A rising townhouse community for people with places to go

14 min read
The Washington Post

Seeking to shorten their commute, Hoa “Kevin” Tieu and Bi Chuy Kim were the first to buy a townhouse at Chapman Row in Rockville, Md. Tieu, 42, a medical technology specialist, and Kim, 35, a pharmacist, have been trekking from their condo in Gaithersburg to jobs at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

“Traffic is getting worse and backing everything up,” said Tieu, who was born in China. “If you leave at the wrong time, it can take you one hour and 15 minutes to get to work.”

The two decided to buy in the Chapman Row community, primarily because of its location. The development, which will have 61 townhouses when completed, is two blocks from the Twinbrook Metro station. Within walking distance are a variety of grocery stores, restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment venues.

“It’s only about five minutes from our favorite Korean barbecue restaurant,” Tieu said. He and Kim signed a contract for a Chapman Row townhouse in January and expect to move into the three-bedroom home in August.

The four-level townhouses at Chapman Row are available in two floor plans, the Ellison and Granger. Both have three bedrooms, roof terraces and rear garages. Their modern exteriors feature brick veneer, vinyl siding and bays paneled with fiber-cement board.

The major difference between the two designs is two feet in width. The Ellison is 16 feet wide and starts at $699,900; the Granger is 18 feet wide and starts at $799,900. The Granger is available only as an end unit, and nine were initially for sale.

Noise-resistant: The townhouses are arranged around the “Bosque,” a 10,000-square-foot park, now under construction, with water features and landscaping. A sound barrier has been erected along the eastern boundary where it abuts train tracks. The townhouses are further shielded from noise and vibrations because they are built on thick concrete foundations and the windows are fitted with insulated glass.

A pair of model townhouses demonstrates the options in the Ellison open floor plan. One has the kitchen in the center of the main floor; the other’s kitchen is in the rear. The Granger is offered only with the kitchen in the middle.

Tieu and Kim are paying about $800,000 for the Ellison floor plan with the central kitchen. “The living area looks much bigger and open with the kitchen in the middle than at the rear,” Tieu said. They also chose upgrades such as engineered-hardwood flooring throughout, KitchenAid appliances and a rain shower head in the master bathroom.

At ground level, both Ellison model townhouses have a finished room at the front, staged as a home office and with access to the one-car garage. A utility room and storage niche are on one side of the garage, and a semi-covered parking space at the rear can accommodate a second vehicle.

On the main floor in both Ellison models, the kitchen, dining area and great room share end-to-end open space. The model with the central kitchen has the dining area in front and a large great room in the rear. In the other model unit, the kitchen, in the rear, adjoins a spacious dining area, and the great room is in front. The ceilings on this floor are nine feet high.

Smart home technology: Optional upgrades on the main level include a deck off the rear, a gas fireplace in the great room and a powder room entered from the stair landing. Engineered-hardwood flooring is standard on this level and in the entryway from the street.

The Homesmart technology package from Amazon, which comes standard, allows lights, blinds, thermostat, garage door and other elements to be operated remotely. (Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

In both Ellison model units, a stained-oak staircase leads up from the main level to the bedroom level, where the ceilings are also nine feet high. The owner’s suite, with two walk-in closets, is in the rear, and its bathroom has a two-sink vanity and a glass-fronted shower. A second bedroom, in the front, also has its own bathroom. Closets for linens and a stacked washer-dryer are in the hallway.

The top floor, where the ceilings are eight feet high, has a third bedroom and a hall bathroom. Another room — either in the rear or the front, depending on the home site’s location within the development — is called the “loft.” This adaptable space could be used as a TV lounge, a playroom, a hobby room or another living area. Outside the loft is a sizable roof terrace.

“What’s great about the loft is that it opens to the rooftop terrace and can become an entertainment space,” said Tieu, who is planning to install the optional wet bar in the room. “All you need is a hammock and a barbecue on the terrace.”

What’s nearby: Chapman Row is within walking distance of a Safeway, a Trader Joe’s and a Fresh Market. Also nearby is the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center, with a Giant, a Target, a Barnes & Noble, other stores and various restaurants. A few blocks away, the Pike & Rose development has a wide variety of retail, service, dining and entertainment options. A Wegmans grocery store and a one-acre park are part of the Twinbrook Quarter project, a commercial and residential development planned on 18 acres next to the Twinbrook Metro station.

Transit: The Twinbrook Metro station is about two blocks from Chapman Row. Bus service on nearby Rockville Pike includes the RideOn 46, which runs from Montgomery College to the National Institutes of Health. Chapman Row is 2.4 miles from the Rockville MARC commuter rail station and about five miles from the Capital Beltway.

Schools: Montgomery County’s Farmland Elementary, Tilden Middle and Walter Johnson High.

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