Allen Norwood

New ‘duet’ homes for Dilworth

Grandfather Homes brought in architect Bryan Mermans to create homes in an English farmhouse style for The Fountains at Mattie Rose, a development planned for Dilworth.
Grandfather Homes brought in architect Bryan Mermans to create homes in an English farmhouse style for The Fountains at Mattie Rose, a development planned for Dilworth. Grandfather Homes

Don’t call it a “duplex.” That evokes an image of a rental apartment, perhaps someplace you land while looking for a home to buy. The folks at Grandfather Homes aren’t comfortable with “townhouse” either, because that doesn’t quite capture their vision.

When trying to sell a 20-foot-wide home for lots of money, a builder has to be careful with all the details – including the label.

Grandfather’s Jessica Faulkner coined “duet homes,” and that stuck. There’ll be six of them in the 800 block of Ideal Way, near McDonald Avenue in Dilworth. Prices will start at about $750,000.

The six homes will be paired, in three buildings of two homes each.

So, is duplex really a loaded word? “I feel like it almost is,” said Matt Ewers, president of Grandfather Homes. “It feels more transient. … Buyers want to be able to say, ‘I own this place.’”

The recently announced project, The Fountains at Mattie Rose, is another creative example of the evolution of infill housing in Charlotte.

The paired concept isn’t new. For instance, Myers Park City Homes, built on Kings Drive by Simonini Builders before that company disbanded, also are paired homes on lots zoned for duplexes. In 2002, that project won national honors from Builder magazine. It was named top attached community and top infill community, part of a trend the magazine called “density with dignity.”

They’re city homes, I notice now, not duplexes.

In details and layout, the Grandfather project will be strikingly different.

Grandfather brought in architect Bryan Mermans to create homes in an English farmhouse style.

The team decided on the paired arrangement, Ewers said, in part because that reduces the amount of shared wall between homes. “We asked ourselves, ‘How are we going to create a high-end product with shared walls?’” The answer: Keep shared walls to a minimum.

Another issue is how to offer the generous square footage high-end buyers will demand on such a narrow footprint. The answer: Each home will be four stories tall, with parking on the lowest floor.

“It has to have almost 3,000 square feet,” Ewers said. “We accomplished that on four floors. It has to have a two-car garage. It does. They’re parked front to back” instead of side by side.

The main floor over the garage contains great room, dining room and kitchen. The next level offers two bedrooms, including master suite, and the top floor provides a sitting area and another bedroom.

There’ll be a dedicated elevator shaft in each home.

As part of a $96,000 “urban retreat” upgrade, buyers can add pool, spa and outdoor fireplace.

Here’s another lesson from the evolution of infill in Charlotte: Square footage on a site can go way up, without high-rise construction. Grandfather bought and demolished three rental units, Ewers said. They were about 1,500 square feet each, or 4,500 total – while the Fountains at Mattie Rose will offer almost 17,000 square feet.

For more information as construction gets under way, visit grandfatherhomes.com.

Special to the Observer: homeinfo@charter.net

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