Finding the ideal house is a lot like falling in love: It’s apt to appear when you least expect it, but you know it when you see it. And even though there may be obstacles, love often finds a way.

    Falling in love with the model home at the Grand Oaks development in East Cobb led Hina Babar and her family on the same sort of emotional journey. Babar’s husband, Khuram, was particularly smitten with the open floor plan, the spacious basement and five bedrooms that created considerable space the growing family.

    “My husband loved this house,” said Babar. “It didn’t matter that we weren’t even looking to move. We lived nearby and just dropped into the neighborhood one day, and he went crazy for it.”

    But, as is so often the case, the course of true love was not without its challenges. The first was that Babar was expecting the couple’s third child, and building and moving into a new home was the farthest thing from her mind. But the couple tempted fate by putting their existing home on the market, and it sold quickly. So they went back to Grand Oaks and signed a contract.

    “The schools were a big part of the decision,” said Babar. “We always said we wanted to move into the Pope or Lassiter (high school) area, and this house is in the Pope district. We knew how hard it was to find anything in East Cobb, and the pickings are very slim for new homes. So it all just seemed right, even if it was at an inconvenient time.”

    The design the Babars fell for met another important consideration: It had with all the bedrooms on the second floor.

    “Our old house had a master on the main, and with two kids and a new baby, that didn’t make sense,” said Babar. “And we loved the rest of the floor plan, too. It’s very open, bright and airy with a lot of living space that’s very conducive to entertaining and having kids. From the kitchen, I can see the entire main floor.”

    The community offers several more reasons to be smitten. With just 19 homes priced from the $700,000s, it’s an intimate neighborhood of quaint, Craftsman-style plans. Though the exteriors are traditional, the interiors are well-suited to contemporary lifestyles, with 3,500 to 4,200 square feet. Throughout the plans, standard features include hardwood floors on the main level, granite counters in the kitchen and master bath, rear porches and 3-car, side-entry garages.

    Custom trim packages and cabinets, as well as built-in lockers and bookcases, add fine details to each home.

    Some plans accommodate basements – a “must-have” item for the Babars that provided the extra elbow room for a home theater, a guest room, an extra kitchen, a play area and storage space. They decided to have that transformation take place after closing so they weren’t living through construction with a new baby in the house. The work pushed back their move-in date by three months, but last week, the family finally slept under their new roof.

    “We got very lucky,” said Babar. “We found all the features we wanted, a great school district and easy access to everything, even though we weren’t looking.”

    Grand Oaks

    2562 Weeping Oak Trace, Marietta

    Price range: from the $700,000s

    Number of homes when completed: 19

    Styles: Traditional Craftsman-style plans

    Square footage: 3,500 – 4,200

    Schools: Murdock Elementary, High Tower Trail Middle, Pope High

    Getting there: From downtown Atlanta, take I-75 north to Exit 267A, and turn right on Ga. Hwy. 5. Turn right on Sandy Plains Road; right at Post Oak Tritt Road. Grand Oaks is on the left.

    Contacts: Agents Christy Alarcon, 954-661-4261, and Jennifer Salama, 678-296-3893; homesouthcommunities.com.

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