through the old deck just as he was ripping it apart,” Liz notes. “The new one is nice and sturdy.” After replacing the original deck, the couple added a second-level deck with a pergola that features an outdoor ceiling fan and pull-down outside blinds to add privacy and shade. “We love the pergola and deck, and often have friends over to grill out,” says Liz. “It’s just great for entertaining and for a family that likes to be outside.”
Energy conscious updates. Over the past eight years, the couple also has made some changes to the home’s interior. They reconfigured a wall in the dining room to create a large opening between the living and dining rooms. “It makes for a better flow,” Liz says.
They also increased the home’s energy efficiency. “We replaced the windows with double pane low-e [Pella] windows, and all the appliances with Energy-Star,” Liz notes. “The new toilets are water savers and we added an attic fan and a programmable thermostat. There are also ceiling fans in the main rooms. We’re very energy conscious.”
Family-friendly community. The neighborhood lake has been a source of fun for the couple’s daughter. “It’s stocked with fish, and you can use non-motorized boats,” Liz notes, adding that residents of the neighborhood, which does not have an HOA, can buy membership in a neighboring community pool. “We go down to the lake a lot,” she says. “The ducks and geese there entrance my 2-year-old.”
Liz and her daughter also enjoy the public library that sits just outside the neighborhood, within walking distance of their home. Kiskiack Golf Course and York River State Park are only a few miles away. Downtown Williamsburg and shopping hubs such as the Williamsburg Premium Outlets are a 10-15 minute drive.
“The neighborhood public schools are very good,” Liz says. “And, we’ve never heard of any issues with crime.” The community also has a nice diversity of age groups, including families and retirees. “We can see how the number of children in the neighborhood has grown even more over the past 8 years,” Liz says. “‘There are kids in their yards and along the streets and cul-de-sacs everywhere. It’s a very family-friendly place.”
Liz and John have decided to sell their house in Mirror Lake Estates so that they can build a new home. “Building our own home is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Liz says. The couple asked John Womeldorf to help them with the sale after the company through which they’re building their new place recommended him as a preferred realtor. Liz notes, “We are VERY happy with him so far!!”
Mr. Williamsburg knows that when you’re looking for a new place, you’re searching for more than just four walls plus amenities; you’re looking for that welcoming refuge we call home. That’s why we go beyond the standard “4 bedrooms, 3 baths on large lot” statistics, to share how others have lived in this house, to reveal the home’s unique personality, to help you decide whether this is a place where your family could thrive.
Likewise, we realize that you’re seeking not simply a development within a particular zip code, but also an opportunity to become part of a community. That’s why we share our sellers’ experiences as members of that neighborhood.
We trust these stories will assist you in finding your way home.
Want to tell your home’s story or explore this home further ? Contact John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf at (757) 254-8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com and we’ll get you started.