Broker and builder experiment with home design

The dining room in the home of Judy Craft in The Enclave at Lochmere Estates.
The dining room in the home of Judy Craft in The Enclave at Lochmere Estates. Photo by Joseph Rey Au

With 30 years in the real estate business under her belt – as a Realtor, as a builder and now as a broker – Judy Craft had a pretty good idea of what she wanted in a home.

“I’ve built a lot of houses and you figure out what you want and what’s important to you over the years,” she said.

Working as the principal broker for Milestone Realty Consultants, Judy is very familiar with the work of Ball Homes, whom Milestone represents.

“I love Ball Homes,” she said. “I think they do a great job and have a great product. I’m a believer.”

So when she got tired of living in an older home that seemed to need repairs done every time she turned around, Judy started investigating Ball Homes’ offerings.

“I went to Walnut Hill Club, which is Ball’s townhome community, and I really loved half of one townhome (the Tuscany) and half a ranch plan (the Whitney) they did, so they combined them for me,” she said.

The hybrid floor plans became the Claremont, a split-bedroom design that suits Judy perfectly. She says Ball Homes often tries out new house plans with her.

“The thing about this one, Ball Homes did a lot of stuff for me that they wouldn’t typically do,” Judy said. “They experiment with me. Some things they are thinking about, such as trying a product or not, they’ll go, ‘Judy’s building a house; we’ll try it in hers and see if she likes it.’” Her current house on Lochmere Place in The Enclave at Lochmere Estates is her fifth Ball Home.

“It’s an experiment and it’s working,” she said.

Open concept

When Ball Homes bought the property located off Hayes Boulevard for The Enclave at Lochmere Estates, Judy knew she wanted to live there.

“It’s where I want to be because of so many reasons – the fact that the lots are wider, they’re all-brick homes, they do the mowing for you,” she said. “There’s a lot of common areas out here. I’ve enjoyed that part of it.”

With approximately 57 home sites, The Enclave at Lochmere Estates is a small, close-knit community that has made Judy feel right at home.

“I like that it’s a smaller community,” she said. “You know everybody. We’ve had a meet-and-greet and two Christmas parties. We just had our first neighborhood picnic and we had over 90 people, which was a huge turnout.”

Judy planned her home carefully. “I wanted to use every room in the house,” she said. “I did not want to have a house where the upstairs was closed off, where I didn’t use everything.”

She also wanted an open concept. The original Claremont had a wall that had a cut-out between the kitchen and the family room.

“I didn’t want division between the kitchen and the family area,” Judy said. “I wanted something that was all open.”

Instead of the usual pine flooring, Judy chose cypress flooring. This is not an option Ball Homes offers; it was something Judy had to do on her own.

“I wanted a pine floor because I like that cottage look,” Judy said. “But a decorator friend of mine said pine is so soft and if you wear any type of heel, it’s going to make dents in the floor. She said I ought to do cypress, which I had never even thought of.”

She is very pleased with the way the floor turned out because it has the look of pine flooring and gives the house the warm, cozy feeling she sought.

Come on in

The three-bedroom floor plan makes a complete circle of the interior. In the owner’s suite, there is a bright and sunny sitting room. The original plan had sliding doors but Judy decided she didn’t need them.

“I like that it’s all big and opens into the bedroom,” she said.

The owner’s-suite bathroom includes a double vanity, a garden tub, a separate shower and a private commode enclosure. Additional convenient features include a pantry and a folding counter and plenty of storage in the utility room that leads to the two-car garage. In the kitchen, there is a gas cooktop, a typical Ball Homes upgrade, and a large island. Judy added a farmhouse sink herself because she wanted a deeper, larger sink next to the little sink.

Perhaps her favorite spot is the sun porch out back. She had one on the home she lived in prior to moving to The Enclave at Lochmere Estates and wanted to replicate that amenity.

“I just enjoyed it so much, so when I built this home, that was one of the things that was super important to me,” Judy said. “They built the covered porch for me and I had it screened in, and that’s the place where I stay a lot. I really enjoy it. It’s just a nice kind of a getaway, an extension of the house.”

While she spends much of her time out back, she also appreciates the large front porch.

“I never had a house with a front porch on it before,” she said. “My aunt would always say you want your house to say ‘come on in.’ To me, a front porch goes a long way toward saying that, so I was really glad to have a front porch that’s large enough so you could sit on it. When I come into my home, I want to feel like I can relax, and I want my friends to feel welcome here, too.”