WHY IT WORKED: Builder Miller and Smith has lots of experience with the affluent move-down, empty-nester, so it knew what bells and whistles to throw at this project, including expansive glass, decks, and patios on the lake-facing rear elevation, Nantucket-style shingles, and a host of top-notch interior features.

  • To achieve the best views of the lake and to minimize the appearance of size, front elevations were designed at two and a half stories rather than three stories.
  • Formal and informal living areas are nicely divided on the main level, with the more informal rooms oriented toward the lake views out back.
  • An optional fireplace is available on the terrace-level patio, plus there's room—and privacy—for a hot tub.

    Project: Stone Lake, Laurel, Md.; Sales started: June 2003; Sales through May 2004: 32; Units planned: 37 (32 released); Price: $519,990 to $670,00; Unit size: 3,062 to 3,282 square feet; Builder: Miller and Smith, McLean, Va.; Developer: The Rouse Co., Columbia, Md.; Architect: Torti, Gallas and Partners, Silver Spring, Md.; Land planner: Gutschick Little & Webber, Burtonsville, Md.; Landscape architect: Stadler Nursery, Laytonsville, Md.; Interior designer: Carlyn & Co., Great Falls, Va.