Lakelands resident Ken Wormald and his brothers, Robert and Ed, have a firm foundation as partners in the building business. A little more than half a century ago, in 1964, their father, Bob, established Wormald Builders and began building homes near Falls Road in Potomac. Today, with numerous award-winning communities under roof in four states, a crowning achievement of The Wormald Companies is their “turn-key luxury,” single-family City and Estate Homes in Gaithersburg’s Crown development. “These are not built anywhere else. These are custom designed for Crown,” said Robert Wormald.
The home designs are grand with many sought-after amenities. The pantry is so sizeable that the company refers to it as a “Costco pantry.” A convenient menu center that can opt as a desk area; a butler’s pantry; Viking appliances; sky terrace with sun sails; 8-by-10 foot laundry rooms in the City Homes; private rear driveways; three-car garages; some floor plans with first floor owner’s suites; and 42-inch wide, eight-foot tall mahogany front doors are only a few examples of the upscale interior and exterior appointments for the residences.
“Every house is going to have its own unique look and feel because with the architectural guidelines, we can’t do the same house side-by-side, across the street, or diagonally, so we have to change up the roof lines and the materials on the outsides. In a traditional house community, you have the same house that you build one after the other with a few options and you see the same generic box, the same long streets. Wormald is known as the antithesis of that. … We’re the non-cookie-cutter alternative,” said Ed Wormald. Vinyl siding is not permitted at Crown. The exterior of the homes must feature Hardie plank, stone or brick.
Ken Wormald said the company draws inspiration from the past and incorporates modern design concepts that are evident at Crown in the fusion of traditional facades with modern rear views through sleek, tall windows. “People like light and open floor plans. … We’re very cognizant of the communication flow in the house. People want to be able to entertain and have an exciting place for friends to come and visit.” Estate Homes in The Reserve enclave are in the neo-Tudor style and will have park or forest views.
The company’s Lock & Go Lifestyle Maintenance Program means no more lawn mowing, snow shoveling, or leaf raking. The homes range in price from 1.2 to 1.4 million and abound with included features. “Most people appreciate it when you build it into the house rather than bait and switch with a bunch of options,” said Ken Wormald. He noted several popular options are available, such as curved staircases, exterior spiral staircases, elevators, and fourth floor penthouse suites on the City Homes that are a popular option for aging parents or boomerang children. Interior square footage in the Estate Homes ranges from 4,818 to 5,689 square feet and in the City Homes from 3,960 to 4948 square feet.
Two models are under construction with completion expected in April. Ten percent of their homes have already been sold. “We anticipate a continual quarterly increase in sales price, so now it’s time for everybody else to stake their claim before it goes up further,” said Ed Wormald.
He added, “The building business is a collection of many people beyond the company itself. We’re a big funnel for the economy because it takes about 60 different vendors and trades to build a house. Home building feeds 10 percent of the economy because we’re buying, for example, appliances, so that’s a whole manufacturing chain, and you’ve got the whole lumber industry. … You’ve got all of these components. … We are interfacing with the dreams of planners, the dreams of our customers, the dreams of really how we want to live and exist. Our company is more than just home building. We do commercial work as well, so we’re trying to better our communities by producing great places for people to live and work. … That’s a very compelling kind of a life opportunity that we have to better our society around us.”
“I think the unique confluence of factors that have come together at Crown, which is hard to replicate, is the sort of boutique high-end retail, really cool restaurants and the entire supporting cast of Washingtonian Center, which has a ton of retail and you can walk the lake. I call it the walkable urban oasis. It’s really reflective of the way people are living these days. … They want to spend time with family, get to the retail … enjoy that experience. … You don’t want to spend all this time to travel to and fro,” said Ken Wormald.
He noted some of the “new urbanism” parallels of Kentlands and Crown. “You’ve got the walkability with a de-emphasis on the automobile … a lot of smart urban concepts such as the alleys and hidden garages … those concepts are flourishing at Crown.” He said that in Kentlands, the retail is more embedded in the neighborhood.
His brother Ed added, “In Crown you have the main highway with retail in view from the street. It’s an extension almost of the Washingtonian Center, and you’ve got multi-story apartments above the retail so you have that high-rise, mixed-use element, so the urbanism is very different from the Kentlands and Lakelands.”
Ken Wormald said that as someone who lives locally, he hears a lot of excitement and random buzz about the homes his company is introducing to the architectural landscape at Crown. “People are used to the production home builder in the area that’s doing the typical type of construction. With the City Homes, we really went all out to do something spectacular and innovative, and I know with the Estate Homes we’ve really broken the mold with all of the traditional colonial architecture you see all over the place and tried to introduce something to the market that is exciting, innovative, and really sort of raise the bar in local housing.”
The interest of all three brothers in the building business is genetic, according to brother Ed. “I think builders are born genetically. I have six children, and some of them come out of the womb building with Legos and others don’t. What’s interesting, and one unique thing about our father and us representing sort of his gene pool, is that it’s really a mixture of art and engineering. We have about 36 entities that make up The Wormald Companies, so we’re a mixture of those different disciplines. Our father paints portraits and he was an engineer, so he was a mixture himself. That has brought in this creativity and innovation that seems to find its way into every project.”
He added, “We’ve been entrusted with this business opportunity and our father’s history that he’s slaved for. He started out in a basement, he had kids, and my mother was doing the accounting work and everything. They put so much into making this what it is, we feel that we have a responsibility to build upon their sweat equity rather than squander it.”
Ken Wormald is the epitome of the company’s motto, “Love Where You Live.” He said he has no plans to leave Lakelands where he has lived since 2000 even though the homes they are building at Crown are very tempting. “I just finished a remodel on my house, which was pretty extensive. We’re pretty well-grounded in Lakelands and my wife likes to stay there. We’ve made a lot of friendships in the community.”
His love of the creative aspect of the building business offers lessons he shares with his children. “We’re buying pieces of land and we’re sculpting the built environment on paper and then actually building it and seeing it come to fruition. … There’s that whole creative aspect of it where you can really think through ‘build it as if it were our own’ so we can say what can we do with this unique piece of property, with this unique history, and do something that will truly be impactful for future generations where they will feel our motto ‘Love Where You Live.’ We get into a discussion about what their passions are and what they want to see done. … That you actually create a place that brings all those visions together and then you see people move in and happy in the place they call home—what could be more gratifying than that?”
Robert Wormald echoed the sentiments of his brothers, “There’s a lot of selections of home builders out there and people choose us to provide their home, and their home is where they have their birthdays, their Christmas parties, and Thanksgiving dinners. It’s a tremendous honor for us to have them pick us to provide that place for them. I like homes that last for a long time, and I like to be able to drive by my product 30 years later and see it still there the same way. But basically, it’s providing that built environment people choose to call home. I think it’s really cool that we get to provide this for people.”
For more information, visit www.wormald.com/crown-video or call 301.695.6614.