Do you live in a development?

Photo courtesy of Sam Bebe/Ecotrust

Work has me in northern Virginia this week. After spending two days in the suburbs just outside Washington, DC, I've moved west to the more distant suburbs.

Despite living in new construction myself, I can't help but look at the massive developments here and wonder what life is like for those who live in these planned neighborhoods. People must identify themselves by the name of their complex (they all use words like "thrace" or "glen" in their European sounding names) and having a GPS is critical since Stoney Village Boulevard will intersect Stoney Village Place and Stoney Village Parkway, probably at a traffic circle, at some point.

My complex in Charlottesville only consists of a dozen or so buildings on one street. There are three or four different building styles, so there are never two buildings with the same facade next to each other. I realize that this is why I found the complex a little more comfortable than others.

Do you live in a complex? Does your home look like others on your street? What have you done to distinguish your house from the others? What is life like in these larger housing developments?


  1. When I first got married, my husband and I lived in complex with winding streets named after trees (poplar, spruce, etc.). We were so happy to have a home and so nieve that we didn't consult the HOA before we started painting our little townhouse. A few hours into the job, my husband came inside to report that the resident eagle eye had scolded him and called the HOA.

    We didn't realize that we were only allowed to paint our home in the muted, boring colors that were approved by the HOA. So, my attempt to make my house stand apart from the other onces was totally thwarted!

    I became a goog crafter during those years. I figured that if I couldn't paint the house, I'd trick it out for every holiday, no matter how small.

  2. In Richmond, there are many of those developments, mostly the newer construction of course. We now live in an old neighborhood where the houses are farther apart, and there aren't any that look just alike. We feel very lucky since our last neighborhood was pretty much cookie-cutter.

  3. i live (in st louis) in an older neighborhood in the city, the houses are on average, about 100 years old. while some of the houses look similar, over the years people have added their own personal touches so at this point, no two houses are alike. and i love it.

  4. I don't live in a big development, but there are about 15 or so homes that were built by the same builder as mine back in the 80's. It's funny to go into a neighbor's home and see my exact layout throughout.

  5. Our house was built in 1982 & was part of the 1st wave of "cookie cutter" homes.....though now, people have added on, modified, etc. each house so much, each has its own character. Ours is the only one that has dark paint color & a different garage door. That's about all we've done to set us apart on the outside, LOL.

    I do dream of living in an older home that we can renovate.

  6. I live in a place that looks almost exactly like that picture. I've never been in love with my house, but when me moved out west we found that homes in older neighborhoods and in the city are crazy expensive.

    The flower beds are where I get to have some fun with the outside of my home as we also have HOA rules about paint colors here.

  7. When we lived in northern Virginia, we lived in one of those developments and the restrictions drove us crazy.

    When we moved back to C'ville, we intentionally chose an older neighborhood with more diversity and loved it.

    Earlier this year, we built an edgy modern house on an in-fill lot downtown and there is *nothing* on our street or nearby that looks like our house.

  8. Why do developments always seem to come with one crazy, busy body neighbor? You know, the one that will report you for having curtains that aren't white on the side that faces the street or for grass that's a quarter inch too long?

    Don't get me wrong, I love the community aspect of living in a planned neighborhood, but some of it is so oppressive.

  9. We live in a development, and like it okay. Luckily, they had around 5 different builders, and each offered 2 or 3 home styles to choose from. We did luck out in finding this house - there is only one other like it in our development. We personally chose the development for the price, and for all the kiddos running around. Playmates for our kids. :) I do really miss living out in the country, though, with acres of land around us. **sigh** The good ole days... ;)

  10. I too live in a cookie cutter subdivision. I think there were 2 or 3 builders with about 4 styles. I love the floor plan and size of the small lot. When house shopping, I was torn between this one and one is more established and architectually diverse neighborhood. I loved that neighborhood - it reminded of my childhood neighborhood. But the house was just too small and inappropriate for me. I wish could afford this house in a different community.


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