It’s been 10 years in the making, but in late October, HomeAid Northern Virginia and co-Builder Captains Van Metre Homes and Toll Brothers kicked off what will be a major mid–six-figure renovation of a 1,500-square foot home owned by Bethany House of Northern Virginia.
Used as a shelter house for women and children who have escaped domestic violence, the home will be essentially gutted top to bottom, redesigned for ADA compliance, and expanded to accommodate seven bedrooms for six families and the on-site house manager.
“I am so excited to finally move this project forward after 10 long years,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia CEO and Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “A series of events kept us in a holding pattern for too long, but that’s behind us now – I can’t wait to see this come to fruition for Bethany House and for all the women and children who depend on them.”
“For women and children who have been living in an oppressive environment and victimized by abusers, this property will allow us to provide safety and comfort,” said Olga Johnson, executive director for Bethany House. “The house has been in desperate need of a facelift for a long time, and now we can make it the kind of place people will want to come home to. There are no words to describe the elation we feel that this is finally happening; we are so grateful to all of the donors and volunteers who are making it possible.”
The large-scale project will call into play two Builder Captains, a strategy that HomeAid has successfully employed for other large projects.
Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre, agrees that sharing the Builder Captain role is a good way to manage projects that could be beyond the scope that a builder could handle solo. “Since this is a full gut and rebuild,” he said, “ we designed the timeline so that Van Metre will handle the initial demolition all the way up until right before drywall, and then Toll Brothers will take it from drywall to completion.
“The beauty of HomeAid,” he continued, “is that the normal competitiveness between builders in the open market goes right out the window, and that couldn’t be more true than with Toll. They are an awesome team to work with, and we share so many of the same trade partners, which makes the process even easier. Van Metre BASE, our production facility in Winchester that makes trusses and other lumber materials, is also joining in, so we’re a trade partner and a Builder Captain at the same time. It’s going to be a great project, and we’re excited to be a part of it!”
Scott Canan, division vice president for Toll, agrees, remembering that when he first joined the HomeAid Board, Brian Davidson from Van Metre was urging members to step up as Builder Captains – and the Bethany House project was at the top of the list.
“This project was going to be a big one, and we had just completed a big project in Woodbridge … we also were doing charity events, like a golf tournament that raised $60,000 for HomeAid, so I felt hesitant to jump in again. But I finally said, ‘Brian, how about we do it as a joint venture?’ He agreed on the spot, and it helped convey the message to others that there are many ways to make a big impact. We’ve worked with Mike and Van Metre for a long time, we’re friends, and we have each other’s backs. This house is going to be another awesome result of the kind of collaboration that HomeAid is so great at encouraging.”
“It’s a misnomer that everyone who has been plagued by domestic violence is financially destitute,” added Johnson. “In reality, people who choose to flee violence often have to also choose to become temporarily homeless, if they don’t have control of finances. It doesn’t mean they don’t come from a place of means; it just means they don’t have access. So to be able to offer a home like this – which will for many women and children more closely match the lifestyle they’re accustomed to – means that kids won’t be frightened beyond measure by the turn not only in their circumstance but also in their environment. A safe home can also be a nice home; they shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”
It is anticipated that the project will take six months to complete, at which point Room to Rebloom, a non-profit dedicated to creating healing home environments for survivors of domestic violence, will handle the interior design and non-appliance furnishings with funds from Knock Out Abuse, a non-profit that provides transformational support to women and children escaping domestic violence.