The busy professionals who will weekend at Hudson Woods, a community of 26 wood-and-glass homes in New York's Ulster County, have three choices to make after they sign their contracts with architect Drew Lang: whether the finish on their home's hand-crafted cedar siding will be black or natural; if they would like their standing seam metal roof to be black, gray, or green; and which of the six available colors the tile backsplash behind their kitchen sink will be.
Lang, of Manhattan-based Lang Architecture, chose everything else for them, including concrete countertops; white oak flooring, doors, paneling, and cabinetry; mahogany windows; and stacked-stone retaining walls.
"We saw a need, and a demand, for well-designed housing that's accessible for people close to the city … that's a turnkey product," the architect says. "People can make a small handful of selections and go away, and have their house finished for them."
Although naysayers warned Lang that his idea wouldn't work because luxury-home buyers would want to make their own choices, response so far has proved them wrong. Lang sold 10 of the forested community's 2,875-square-foot homes within nine months of the July 2014 grand opening, and has already raised prices twice—part of the Yale-educated architect's marketing plan to encourage early buyers. The first owners will move in this spring.
Buyers, who pay $665,000 to $815,000 for three bedrooms, two baths, and a garage, were "thankful" for the design direction, says Lang, whose firm serves as architect, developer, and general contractor. "We've tried to make the process as easy and fun for people as possible."
That includes pointing the new homeowners in the direction of local custom furniture makers, whose one-of-a-kind tables, chairs, and sofas complement the homes' modern design and align with the architect's commitment to using native, sustainable building materials.
High-efficiency features like BAXI hot water boilers and radiators, in-floor radiant heating in the master bath, and Nest programmable thermostats come standard. A few uncommon luxuries are offered as options, such as a pool, poolhouse, guesthouse, outdoor kitchen, treehouse, two-story kids' play house, vegetable garden, fruit tree grove, greenhouse, or a third floor, among others; more common add-ons such as a kitchen pantry or island also are available.
Once the homeowners are settled in, they may opt to take advantage of post-construction services like house and property maintenance, rental management, gardening, or transportation, arranged for by Lang's shop. Also available are beekeeping, personal training, personal assistant services, food shopping, and a chef.