Downtown Brambleton, Va., offers townhouses with a ‘high walkability score’
The story of the three-generation Osentoski-Ondrus family’s new home began with a flier and ended with a four-story elevator townhouse in Downtown Brambleton.
“Sophie and Chris, my daughter and son-in-law, go to the gym all the time. One day there, they picked up an advertisement for Downtown Brambleton. They came home and said, ‘We have to go see this place,’” said Gerri Osentoski, one of the family matriarchs.
Downtown Brambleton is a collection of 48 condominium townhouses — with three floor plans — clustered around an urbanlike town center with dozens of retail, dining and entertainment options in Ashburn, Va. Brambleton overall is the 2,000-acre residential community that opened in 2001 and continues to grow. It’s in Loudoun County, about 40 miles west of Georgetown in the District.
The Knutson Cos. is one several home builders in Brambleton.
“My thoughts and vision have been, and continue to be, that this location in Loudoun County affords a high walkability score,” said Donald W. Knutson, builder of Downtown Brambleton. “I was convinced that there would be buyers who’d park their cars and walk to restaurants and the cinema. Our community is proof positive that an interest in walkability isn’t something that exists just in downtown D.C. Walkability definitely exists in certain locations in the suburbs, too.”
Six people ranging in age from 15 to 75 make up the Osentoski-Ondrus family. “It all works for us here, and it’s fun,” said Osentoski, 69, the mother of Sophie, “because everyone has their own space. It doesn’t seem crowded. No one is on top of each other.”
Togetherness and privacy: Rooms are spacious, and the layout is flexible. Stephanie Ondrus, 75, the other matriarch and the mother of Chris, lives on the ground level in a full bedroom and bathroom suite with a micro-kitchen and stackable washer-dryer down the hall. “She’s totally independent. She has the whole floor to herself and can take the elevator upstairs anytime. And when she’s with us upstairs and gets tired, she can take the elevator down,” Osentoski said.
“Like a single-family home”: Big single-hung and casement windows fill the walls. “It definitely feels like a single-family home,” said Deborah Condrey, one of two sales managers. “Even the interior units are light and bright and seem like a private house.”
A unique option offered is installation of roof solar panels. “So far, two buyers have selected it,” Knutson said. “We anticipated some interest, and it’s part of our approach to the kind of living we offer.” The cost is $25,000.
Construction also includes features that go beyond code, said Chris Rouse, construction project manager. Foam insulation is sprayed into all flat exterior ceilings; walls shared by neighboring townhouses are insulated to enhance sound deadening; and exterior corners are sealed.
What’s nearby: Brambleton Town Center has dozens of commercial outlets and its own Facebook page — @brambletontc — listing things going on and local commentary. There are 250 acres of common-area green space, 15 miles of trails, a golf course, many parks, a sports center, Harris Teeter and a new county public library now under construction.
Schools: Madison’s Trust Elementary, Brambleton Middle, Rock Ridge High.
Transit: From the District, Downtown Brambleton is reached via Interstate 66 East, Virginia Route 267 West to Exit 7 onto Loudoun County Parkway, and then Ryan Road. Follow the signs to Brambleton. A Park & Ride bus runs through the community.
Chris and Sophie’s bedroom, adjoining bathroom and lounge are on the fourth floor. The lounge is where they hang out when they want to be on their own. A large TV screen hangs on the wall, two comfortable chairs flank it, and there’s a small fridge. Best of all is the huge roof deck outside a glass door wall.
“Quality outdoor space is important to people, especially those moving from a house with a yard,” Knutson said. “So we went the extra mile with the size of our outdoor terraces.”
On Chris and Sophie’s terrace is a six-person rectangular table, another smaller table, a sectional couch and three chairs, a grill and a supersize planter with flowers. Some people install an outdoor fireplace and TV.
As for the rest of the family, 15-year-old Nick and 18-year-old Hannah Ondrus occupy two bedrooms on the third floor, and their grandmother, Osentoski, is in the master suite.
“The second floor is where we meet,” Osentoski said. That’s the main living area with kitchen, great room and dining room area designed as an open plan space.