Timothy Saylor wants to offer a different type of subdivision living experience.
To achieve that goal, Saylor is developing Craftsman Village, a subdivision at the south edge of Nappanee between Jackson Street and Ind. 19.
“The way the site is designed, its intent is on creating a community,” Saylor said.
Dirt is being moved by heavy equipment this week at the 44-acre property to create a buffer area for a three-acre recreational pond. The pond will also serve as a stormwater retention basin. That’s an unusual combination Saylor said, as some subdivision ponds are polluted by herbicides and pesticides running off from yards. The village’s pond, according to Saylor, will be surrounded by three-acres of buffering native prairie plants and grasses that will filter rainwater runoff. Also, the pond will have two swimming beaches and a sand volleyball court will be next to the beach.
Other amenities will be a community garden and adjacent playground and a grassy commons area near an entrance. Also, the sidewalks will be wide and the streets narrow.
“We are trying to create an environment where people can get out and walk,” Saylor said.
He said people who live in the subdivision will have internal destinations to walk to, including the pond and garden.
“We want to be able to free people from their car... as much as that is possible in this day and age,” he said.
But the main feature of the subdivision will be the homes. Craftsman is an architectural term that dates to the late 19th century. Such homes feature quality craftsmanship with some ornate trim. Saylor said one noticeable feature of such houses are extended roof overhangs. These style homes are common in the Midwest, with many having been built in the 1930s.
The houses built in the Craftsman style are also know colloquially as “bungalows” or “four-squares,” according to Saylor.
Keeping with the concept of building a community using the Craftsman style homes, Saylor said, “All the homes will have front porches that will be wide enough so people can sit out and use them.”
The homes will also be placed closer to the streets than current homes in subdivisions. The reason? “So someone can have a conversation with their neighbor,” Saylor said.
While the Craftsman style dates to the 19th century, Saylor said the homes that will be built in his development will have modernized interiors.
“The great thing we are doing is taking that architectural style and putting modern floor plans with them,” Saylor said.
The neighborhood will also look much different than the cookie-cutter housing tracts that have gone up across Elkhart County. Instead of rows of beige vinyl-clad homes with two-car garages sticking out the front of each home, Saylor said the Craftsman Village homes will be colorful and garages will be placed back on the lots.
“Unfortunately, modern subdivisions are designed for the car, not the people,” Saylor said. “Craftsman villages are designed for the people while accommodating the car. That’s a big difference.”
Builder and sales
Reliance Builders in Nappanee is the approved contractor for the subdivision, Saylor said, and has house plans on hand for those interested in viewing them. Mary Dale of Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber is the Realtor for the project.
“The neighborhood is open to other real estate agents who bring buyers in a co-brokerage arrangement with Mary Dale,” Saylor said. “And we are open to other house plans subject to meeting the craftsman architectural guidelines.”
Saylor said he has people interested in building in the subdivision, but they have to wait for the infrastructure at the site to be finished near end of the month. There will be an open house at the property from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
Saylor is the sole developer of the project through his company Innovative Communities. He is an engineer who lives in Goshen.
He came across the vacant land at the end of Jackson Street back in 2007 when he was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. The property was not eligible for the organization’s needs as it sits just inside Kosciusko County, according to Saylor. He developed a plan for the site and was ready to go forward when the recession and housing bust struck in 2008. Now that the local housing market is again on the uptick, Saylor said he felt it was time to start the project.
The first phase will be eight lots and the next phase will include the pond and more housing.
“I envision the project building out over 10 years or so,” Saylor said.