Monday, June 24, 2013

Bridgewater at Carvel Beach


Prior to our recent trip to Maryland, I (Pam) "Googled" Bridgewater Maryland to see what would come up, and found a link for Bridgewater at Carvel Beach, a new-ish subdivision in Anne Arundel County, whose website might lead one to believe that it is located in an area that is perhaps less industrial than this picture  indicates. We took this photo -- it is not an angle that would be featured in the brochure!
The material in the foreground is actually a good thing. To protect the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland actually enforces very stringent requirements to control erosion from active construction sites. Massachusetts has similar requirements, but nobody seems to know or care how to use them.
The smoke stacks at Wagner Station make it look more like it belongs in the opening credits of The Simpsons. Aside from this view, we found that everything possible was being done to distance the development from its surroundings.

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The development is much smaller than we imagined -- only 35 units at the end of a local street -- and was mostly sold out when we arrived. Read more about the development in the faux news article placed in the Baltimore Sun. We did talk to a Realtor who was representing the development; she was on the verge of selling the model home (a McHenry style).

One thing about building thousands of homes -- the builders have time to figure out what really works for kitchen layouts. This kitchen feels more spacious than ours, though it is smaller, and it was actually designed, so that we can imagine cooking and entertaining very effectively in this space.
We walked through the house and found it to be spacious, but without all the extra (and in our opinion, unnecessary) rooms. For instance, the main entrance opened to an open living/dining area and an adjacent kitchen with no additional dining space. There was no separate family room, although it did have a finished basement. There were a lot of bedrooms (five), more than most families would need, but this would not be the case without the optional third floor. The landscaping of the home had the same look as just about every other house built in the country since the late 1990s -- low-maintenance foundation plantings with a bit of color and a lot of lawn chemicals.

The decor was pure Model Home, also known as "Unique, Like Everyone Else" -- full of items to "personalize" spaces in a generic way. Admittedly, a geography-theme pillow worked its magic on me (James), even though it is not really that geographic and was probably made under deplorable conditions.

If my sales resistance gives out -- and my recent nautical bent makes this a real question -- we do not have to buy the whole house. I can cause an identical bit of individual expression to be sent my way with the click of a few buttons.

New housing developments are designed on templates both for economies of scale in construction and for ease of resale. Selling a home depends on people being able to envision staying in it long-term and at the same time being able to sell it themselves. The monotony is broken up slightly with palettes of choices in various kinds of building finishes. In the basement of a model home, the masonry equivalent of fabric swatches allow buyers to choose bricks that range from red to reddish and stonework across a similar spectrum.
The people who prepare model homes are detail-oriented. The "boy" room had a baseball bat in the closet, and the "girl" room was pink, down to the backpack!

It looks like they are also in cahoots with the wedding-industrial complex.
At this point in the Bridgewaters project, we have seen a range of realities. It was interesting to see the name invoked to sell a bit of fantasy in an otherwise gritty neighborhood.