Homes of the Year: $500,000 and less
HOMEOWNERS: Michael Grimes BUILDER: Brett Godfrey, Built By Brett, Inc.
Of the 45 homes that are in the Woodfield Park development southwest of Springfield, Brett Godfrey has built all but ten of them. But it was his entry for the 2007 Parade of Homes that is our winner in the $500,000 and under category. The five-bedroom, three-bath home provides a warm and inviting base for its current homeowner–an auto parts representative who is often on the road traveling nationally and globally for his job.
Located near the James River, the subdivision of Woodfield Park is a heavily wooded community. Security gates, acres of common areas, a community swimming pool and a walking trail make this development appealing to people seeking to build. Michael Grime’s cottage-style home, which was finished in June 2007, took nine months to complete.
“I spend a lot of time with a floor plan before I build. I try to live in the house in my head,” says builder Brett Godfrey of Built by Brett, Inc. It is that kind of detail that sets his homes apart and gives them a unique market edge. “I also try to minimize hallways and maximize storage,” he adds.
Carpet & Tile
Drive & Patio
Drywall & Hand Texture
Mirrors, shower doors
This first floor walkout house has a total of 4,552 square-feet split between two floors. There are three bedrooms up and two down, along with three full baths–no half baths. When Grimes was shopping for a home, it was the details of Godfrey’s house that caught his attention. “I sold my first house sooner than I thought,” he says, “and I looked at 35 to 40 homes before I settled on this one. Many of the homes looked exactly the same, but this one stood out,” he says.
Small, meaningful details that Godfrey used throughout the home set it apart from the masses. “I used trim details, cabinet details and different finishes in this home,” he says. For flooring, Godfrey used white oak throughout the house and travertine in the master bath and shower. Neutral carpet in the bedrooms and basement family room add warmth and texture.
The heart of a home is often the kitchen, and this winner is no exception. This 35-foot long room has 16-foot high ceilings and custom details throughout the space that includes a great room. Knotty-alder cabinets and granite countertops in two different colors offer visual interest to the large room. “I chose black granite near the stainless cook top to add movement against the neutral stone color on the island,” Godfrey says. Stainless appliances, including a freestanding gas convection range, complete the space. A dramatic oven vent trimmed extends the height of the room. An elaborate scrolled iron chandelier hangs above the island.
In an area between the kitchen area and the great room, Godfrey crafted a built-in banquette for extra seating. “The space really lent itself to building a banquette in this particular area,” he says. A bench trimmed in bead board and tossed with pillows sits in front of a tall bookcase that is also backed with stained bead board. Recessed lights illuminate the coves and shelving, providing a perfect place for cookbooks or platters. Pendant lights hang above the table, and two additional iron chairs provide seating for four.
The kitchen/great room combination opens up at one end with a built-in plaster gas fireplace trimmed with architectural cornices. Windows to the back yard bring in natural sunlight. Homeowner Grimes considers this room his favorite place to unwind when he is home. “I would say I spend most of my time in the great room, although the whirlpool tub is a great feature as well,” he says.
The master bath, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling, is a particular favorite of the builder. The dramatic lighting in the room, coupled with a gold metallic hand-applied finish to the ceiling, offer a glow to the space. Painted wood cabinets closely resemble furniture. Honed marble countertops are used as countertops for the two individual vanities that mirror each other.
Painted picture frame wood-trim details, paired with subtle tonal wallpaper, offer a restful appearance to the master bath space. The builder chose to use wallpaper in this room as a cost saving measure, and he is ultimately happy with the final look. He credits decorator Joan Summers from James Décor for lending a hand to the interior design of the home.
Triple-arched large windows with mullions in the dining room give the space a large open feel. An iron chandelier hangs in the center of the table. Walls are painted in a shade of gold.
Leading to the lower level, tile stairs with wood nosing provides an unexpected detail. “I would say that this unusual treatment of tile and wood got the most attention during the Parade of Homes,” says Godfrey. “People certainly picked up on that.”
A large recreation room makes up the lower level of the house, along with two other bedrooms. Defying gravity, one end of a counter for the wet bar suspends freely, while the other end is held in place by a large timber beam. The brushed steel counter adds a modern, rustic touch. A light fixture made up entirely of martini glasses floats above the steel counter, in a humorous nod to the bar aspect of the space. “I was flipping through a catalog when I saw those lights and they caught my eye as being perfect for the bar,” says Godfrey.
A raised gas-burning brick fireplace takes center stage between a glass door cabinet for barware and a small sink. Pewter tiles with a “pillow” puffed look make up the backsplash. Under cabinet and in-cabinet lights cast a light to the wall.
A three-car garage with wood trim detail separating the coves, and a winding front walkway add to the charming cottage-like appearance of this home. Wavy cedar siding and a custom color in the brick mortar created a standout exterior. “We used a large aggregate in the sand of the mortar to give it an Old World look,” says Godfrey. “If you look closely you can see the sand pebbles.” A small dormer window above the garage is a cosmetic detail that breaks up the roof line.
Godfrey, who has been in business since 1986, has built about 150 homes. He admits that it is always a challenge to stay within a budget when building a new home. “My wife Sherry is the money gal who rides herd over me regarding the budget,” he says. “She handles me like a custom client. We check in with each other often to see where we are cost-wise on a project.”
Godfrey adds that communication with his suppliers and tradesman is imperative to getting their estimates and running costs gathered and working within a budget. “I have a team of subcontractors that I have pulled together over the years who work extremely well with each other,” he says, “and that makes for a smooth assembly of a house.”
For homeowner Grimes that also means minimal change to the home since he moved in. “It was clear that the builder had a vision for this home,” he says. “So fortunately there isn’t anything major I have had to do.”