Marcus Henderson and his wife, Elizabeth, can testify to the truth of that real-estate adage that says you’ll know the right house when you see it. The couple had spent some time searching online and visiting properties with an agent, but it was a nagging need to drive through a community one last time that led to their ideal home at Willow Leaf in Buford.

“We loved the neighborhood and had seen an existing house that we ready to make an offer on,” recalled Henderson. “But then my wife said she wanted to drive through just one more time. And that’s when she saw they were building new houses there as well.”

Construction is ongoing at the Gwinnett community, which is slated to have more than 300 homes when completed. When the Hendersons happened on a model home, they opted to purchase a new house so they could adapt to their own tastes and preferences.

“We realized the new houses were in the same price range as the existing ones, but with a new home, we could pick out our own decor,” said Henderson. “And we only had to wait one month more to get the new property in the style we wanted.”


The couple selected a two-story plan with four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and two-car garage. As with all of the Willow Leaf designs, the exteriors feature Craftsman accents and barn-style garage doors. Interiors are finished with standards such as hardwood floors in the foyers, cultured marble bath vanities, tiled showers, garden tubs, granite kitchen counters, Whirlpool appliances and a marble-surround fireplace in the living area. Some plans incorporate coffered ceilings, loft areas, covered porches and outdoor fireplaces.

Since they opted to build, the Hendersons had the chance to make some changes to their final plan.

“We were able to add a screened-in back porch, upgrade the carpets, extend the island in the kitchen and add more crown molding,” said Henderson. “It’s exactly the style we wanted.”

Getting precisely what matched their dream was important, said Henderson, and not only because it’s the couple’s first house. Even though their daughter is of pre-school age, they’re already thinking that they’ll call this place home for the long-term.

“First, we wanted to be in a neighborhood that has good schools, and this one does,” he said. “We also want to have a place we can be in for a long time, a place the kids can call home. We also liked that this is a really friendly community with lots of kids, and in an up-and-coming area.”

The location was ideal for the couple’s jobs: She has a 20-minute commute to Suwanee, while he turned a spare bedroom into a home office for his financial business

“We were in an apartment in Duluth and first thought this was a little far out, but it has everything we wanted,” said Henderson.

Prices at Willow Leaf start in the $170,000s and go into the $230,000s for three- and four-bedroom plans ranging from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet. The community includes a swimming pool, playground, basketball court and a green space with a gazebo.

Willow Leaf

Price range: $170,000s-$230,000s

Number of homes when completed: About 300

Styles: Craftsman traditional

Square footage: 1,800-2,500

Lot sizes: Average 1/3 acre

Schools: Duncreek Elementary, Frank Osbourne Middle, Millcreek High

Getting there: From downtown Atlanta, take I-85 north to exit 120 – Hamilton Mill, and turn right on Hamilton Mill Parkway. Turn left on Hwy. 125; left on Flowery Branch Road. Willow Leaf is one mile on the right.

Contacts: 770-932-1234; agent Lori Hamilton, 404-516-0474l agent Leslie Newberry, 770-598-5931;

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