(1.4) Green Acres

We've got a gorgeous 1.4 acre rolling and treed lot on newly paved Goddard Court.  There is plenty of topography to build a walkout lower level and create a spectacular landscape or just leave much of the lot natural.  We can support just about any type and size house you could dream of and we are ready to show you our available plans or start from scratch with one of our award winning architects to design your new dream home.  Oh and did we mention it's in Bloomfield Hills School District?  What are you waiting for?

Bespoke....Curb and Gutter

Today was the day to install curbs at Long Lake Pines. Usually this is done with a machine that extrudes the curbs as it crawls along on the stone subgrade. A one or two man operation. Due to the small size of our job we got HAND CRAFTED CURBS formed on the job and hand finished by real cement masons! 

Concrete being poured on left and finished curbs on the right...handmade!

Concrete being poured on left and finished curbs on the right...handmade!

From fresh concrete....

From fresh concrete....

....gently curving road!

....gently curving road!



Conventional wisdom is that we don't dig basements in the winter. That is mostly because it can be really hard and expensive to dig in the frozen ground. However, when we have a cold winter with a lot of snow cover like we did this year, the snow and vegetation on a lot that has not been disturbed acts as an insulating blanket and minimizes frost penetration into the ground.

Compare this to our roads that are cleared and salted when it snows and have no insulating blanket. The salt actually produces water by melting snow and ice. The heavy traffic drives the water through any cracks and holes in the road surface and helps the frost penetrate even deeper. This year the road commissions have reported frost depths as deep as 4 or 5 feet. This is deep enough to freeze some water mains and cause them to rupture. It also forces the pavement up, produces more cracks to allow more water in and further destroys the pavement giving rise to potholes.

So, in January, we had a building permit in hand for a house we really wanted to start and Russ and I were thinking - do we wait until May to dig or do we go for it? You may ask, why May? Well, that brings us back to potholes again. We need heavy equipment to dig the hole, move away any excess dirt, form the walls and lots of heavy cement trucks to bring in the concrete for the footings and walls. Pothole time is also Load Limit Time. As the roads start to thaw they really start breaking up so all counties place load restrictions on all but freeways and really well built "all weather" roads. These limits stay in force for 6 weeks or more meaning if they go in force in early to mid March they are not lifted and no heavy trucks can move with full loads until May!

Well, we decided to go for it and got commitments from our excavator and wall contractor to work quickly and we broke ground at the end of February. As we had suspected, the frost wasn't all that bad on our "insulated" lot. Of course it costs a little more because we need to put straw down to keep the bottom of the excavation from freezing and chloride is added to concrete to keep the water in the mix from freezing until the exothermic chemical reaction in the concrete starts which generates heat and allows the concrete to cure nicely even in cold weather.

What did we gain? Time and being able to get our carpenters going before everyone is competing for them, locking in lumber prices before demand and prices go up seasonally as warm weather returns. Most important, there is very little new home inventory so this strategy allowed is to put a product on the market that can realistically be delivered before the end of this year (and get all the outside work done by fall when weather will be a concern once again).

Did our calculated gamble pay off? Well, we took a deposit within a week of listing the house for sale and are proceeding to finalize our agreements with a buyer that would have preferred an existing home (remember that low inventory) but liked the fact that this one would shorten the process by 6 months or so for them.

Unfortunately, we can't do much about the potholes......


I am pleased to report that at their meeting tonight the Bloomfield Township Board unanimously approved our request to divide our land at 565 Long Lake Road into four parcels.

It took an extra board meeting as well as meetings with our neighbors and additional engineering studies, but the end result is a very nice site pan with 4 large (half acre) lots with really nice topography and trees. We will do our best to preserve these natural features and augment them with new landscape and beautiful architecture.

Now we can develop our architectural plans and theme, submit final engineering plans, secure various permits and if all goes well, start development in the first quarter and have building sites in spring.

565 Long Lake Road is now Long Lake Pines

Take a look at an artists rendering of our proposed site plan for four wooded lots on a private cul de sac in Bloomfield Township: Site drawing for Long Lake Pines

We decided to give it a name – Long Lake Pines – that we don’t think conflicts with any other developments. The street will be called Tall Pine Court provided the Fire Department approves – they need to make sure it won’t cause confusion with other street names in Bloomfield as well as other nearby cities and townships. If they determine it does then we will have to choose something else.




This is a concept plan that we have discussed with various officials of Bloomfield Township but like an opera it isn’t over until the ummmm, you know who, sings! In this case, the singer is the Township Board and they won’t take a vote on this until their planning and engineering staffs and perhaps outside consultants have had an opportunity to thoroughly review the very detailed survey information we will be submitting next week. If our surveyor and engineer did their jobs perfectly we could get the thumbs up from the township pretty quickly and be sent to the Board for a public hearing and vote within a couple of months. Let’s keep our fingers crossed but to use another old saw – we won’t hold our breath.

More on this soon…