Architects and homebuilders spend a lot of time these days making interiors feel larger and more relaxed. Formal living and dining rooms are out, and open-concept floor plans that offer a new way of living are in demand. Take away the walls, the reasoning goes, and homebuyers will be happier.

Todd Rogers and Mike Chenault are doing something similar with the homesites at the new, rural-cluster community they’re developing in Hanover County.

Each of the 42 houses in Lakeview at Luck Farm will sit on an acre of land, but the homesites will feel larger because Rogers and Chenault have buffered each one with preserved common areas. Homebuyers will enjoy sweeping vistas and a greater perceived space without having to buy or maintain more land, Rogers says.

In all, 70% of the 265-acre community, which is located near the intersection of State Route 54 and Chapman Street just west of Ashland, will remain undeveloped.

“We could have had three units to the acre – 700 houses,” Rogers said. “We’re doing 42 houses. I felt this piece of land deserved something different. It’s so pretty up here.”

Rogers-Chenault Inc. is developing the community, and RCI Builders is building the homes. Rogers and Chenault founded and co-own both companies. (Patrick Ashley is also a co-owner of RCI Builders.)

A family farm for more than 100 years

Until Rogers and Chenault bought it three years ago, the land had been in the Luck family since Charles Luck Sr. purchased it in 1898.

“It was a dairy farm named Lakeview,” said Georgia “Bebe” Luck, who was part of the group that sold the farm to Rogers and Chenault.

Two of Charles Luck’s sons ran the farm after his death, and they also owned and operated the Clover Room Restaurant in Richmond, where patrons could enjoy ice cream made with milk and cream from Lakeview Farm. (The Lucks sold the restaurant in the early 1970s.)

After the two brothers’ deaths, Bebe Luck and her husband, Cabell Luck Jr, ran the farm.

“We farmed it from 1985 to 2008,” Luck said. “We had beef cattle for a while. For the last 11 years, a farmer has leased the land.”

Running the farm became more difficult in recent years, though.

“Ashland’s growth was moving west, and it became increasingly hard to farm with heavy equipment crossing a busy highway,” Luck said. “And we didn’t have anybody in the family who wanted to continue to farm.”

She added: “It was a very, very tough decision to sell the land, but we’re happy other people will be able to enjoy it as much as we have through the years.”

Home construction started in Lakeview at Luck Farm in January, and the model home and two other homes have been completed. Another is scheduled to close soon.

While RCI Builders is the community’s sole builder, homebuyers can bring their own plans or work with the company’s architects and designers to customize RCI’s plans.

“RCI is known for its Craftsman- and Traditional-style communities, but the semi-custom and custom nature of Lakeview means the architectural styles will be more varied,” said Matt Rutledge, a real estate agent with Hometown Realty and a site agent for Lakeview.

The minimum size for a house in the community will be 2,000 square feet, but Rogers says he expects the largest houses will be in the 4,000- to 4,500-square-foot range.

“Prices start at $500,000, which includes the option to change the plans and work with our designers to select finishes,” Rutledge said.

Many of the homes will have views onto the community’s five ponds, and the development will have 1½ miles of walking trails and a fishing pier on the largest pond.

“Early sales have been spectacular,” Rutledge said. “Two of the 16 homesites we have available sold immediately after we opened the neighborhood, and traffic has been great.”

The community’s rural character and its proximity to Ashland are helping to drive homebuyers’ interest, Rutledge said.

“There’s nothing else like it in Hanover County,” he said. “You can have your customized dream home in a secluded setting and still be minutes away from Ashland.”

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