For The Green Co., deciding to go modular when building the Lanterns at Warren Woods in Ashland, Mass., wasn’t just a case study in construction efficiency. The Newton, Mass.–based development company, which has specialized in delivering homes that cater to the 55-plus market for several decades, has been using panelized construction methods since the late ’80s.
The approach—which involves manufacturing wood-frame panels in Queensbury, N.Y., and shipping them to the site to be assembled—enables the firm to speed up the construction process while maintaining quality standards and meeting financial benchmarks. “The only way we can adhere to our target schedules is through panelizing,” says Daniel Green, president at The Green Co. “Framing—from when the work begins to when the house is watertight with the windows in, roofing on, and sheathing on—takes exactly two weeks.”
An equally important priority is the flexibility and comfort the houses offer. When conceptualizing the Lanterns, which the company developed and designed in collaboration with Irvine, Calif.–based KTGY Architecture + Planning, the two firms relied on extensive research of the local market and demographic to make the 93 single-family, detached homes feel like an upgrade for downsizing empty-nesters. Surrounded by wooded walking trails and water activities such as canoeing, the 40-acre development is also close to supermarkets, shops, and a commuter rail line that offers a direct connection to downtown Boston. “Our buyers are still very active,” says Green. “Their primary needs include moving into a slightly more cozy home that still allows for entertaining and gathering, and living in close proximity of their families in a lively community that also offers privacy.”
The team asked the architects for three floor plans with the flexibility to evolve with residents’ changing needs and make aging in place a comfortable and manageable experience. Ranging in size from 1,650 square feet to 1,950 square feet and selling for $471,000 to $579,000, the homes feature soft interior palettes with modern touches such as sleek, gourmet kitchens. The home’s main public spaces—the dining room and family room—were designed for flexible furniture placement that allows for seating up to 25 guests. For even larger parties, a meeting house and pool may be rented for private use.
As for the home’s bonus spaces, research determined that working from home is as much a part of life for the Lantern’s target market as it is for younger generations, especially for those more established in their careers, so the team added a “tech room” with his-and-hers desks that double as a dedicated nook for emailing, paying bills, or browsing the web. One of the plan’s most unique touches—one-car garages on each side of the house—provide room for storage and a place to park the car. While the sight of stairs in a home designed for active adults may be surprising, all of the main spaces and the master bedroom are on the first floor.
The lofted upper-story space, which includes a second master, private bath, and den, was added to establish a feeling of privacy between the residents and visiting family members or live-in caregivers. The homes are offered in a “condominium-style” form of ownership that includes all amenities, upkeep, and maintenance services—such as plowing and shoveling to keep up with New England’s snowy winters. In warmer months, residents can dine on the covered backyard patio.
“It was important to us to dedicate space to design features that create a true neighborhood feel—such as private, cul-de-sac style pockets, white picket fences, front porches, and a covered outdoor room that seamlessly connects to an adjacent living space inside,” says Nick Lehnert, executive director of design strategies at KTGY. “Overall, the design takes a California aesthetic to the East Coast, but adapts that West Coast, seamless indoor–outdoor lifestyle for New England seasons.
Project The Lanterns at Warren Woods, Village 2
Location Ashland, Mass.
Architect KTGY, Irvine, Calif.
Builder The Green Co., Newton, Mass.
Landscape Architect CBA Landscape Architects, Cambridge, Mass.
Size 1,809 square feet
Cost $145 per square foot