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Luxury living condensed in new home

By on August 29, 2017 in Featured Homes with 0 Comments

Home Tour house aims at downsizing owners who want the finer things and all the ‘now’ tech

Story by Susan Lagsdin

Photos by Donna Cassidy

Accomplished veteran builders work long seasons every year to house Wenatchee’s growing population, and you’ll see a sampling of their skills at the BNCW Home Tour and Remodeling Expo in September.

One of the younger local builders stands out not so much for his deep history here but for his energy and confidence.

Andrew Lange poses in front of the home that he’d designed for himself, came very close to selling, and was ultimately happy to call his own again.

Andrew Lange may be relatively new to the industry, but he’s totally focused on delivering the best house he can, like this recently-built residence on Brambling Brae Street in the Campbell Glen subdivision. This September marks his fourth Home Tour in a row. “Best thing a builder can do to show their stuff,” he asserted.

Homebuilding was not an early dream or aspiration. He graduated from Pateros High School, tried and disliked college and started to build fences, first for his dad and then going solo for six years. He makes it clear he’s had no formal construction training or apprenticeship.

But in 2014 Andrew was 29, and he wanted a house. He found an affordable shell, bankruptcy-abandoned, on Ashwood Drive, and with no construction background beyond posts and rails, he truly believed he could finish it, live in it a while, maybe sell it and pocket a little profit.

He remembers the moment he realized: “I can do this!”

He did do it. He re-engineered the house, which had been jerry-rigged in spots and oddly configured in others, and learned construction, literally, from the outside in and the bottom up.

A newbie with a stupendously steep learning curve, he also had to scout proficient subs and craftsman, who evolved into a crew he now calls “a miniature army.”

Not only was that his first homebuilding project, it made the cut for the Home Tour in 2014. And, yes, he lived in it a while, sold it, and pocketed a profit.

His second house he built for his brother, and it was in the next year’s home tour. Now, he continues to build houses and he continues to show his handiwork to the public.

On his quick and fruitful journey, he’s learned what buyers want.

This 2017 house, he says, has, “Million-dollar amenities for half the cost.” Buyers aren’t looking for “monster houses” anymore. They want perfect size, perfect flow and all the luxurious touches.

Mature homeowners may downsize, but they insist on quality and are likely to know what they don’t want, and Andrew adapts to that.

What many buyers don’t want is a tub, a separate dining room, walls of drapes, a bedroom-sized laundry room, a big hall closet and a sea of lawn grass. So, they would be very pleased with this home’s huge tiled and glassed shower, the open concept living area, the clean window scape facing orchard trees, coat hooks and a bench in the hallway, mudroom washer and dryer space, and a diminutive, easy-care back yard.

What most buyers do want is usable space. Within 2,100 sensibly-used square feet, this home has three bedrooms, four baths (two major, two minor) and an upstairs bonus loft.

A pool beats a playing field for buyers with kids grown and gone, and contemporary designs — not all turquoise and white rectangles anymore — look more like rock-rimmed reflecting ponds. This pool fills the backyard space gracefully.

Buyers also want the latest technology possible. Andrew wires every house for the future, with the choice of implements open to the owner. This is a Smart Home, which means it’s already complete with stereo sound throughout, exterior security cameras and light and temperature controls, including “house off” for energy savings. It’s all on a cellphone app.

High-tech amenities don’t preclude traditional comfort, and in this house a cool contemporary look is softened by Craftsman touches.

Andrew chose acrylic-antiqued pine board floors for the main living areas, and thick carpet cushions the bedrooms and loft staircase. He picked dove gray wall color, deep white trim and molding, pale quartz counters, and stacked slate on the outside and the full fireplace wall.

As the owner of Lange Construction, Andrew is the contractor, the builder, the major decision-maker. Using local craftspeople whose skill and work ethic he values, he has assured himself satisfying results from “rough in” (all major pieces like wire and pipes, flooring, cabinets installed in place) to “trim out” — the final move-in touches (light switches, window trim, paint). During our interview, four different workmen drifted into the space with tools, got a hello and went off to a task.

At 33, Andrew is a savvy multi-tasker. Everything he does is geared toward making his homes easier to build and better. He started his own excavating company, he still has a fence company, he works with a good architect and he makes all the interior design choices. He’s got his eye on every one of his building sites.

Each home takes him and his crew ideally five months to build, from staking the foundation to the final vacuuming. They all work several jobs simultaneously. In August, he had completed 10 homes in this subdivision, “With 12 left to go,” he said. He’s started work on another 10 projects in Chelan.

The obvious question for this bold young builder was “How do you do all that?” Andrew demurred with a shrug and said, “Well, I’m just really well-organized.”

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