KENNETT - Construction of 48 new cottages at Kendal at Longwood ended earlier this month, boosting the population there to 420.

The cottages, much larger than the typical apartments at Kendal at Longwood, have been so popular that only two remain to be sold.

'We spent a number of years buying up parcels here so we could have enough room to do this,' said Rich Lysle, executive director at Kendal at Longwood. 'Most seniors today are looking for more space. The idea was to get seniors the larger living area that they are looking for these days.'

The price tag varies depending on size.

For example, a single bedroom cottage, the smallest model, starts at $347,000 plus a $4,732 mandatory monthly fee that includes full life care. At the other end, the two-bedroom model, the largest, costs $525,000 plus a $6,389 mandatory monthly fee that includes full life care.

The cottages, designed by Bernardon Haber-Holloway Designs of Kennett Square, feature windows that are easy to crank open, extra-wide garages so doors can swing wide for better access, walkways with gentle slopes and no curbs for mobility whether on foot or in a wheelchair.

'We're incredibly pleased by the addition of these cottages at the Kendal at Longwood campus,' said David G. Jones, project director with The Kendal Corp. with which Kendal-Crosslands Communities is affiliated.

'When you walk into these houses you see large windows giving ample daylight, rooms with high ceilings and a flow that feels natural. But a lot of the details addressing needs residents may have over time are more subtle, like lever door handles rather than knobs, bathrooms wide enough to maneuver in with a walker or wheelchair, and blocking in the bathroom walls so that grab bars can be installed if needed.'

Five different floor plans range from 1,250 square feet to 3,775 square feet for those with walk-out basements.

All have a three-season room, an open-plan kitchen, 9- and 10-foot ceilings, and a garage. Additional sustainability features include high-efficiency appliances, lighting, windows and water heating, and plumbing fixtures that achieve 25 to 30 percent water savings beyond U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

Stormwater at the site is percolated back into the ground to recharge the aquifer, and the landscaping is drought-tolerant native plant varieties.

The houses have geothermal heating and air conditioning systems which use the earth as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. The cottages are registered with the U.S. Green Building Council with the goals of Gold (for the 38 single-story cottages) and Silver (for the 10 cottages with basements) certifications.

'It's quite a hilly site,' said Timothy Cassidy, Bernardon Haber Holloway's landscape architect for the project. 'We had to do extensive regrading, filling in low spots and cutting down others so that the road and the walkways all fit within the Americans with Disabilities Act's accessibility specifications.'

The cottages are sited in the rolling terrain so that each one has natural vistas rather than views of adjacent houses, while their overall arrangement has the comfortable feel of a neighborhood.

Lysle said the cottage concept was initiated 15 years ago as part of Kendal-Crosslands master plan. Since then, the health center at the retirement community was revamped and a fitness facility constructed. On tap next is the renovation of the complex's auditorium.

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