Lexington homebuilder designs ranch home with modern amenities

One of Drew McLellan’s latest building projects in Lexington revealed just how much infill and redevelopment is up and coming.

McLellan, of HM Homebuilders, was approached by Lois Moffett in 2015 for a project at 3101 Comanche Trail, Lexington. Moffett was living in Shelbyville at the time, and she was looking to move closer to her daughters.

“She couldn’t find a lot on the south side (of Lexington) near her children. There really aren’t many lots left in southern Fayette County,” McLellan said.

Moffett’s daughter owned rental property at the Comanche Trail address, which was situated in a neighborhood built in the 1960s.

“Her interest was to tear down the rental property and then build a home for her,” McLellan said. “We worked with her to design a one-story ranch home that fit her needs.”

Moffett said she wasn’t looking to build, but decided on it after looking at more than a dozen houses and seeing how much repair they needed. Her new home might still be a little more than she needs, but it’s where she plans to retire.

“(The house) is about 2,500 square feet, which is half the size of where I moved from,” she said. “It’s a nice neighborhood, a beautiful lot, beautiful trees and lovely neighbors. I’m very comfortable.”

McLellan said he designed the home to still fit furniture pieces from her larger home. The house, built with an open concept design, is something Moffett said she’s had to get adjusted to.

“I had a more formal home, so it’s taken me a while to get used to (it),” she said. (Drew) has such a good imagination. He does such quality work. (My husband and I) were builders, and I was pleased with his quality of work.”

The design team put in two laundry rooms; one in her master suite for daily activities and one near the back of the home in the multi-purpose room. Moffett said she uses the room for games, sewing and other crafts.

“It’s a warm, sunny room, so I can keep plants in there,” she said. “It works out fine for everything we need in there.”

McLellan said they also put in some “nooks and crannies” to accommodate Moffett’s antiques and other furniture.

It was built with materials that were relatively maintenance-free for Moffett, McLellan said, like vinyl windows, an all-brick exterior, and reinvented sheet materials for flooring so she wouldn’t have grout joints to deal with in her bathrooms.

“She (won’t) have dirty tile or shower maintenance,” McLellan said. “We have new and improved acrylic showers…that are easier to clean. We tried to make it as easy as possible for her to take care of the home.”

They also built the house with as few steps as possible.

“Minimal steps was the key for ease of entry and exit of the home,” he said.

The home was built for Moffett with two bedrooms and other rooms she desired, but McLellan said it could be changed in the future.

“We built it in such a way that she could choose later or someone down the road could convert the area into a three- to four-bedroom home instead of just two like she has. It gave her flexibility,” he said.

The exterior was designed to be very understated, with all brick and little ornamentation. The interior was also relatively understated, McLellan said, but still was designed with things like crown moldings, French doors, pocket doors and other modern amenities.

“The neat thing about this was with Lexington and the constant tug and pull with land availability to build homes, we’re finding that we’re having to do a lot more infill and redevelopment,” McLellan said. “(We) take a home that has outlasted its usefulness and reuse the lot to build a home up to today’s standards.”

Moffett’s home was built in the Indian Hills subdivision, an older subdivision where the lots are very large.

“It accommodates being able to put a nice, large ranch (home) on it,” he said. “Our population is aging, and people (look for) one-floor living. It’s hard to find the lots to put them on that are reasonably priced.”

That’s why he’s found going into older subdivisions where homes are outdated and razing those homes to redevelop has become more and more common.

“In the new construction areas in Lexington, the lots are much smaller. Ranch homes need a bigger lot, and if you find one for a ranch, it’s expensive. (It’s all about) supply and demand,” McLellan said. “In smaller, older neighborhoods, it makes sense to raze the house and start a new one, and in this case, that’s what we did.”

“It’s a lovely home and he thought of everything,” Moffett said. “He did such a good job.”