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Old 09-07-2010, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC (formerly Vienna, VA)
5,647 posts, read 5,462,559 times
Reputation: 4051
Yes, and I get a prize for longest post of the day. :-)

I did say "both McLean schools" although it wasn't very clear. :-)
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
1,995 posts, read 2,689,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
As cdmurphy hinted at, knowing your preferred budget would help us help you as well.
Also, I forgot to mention which builders are most like the bungalow style - Miller & Smith (the 1920s Collection, especially) and Stanley Martin (to some extent). Pulte/Centex, Beazer, and Christopher are somewhat different than Winchester (http://www.winchesterhomes.com/new-homes/brambleton-emerald-ridge - broken link) and Van Metre, which are pretty typical NoVA colonials; and Gulick is the ostentatious luxury brick fortress. Phase III has some new townhome designs from Camberley and Miller & Smith that are very different from most homes in the eastern Loudoun area. (The builders without links are ones that aren't currently building but whose homes you may encounter as resales.)

There's one 1920s Collection for sale right now: 22795 VICKERY PARK DR, ASHBURN, VA 20148 - HomesDatabase (http://www.homesdatabase.com/home-listings-BRAMBLETON+LAND+BAY-ASHBURN-VA-MRIS-LO7349852 - broken link)
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,196 posts, read 14,515,380 times
Reputation: 4834
Many of the tear-downs are the old Yeonas ramblers that were built in the 1950s and were the answer to affordable housing in their time. There's not too much in the way of architectural history or diversity in the houses, since they were production-built small homes. They suited the Town of Vienna at that time, when there was a need for such housing. Unlike areas in Arlington where tiny brick colonials and ramblers were built post-WWII, the wood-sided houses in Vienna did not stand the test of time and renovation as it is less expensive to demolish and start anew than to expand one. As such the current value of many, not all, since some are in excellent condition and have been updated, is in the land.

I would also take a look at Fairfax, too, since you can be within easy reach of the downtown area living either in the city, itself, or in surrounding areas of the county that are in close proximity. You would also be close to Vienna and Alexandria, so you can enjoy both, and the commute to Sterling is not too bad at all. And, GMU has the Patriot Center and Center for Performing Arts for concerts, performances, and sporting events -- not to mention some shows for children.

You would have less of a disconnect from Alexandria if you were to find a house that you like in Vienna or Fairfax, since they are still relatively close to DC. Vienna is a great family-oriented community, so it's definitely worth a look before committing to an area that's a bit further out and that's a significant departure from Alexandria.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,889 posts, read 44,218,701 times
Reputation: 10730
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
It's a bit unfortunate, in my opinion, that RR jumps on every single post that provides him with a launching pad to repeat the negative things about the region. It's also very rare that his posts are completely accurate, since he gets carried away with his own rhetoric.

To take one example, there are NOT a lot of "cute bungalows" getting torn down in Vienna. There are some ramblers from the 1950s that have been torn down - often replaced with NEW bungalows built in a historic style, as well as larger Craftsman-style homes that most probably would not label "McMansions." And, while a more subjective call, the "postage stamp-sized lots" in the Town of Vienna are typically 1/4 to 2/3 of an acre (larger than the typical lot in Arlington or Alexandria), and the new houses have to comply with the Town's fairly rigorous site requirements.

I simply don't think the OP can make a quick judgment about which areas might appeal to her without actually coming to look at places like Vienna, Reston or Brambleton. They aren't perfectly planned by any means, nor do they appeal to all tastes (some love Brambleton, and others think it's like a stage set from "The Truman Show"). However, each contains amenities that often appeal to couples in their early 30s contemplating the years ahead, as opposed to a single guy in his mid-20s.

And, if outside-the-Beltway NoVa holds no immediate appeal for the OP, she and her husband should keep in mind that most of the housing in the Charlotte area (with exceptions like the Myers Park neighborhood in the city of Charlotte, which has a great variety of pre-1960s homes) resembles the housing in places like Vienna and Brambleton more than it does Old Town Alexandria or Del Ray.
It's also a bit unfortunate, in my opinion, that the NoVA cheerleaders pounce onto every reply of mine and try to discredit me as being an irrelevant villain for having opinions contrariwise to the "sunshine aura" of this sub-forum, but I digress. Rhetoric? How so? It's no surprise I think NoVA outside the Beltway could have (and should have) been better planned so now we won't have to endure massive tax hikes in the coming years to retrofit the area with infrastructural amenities it could have (and should have) had a long time ago. It's also no secret that if the OP is seeking the "Del Ray" or "Old Town" of the Reston/Herndon area she's going to likely be disappointed. I caved and gave cdmurphy the benefit of the doubt since her native Brambleton at least tried to be forward-thinking, unlike much of the rest of the Dulles area, which just built in a hurry to house a growing population in typical Sunbelt-like fashion and is now suffering the consequences of unchecked growth and sprawl leading to increasing congestion.

If you're challenging me to walk around Vienna to photograph cute older homes that have been torn down for tasteless new construction, then I'd be more than happy to oblige you. There are quite a few just along Nutley Street alone that stick out like sore thumbs, and I can think of one cute older house in particular there that now sits in between two McMansions that overshadow it. There's one on the northwestern corner of Lawyers Road & Wilmar Place that is especially hideous. There are actually two more just up from this intersection along Wilmar Place that look exactly alike and also do not "flow" well with the rest of the neighborhood. Yes, some "tear downs" have indeed been done in a tasteful manner. The ones I reference (and many others I'd photograph in a photo tour) are not respectful of the adjacent neighborhood and dwarf surrounding homes. This is all a battle of aesthetics, anyways. People in NoVA (besides me) seem to love vinyl and front-facing garages. I don't.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see given the OP's specifications how any part of Reston could offer the same walkable, quaint, "crunchy", and dense vibe afforded to those who live in Old Town or Del Ray, where they ideally would like to live and are hoping to find a recreation of. I gave CDMurphy's Brambleton more of a free pass because the residential areas there tend to "flow" better with the town center area than is the case with the residential areas near to Reston Town Center, and I appreciate that.

I make my general disdain for all that Reston continues to lack well-known on this forum; however, I've also done an excellent job in various other threads pointing out all of its positive, strengths, and glowing opportunities for those who are seeking a "place with good recreational areas for a growing family" or a "place with lots of 30-something childless couples." It's just as irresponsible to direct an Old Town-lover to Reston as it would be to direct a 22-year-old single gay person with an affinity for the city. Reston fits a certain demographic---liberal/crunchy 50-somethings who like to walk the trails and commune with nature, young families who appreciate the parks, lush vegetation, community center, etc., people who work in Reston and want a short commute, etc. It doesn't (nor should it) appeal to those seeking nostalgia, history, walkability, or urbanity. If and when I succeed in shutting up the NIMBYs here the proposed large-scale redevelopment of Reston accompanying the Metrorail should make the Reston of 2020 a phenomenally better place to ANY demographic group. Until that time I can't in good conscience recommend this place to someone who seeks the same qualities in a neighborhood that I do because I've lived here 1.5 years now and am still trying to finance my way out.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,889 posts, read 44,218,701 times
Reputation: 10730
Another problem with the tear-downs, though, bmwguydc, is that while those homes may have seemed unremarkable or outdated to some, they could have offered a family the opportunity to afford their own home in the inner suburbs. In similar fashion I groan each time I learn of one of the aging garden-styled complexes in Arlington's Columbia Pike corridor being renovated because then those granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, and other "yuppie must-haves" push 1-BR rent prices up from a manageable $1,100/month to $1,500/month, once again catering to the higher-class demographic and leaving those squeezed in the "too rich" for subsidized housing and "too poor" for market-rate rent with fewer and fewer options to fight over. There are tons of people here who are like me and earn $40,000-$50,000 salaries. I, for one, currently live in an older apartment with maintenance issues, old appliances, a cramped and dated kitchen, worn carpeting, rodents, etc., but I'm not complaining because I CHOOSE to live in a place like this because it's all I can afford. If this complex decided to jack my rent up by $200/month (as my last complex did) in order to justify renovations, then where would I go?

That's my largest beef with all these tear-downs. You're taking homes worth $400,000-$450,000 that people would love to live in and adore as cute "starter homes" and replacing them with $750,000 McMansions. Continue to reduce that supply of middle-class-oriented housing, and you'll continue to see more and more sprawl as the middle-class is forced to live in places like Gainesville, Bristow, Stafford, or, yes, even Winchester. Why is seemingly all new construction in this area upscale-oriented? I can't find a newer apartment complex, even in Leesburg, that isn't "upscale." Just about all new construction homes I've seen are upscale. If we're only building new housing for the affluent outside the Beltway and are reducing the supply of these older "unremarkable" homes inside the Beltway in favor of upscale replacements, then how and where are the middle-class ever supposed to purchase their own homes?
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:48 PM
 
4,392 posts, read 4,699,452 times
Reputation: 1923
Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
It's also a bit unfortunate, in my opinion, that the NoVA cheerleaders pounce onto every reply of mine and try to discredit me as being an irrelevant villain for having opinions contrariwise to the "sunshine aura" of this sub-forum, but I digress. Rhetoric? How so? It's no surprise I think NoVA outside the Beltway could have (and should have) been better planned so now we won't have to endure massive tax hikes in the coming years to retrofit the area with infrastructural amenities it could have (and should have) had a long time ago. It's also no secret that if the OP is seeking the "Del Ray" or "Old Town" of the Reston/Herndon area she's going to likely be disappointed. I caved and gave cdmurphy the benefit of the doubt since her native Brambleton at least tried to be forward-thinking, unlike much of the rest of the Dulles area, which just built in a hurry to house a growing population in typical Sunbelt-like fashion and is now suffering the consequences of unchecked growth and sprawl leading to increasing congestion.

If you're challenging me to walk around Vienna to photograph cute older homes that have been torn down for tasteless new construction, then I'd be more than happy to oblige you. There are quite a few just along Nutley Street alone that stick out like sore thumbs, and I can think of one cute older house in particular there that now sits in between two McMansions that overshadow it. There's one on the northwestern corner of Lawyers Road & Wilmar Place that is especially hideous. There are actually two more just up from this intersection along Wilmar Place that look exactly alike and also do not "flow" well with the rest of the neighborhood. Yes, some "tear downs" have indeed been done in a tasteful manner. The ones I reference (and many others I'd photograph in a photo tour) are not respectful of the adjacent neighborhood and dwarf surrounding homes. This is all a battle of aesthetics, anyways. People in NoVA (besides me) seem to love vinyl and front-facing garages. I don't.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see given the OP's specifications how any part of Reston could offer the same walkable, quaint, "crunchy", and dense vibe afforded to those who live in Old Town or Del Ray, where they ideally would like to live and are hoping to find a recreation of. I gave CDMurphy's Brambleton more of a free pass because the residential areas there tend to "flow" better with the town center area than is the case with the residential areas near to Reston Town Center, and I appreciate that.

I make my general disdain for all that Reston continues to lack well-known on this forum; however, I've also done an excellent job in various other threads pointing out all of its positive, strengths, and glowing opportunities for those who are seeking a "place with good recreational areas for a growing family" or a "place with lots of 30-something childless couples." It's just as irresponsible to direct an Old Town-lover to Reston as it would be to direct a 22-year-old single gay person with an affinity for the city. Reston fits a certain demographic---liberal/crunchy 50-somethings who like to walk the trails and commune with nature, young families who appreciate the parks, lush vegetation, community center, etc., people who work in Reston and want a short commute, etc. It doesn't (nor should it) appeal to those seeking nostalgia, history, walkability, or urbanity. If and when I succeed in shutting up the NIMBYs here the proposed large-scale redevelopment of Reston accompanying the Metrorail should make the Reston of 2020 a phenomenally better place to ANY demographic group. Until that time I can't in good conscience recommend this place to someone who seeks the same qualities in a neighborhood that I do because I've lived here 1.5 years now and am still trying to finance my way out.
Yes, there are some ugly new houses in the Town of Vienna that may overshadow their neighbors. Feel free to post the pictures if you want to have a snarky contest as to which house is the ugliest. But I think they generally are the exception, and that the majority of the new houses in Vienna are quite attractive, both in appearance and as sited relative to adjacent properties. In any event, as several others have also noted, charming old bungalows weren't being torn down to be replaced with these properties, as you incorrectly stated. There are some other, truly historic properties in the Wendover section of Vienna, and no one is going to tear down those properties to build a house with vinyl siding and a front-side garage.

There are many, many posters on this sub-forum who like their neighborhoods, warts and all, and freely share their impressions of the good, the bad and the ugly with others. You seem to notice only the warts, and to take pleasure only when others subscribe to an equally negative point of view.

Last edited by JEB77; 09-07-2010 at 08:04 PM..
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:00 PM
 
7 posts, read 5,421 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by novadc View Post
Are there any towns out that way with cute little mains streets with boutiques, or is it all McMansions and big box stores?
Also, we like the bungalow-type style of houses like in DelRay or Arlington- are all the houses out that way McMansions?
Last question, living all the way out there, do you feel like you're part of DC? Sometimes "suburbia" seems like it could be Pittsburgh, Augusta GA, anywhere, etc. Do you find living out there still very expensive?
I would take a look at both Leesburg and Brambleton (currently live). I've lived in both towns and both have exceptional qualities. Leesburg has the quaint old town feeling and you have plenty of access to the historic western loudoun towns, but also has plenty of "new" town amenities. It can get a little hectic on the weekends w/ in-town & the crossroads of traffic (via Rt 7 & Rt 15)

Brambleton is a great place to raise kids, is a little closer than Leesburg, and is poised to become the largest community in Loudoun. I've always felt it has the strongest community spirit out of any other place I have ever lived. It really is one of the places where neighbors block off the streets to have cookouts, etc.-may sound cheesy now, but its great, especially with kids . Plus- we really don't leave the community- my dentist is at the town center, doctor, gym, movie theater, optometrist, toy store, a diverse restaraunt choice, etc, and most importantly Target is 9 minutes away. I don't consider it "faux" at all, its just new.

Having lived in the Nova suburbs my whole life, I have never felt a disconnection to being part of the DC area. We still head down there at least monthly and its a quick 45 minute shot on the weekends.

Either way, I think Loudoun has a great balance between the old & new, considering rural options to the west & urban options to the east.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,889 posts, read 44,218,701 times
Reputation: 10730
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I see RR's post triggered a comment on your part, too. Thanks for not letting it go unanswered.
Why is it that people on this sub-forum feel the need to cyber-high-five and "thank" one another for "putting me in my place", more or less? Just because my opinions may be unpopular doesn't make them invalid or worthy or needing correction. I've been to Del Ray. I've been to Old Town. Suggesting that Vienna, Brambleton, or Reston Town Center fills that void is a stretch. Yes, Vienna would be the closest contender with Church Street being a much smaller version of Mt. Vernon Avenue, but if being "family-oriented" is its strongest selling point, then I'd be concerned and unimpressed, as that is what the entirety of the rest of NoVA outside the Beltway uses as its primary selling point as well.

Michgc nailed the strengths of Vienna, as I knew she would (hence why I did name-drop to lure her into the thread to try to comment on her town). I still don't see anything in this part of the area, though, rivaling anything inside the Beltway. As Tone509 said this part of the area was developed largely in the past 30 years. That doesn't bode well from an urban planning standpoint.

If I really had to stretch the options?
1.) Falls Church City (Maybe)
2.) Vienna (Maybe)
3.) Fairfax City (Small)
4.) Brambleton ("Faux" Atmosphere)
5.) Reston ("Faux" Atmosphere)
6.) Old Town Herndon (Small)
7.) Old Town Leesburg (Distant/Congested)
8.) Anyplace else
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
7,659 posts, read 11,069,120 times
Reputation: 2160
It appears that we have entered into another circular discussion about the quality of life here in Northern Virginia. One thing that many of us do seem to agree on is that the aesthetics and convenience of the area outside of Alexandria/Arlington often leave something to be desired. However...while we cannot change the past, we can work actively towards the future. In fact, the future has already started.

Meanwhile in the present...most everyone who lives here will have had to make some sort of compromise in their standard of living, whether they're single, a couple, or a family. If one is willing to deal with a longer commute or a smaller/shared home, most other wants and needs will fall into place. The rare household that can find "everything" they desire in NOVA either has the resources to be content anywhere...or is simply easy to please. I believe if the OP and her family are able to prioritize what is most important to them, they will likely not sweat the smaller stuff.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:12 PM
 
4,392 posts, read 4,699,452 times
Reputation: 1923
Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
Why is it that people on this sub-forum feel the need to cyber-high-five and "thank" one another for "putting me in my place", more or less? Just because my opinions may be unpopular doesn't make them invalid or worthy or needing correction. I've been to Del Ray. I've been to Old Town. Suggesting that Vienna, Brambleton, or Reston Town Center fills that void is a stretch. Yes, Vienna would be the closest contender with Church Street being a much smaller version of Mt. Vernon Avenue, but if being "family-oriented" is its strongest selling point, then I'd be concerned and unimpressed, as that is what the entirety of the rest of NoVA outside the Beltway uses as its primary selling point as well.

Michgc nailed the strengths of Vienna, as I knew she would (hence why I did name-drop to lure her into the thread to try to comment on her town). I still don't see anything in this part of the area, though, rivaling anything inside the Beltway. As Tone509 said this part of the area was developed largely in the past 30 years. That doesn't bode well from an urban planning standpoint.

If I really had to stretch the options?
1.) Falls Church City (Maybe)
2.) Vienna (Maybe)
3.) Fairfax City (Small)
4.) Brambleton ("Faux" Atmosphere)
5.) Reston ("Faux" Atmosphere)
6.) Old Town Herndon (Small)
7.) Old Town Leesburg (Distant/Congested)
8.) Anyplace else
I (and, I suspect, others) corrected you not because your opinions are unpopular, but because your facts were wrong. They conveyed the false impression that folks in towns like Vienna are boors who repeatedly and gladly tear down charming, historic properties to construct architectural monstrosities, when the fact is that the torn-down properties generally aren't particularly distinctive, at least from an architectural point of view, and are more often than not replaced by more attractive (if less affordable) homes. And that will be my final comment on the topic.

Last edited by JEB77; 09-07-2010 at 08:27 PM..
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