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A basement remodeling project with creativity and craftsmanship

Categories: Around Poolesville, Blog, News Highlights | Posted: July 29, 2020

Kettler Forlines Homes basement remodel WoodmanMegan and Greg were about to build a Kettler Forlines Home last year. Then, life happened. Megan’s mom passed away and her father suffered a stroke. Instead of starting from the ground up, they found a home that just came on the market in their desired Poolesville, MD, location. It needed renovations, but since the house was below their price point, the couple had the budget for remodeling. Megan and Greg returned to Kettler Forlines Homes to undertake a basement remodeling project with creativity and craftsmanship.

They loved the design, details, and construction of the Kettler Forlines Homes they looked at. Megan said the work passed Greg’s discerning eye. “Greg is that person who looks for cracks and flaws. He couldn’t find anything wrong with the Kettler Forlines homes we saw.”

Megan was crystal clear on what she wanted. Her biggest priority was incorporating a remodeling project that didn’t look like one. She wanted the change to work seamlessly with the current home’s design and flow.

The home they purchased was built nine years earlier, by another company. The size was comparable to the home they had, but the basement makeover would add 1,200 square feet of living space. The home also came with a swimming pool, so enhancing the walk-out basement ensured a more appealing access point.

Going in, Megan knew what she wanted. “Dan Fraker (Kettler Forlines Homes’ estimator) listened. I told him, ‘Here’s what I don’t like and what I want to do.’ We were down there with a measuring tape and painter’s tape marking the floor. I already had a fit and finish in mind.” 

The basement wish list

Here are some of things on their basement makeover wish list and how it turned out:

  • Open up the basement so it doesn’t feel like “we’re sending people down to a dungeon.” The renovation incorporated more recessed light to brighten up the space “They almost died when I told them how many LED lights I wanted.”
  • Open up the line of sight on the main level. The entry to the basement blocked the line of sight. We opened the wall, took out the door to the basement, and created a landing at the top of the stairs. Now, when you walk in the front door, you can see all the way to the kitchen in the back of the main level of the home. It looks as though it was always there.
  • Create a “teenage kingdom”. Their son is almost 13, so Megan and Greg wanted to give him a space where he could hang out and entertain his friends. For starters, they installed a 110-inch projection screen with a 4K projector. Then they added a 13-foot skeeball game acquired from Hershey Park and a Strike Master shuffle bowling machine.
  • Include stylish storage and serving space. In the family room, they added an 11-foot wet bar with a granite countertop. The cabinets provide plenty of storage for supplies for entertaining, plus towels, sunscreen, and other pool needs.
  • Ensure a welcoming space for guests. Knowing their son would eventually leave, Greg and Megan wanted to be able to “recapture” space, and make it welcoming for guests. They added a spacious full bath. “Now we have an enormous shower with a bench seat, and cobalt blue wall with white subway tiles surrounding it.” The black granite countertops have blue flecks that accent the walls. 
  • Build a craft studio for Megan. She’s a hobbyist who didn’t have a workshop where she could keep all her equipment and supplies organized and accessible. Now, she has a room in the renovated basement that is accented with a sliding pocket door. Within the room, there’s a bookcase that is actually a secret door to a storage space—something every crafter can appreciate (and envy). Megan says she’s currently adding a Murphy bed in the room, too. 
  • Plan ahead with the HVAC. They kept the HVAC room large, allowing for storage as well as making it easier if they had to change out the system later. While the installation was underway, the Kettler Forlines Homes’ remodeling crew also ran PVC venting pipes to accommodate a high efficiency HVAC that the owners anticipated to add later. By doing the task at this point, they wouldn’t have to rip out walls later.
  • Expand electrical possibilities. They also thought ahead for future electrical needs. Megan had Kettler Forlines Homes’ remodeling team add a second 200-amp electrical panel, making it easier to support more electrical needs. Coaxial and ethernet cabling were incorporated to allow for future outdoor TV viewing. Megan was also planning a gazebo in the near future and wanted lighting for it. With the interior walls open during the basement remodel, the electrician ran wiring to different areas of the outside to trench power where the gazebo would eventually be located. Again, thinking ahead allowed them to make future renovations much simpler.
  • Replace the floor with vinyl plank. Since people would be coming through the basement from the pool area, they needed a floor that would resist the water-soaked traffic. Luxury vinyl plank has the appearance of a wood floor with the easy care and durability of vinyl.

“This was what I was looking for and what made it worth it to me,” explains a very contented Megan, who decorated with a palette of coastal cool colors to pull it all together. “I definitely learned things as I went, like electrical panels and HVAC. But we had full confidence in our project manager, Craig Smith. He was texting and keeping in touch, and was always right there when needed.” 

From start to finish, the entire basement renovation took four months, with only minor delays from the pandemic. Knowing what she wanted and working with a skilled, attentive team kept the project on track and without any of the unwelcome surprises that some homeowners experience.

“When I make up my mind, I just go for it,” says Megan.

Have you made up your mind yet? Kettler Forlines Homes welcomes the chance to discuss your remodeling ideas. Leverage our 42+ years of homebuilding experience to reimagine and recreate your home. Get started by reaching out to us and let’s give your home the same exceptional results that Greg and Megan are now enjoying.

Kettler Forlines Homes basement remodel before after

Escape to Poolesville, MD: Larger lots and better living

Categories: Around Poolesville, Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, Community News, Homeowner Tips, News Highlights, Uncategorized | Posted: July 8, 2020

Kettler Forlines Homes Brightwell Crossing large lotsThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. It’s always changing the way we WANT to live! When stay-at-home orders were issued, were you living in a space without a yard? The feeling of confinement was very real and has driven people to move away from the close quarters of urban life. They’re now heading toward the more desirable suburbs. We’re seeing this trend as city-dwellers escape to Poolesville, MD, where we can give them larger lots and better living!

Kettler Forlines Homes designed our Poolesville community, The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, with large lots—long before the current trend toward big yards. Our homes are situated on lots of a half-acre and more. You get an average of 27,000 square feet to accommodate your new home. 

Bear in mind, even in the suburbs, you’re not guaranteed a home with open spaces. There’s another Montgomery County neighborhood  of new homes where, for about the same price as our homes, you only acquire a homesite of about 6,000 square feet. Depending on the size of the home you build—and this community calls itself “luxury”—you would have very little room separating you from your neighbors. What’s the point of leaving the city when you still don’t have “breathing room”? Of course, it would make it easy to borrow something from your neighbor. You can just reach out your window and pass things back and forth across the narrow pass that’s equivalent to the minimum social distance.

Where is the luxury in this?

At The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, we’ve created a neighborhood with winding roads that add more interest than an uninspired grid of interconnecting streets. You’ll see the difference in the scenic beauty of tree-lined spaces, particularly in yards that back up to the protected conservation area. You can choose from the many walk-out lots to a spacious backyard, perfect for entertaining or just escaping outdoors to enjoy some private space with fresh air!

If you’re looking for cul-de-sac lots and the safety they offer, you’ll find them at The Reserve 

at Brightwell Crossing, also with the spacious yard.

Our homes at The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing are designed with your large yard in mind. The large windows provide excellent views of your outdoor living space. You’ll also benefit from the ample natural light that streams through these “eyes to the outside”. Add a deck, porch, or patio to enjoy your beautiful yard. Then reap the distinct rewards of a home that is both ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS certified. Your home will be an average of 50% MORE energy efficient than typical homes being built today, and a whopping 75% more energy efficient than used homes! The Indoor airPLUS certification improves the indoor air quality, protecting you and your family from so many harmful pollutants.

At Kettler Forlines Homes, when we say “luxury”, we mean it.

Whether you’re leaving the city or simply in search of the right place to come home to, steer your future toward Poolesville, MD. Make plans to visit The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, situated in Poolesville’s exceptional school district! And let’s see how we can give you the life—and home—you’ve been dreaming about.


Is virtual homebuying here to stay?

Categories: Homeowner Tips, Housing Industry News, News Highlights | Posted: May 14, 2020

Kettler Forlines virtual home buyingWhen the stay-at-home orders were issued, life changed. Homes instantly became offices for many workers and classrooms for families. It was rough going in the beginning, with everyone trying to figure out a system to work within the restrictions. Within a few weeks, we found a rhythm. Now, with businesses gradually reopening, we have to wonder how much of the temporary “New Normal” will continue in our lives. Is virtual homebuying here to stay?


What have you been accomplishing through online channels that you used to do in person? Grocery shopping is a big one. Whether ordering online and opting for curbside pick-up or relying on delivery, wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a grocery store was deemed too risky. 

Telemedicine—a video conference with your healthcare provider—is another task you might have experienced. And how many Zoom meetings have you attended since the pandemic sparked the shutdown?

As a local homebuilder in Maryland, Kettler Forlines Homes has accomplished what many other builders around the country have done. We’ve moved from a physical sales center and model home to a virtual one, to protect our buyers as well as our Kettler Forlines team. 

For the past two months, we’ve maintained communication with our customers. People who had a home under construction were able to keep receiving updates. Our construction crews have been able to keep working safely with social distancing and diligent sanitizing on the job sites.

Buying a home online

What we found interesting—and exciting!—is selling homes to buyers by using our virtual homebuying process. Yes, it’s not only doable, but been done!

Here’s how it worked:

  • The prospective buyer browsed the website of our Brightwell Crossing neighborhood in Poolesville, MD. They looked at the interactive site map to see which lots were available and then explored the floor plans. The virtual tours provided a 360° view. They also visited our online Gallery to see photos and videos of the homes, community, and area.
  • The interested buyers were able to get out and drive around The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, to see first-hand the quality and distinction of the homes and neighborhood. 
  • The buyers contacted George Neill, Kettler Forlines Homes’ Sales Manager, who “met” with them on a video conference call. 
  • George then went through all the options for customizing their new home.
  • Convinced that The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing was the right place and Kettler Forlines Homes had the right skills, design, and reputation to build their home, they signed the contract, also done online using Docusign.

We eventually met face to face. They praised that the process was so easy!

And now we’re able to schedule private, in-person appointments so you can tour any of our homes. We’re adhering to CDC guidelines for proper safety, keeping everyone protected.

Why it’s a great time to buy a home

If you thought you had to put your plans on hold, think again. Right now, the mortgage interest rates are at a historical low. We looked back almost 50 years to compare interest rates for 30-year, fixed rate mortgages, and the closest we saw to the 3.31% rate last month (April 2020) was the end of 2012, when the market was coming back from the Great Recession.

As restrictions lift and more people are moving about (safely, we hope), the demand for new homes will rise. After coming out of confinement, homeowners have learned that their homes just didn’t meet their needs. Prices will likely go up as well, along with interest rates. Inventory is already low and with the limited amount of homes built over the past few months, your options will become more limited. 

We expect that many people will remain cautious about the spread of the virus, and will limit contact as much as possible. With virtual homebuying, you can shop, plan, purchase, customize, and close on your home with as much or as little distance as you choose. Talk to George Neill to get started on a unique homebuying journey!

Raising Your Family in Poolesville

Categories: About Our Schools, Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, Community News, News Highlights | Posted: February 4, 2019


Nestled into beautiful Poolesville, a brand new home in the Reserve at Brightwell Crossing is filled with wide open space for you and your family to call your own. A new year means a new chance to make an exciting change in your life, and nothing’s more exciting than moving into the home of your dreams with your family!

Energy Star and Indoor AirPlus Certified, our innovative, award-winning homes provide you with the comfort you and your family deserve all year-long, as well as a modern and cozy design that everyone loves. Best of all, our family-friendly Reserve at Brightwell Crossing is situated within Maryland’s best school district, so you can rest assured that your children will get the greatest education of all.


Poolesville High School was named the top high school in Maryland for 7 straight years by the Washington Post! Lead by the area’s most dedicated educators, our exceptional schools within Montgomery County School District challenge your children, develop their passions and skills, and empower them to thrive at every age. When your children attend a caring and supportive school that recognizes what makes them unique, they grow up happy, healthy, and eager to experience a world of opportunities.

Between Monocacy Elementary or Poolesville Elementary, John Poole Middle School, and Poolesville High School, you can always count on incredible teachers to take good care of your children, whether inside the classroom or on the playing field. With over 92 unique clubs, a student government, Honors Societies, and countless sports teams, you can rest assured that your children will love growing up in Poolesville.

Ranging from 3-7 bedrooms and 2.5-6.5 bathrooms, our ½-acre to 1-acre homes offer gorgeous views of the peaceful woods, along with close proximity to the bustling activity of downtown. With innovative home designs like multi-generational spaces and first-floor owners’ suites, you’ll find our homes fit the lifestyle you desire. Including features like spacious family areas, large kitchens, and bedrooms, optional additions like sunrooms, home offices, and recreation rooms are just a few of the reasons why a Kettler Forlines Homes is fit for a family like yours.

In a brand new Kettler Forlines Home, you’ll be the first ones to share a family meal in the dining room, to hang your family photos on the wall, and to design your children’s bedrooms and play areas. Built with equal parts expertise and equal parts care, each one of our high-quality, energy-efficient homes is waiting with open arms to welcome you and your family into a wonderful new way of life.
Open your door, step inside, and take in the fresh scent of your brand new home. Your best days are just ahead, and the journey can start now. For more information on our spacious and comfortable homes in Poolesville, please visit our website or give us a call at 301-208-2588 or 301-807-8266. We look forward to helping you find your dream home!

5th Year! Poolesville High School #1 in Maryland Schools

Categories: About Our Schools, Blog, News Highlights | Posted: October 18, 2015

Poolesville High School Ranks #1 in Maryland!

Poolesville Falcons Ace The Washington Post’s Most Challenging School Rankings!

Once again this year, when The Washington Post released its ranking of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools 2015”, Poolesville High School was ranked first in Maryland, ranked #5 in Washington D.C. metropolitan area, and 83rd overall in the United States. This is the fifth year in a row that Poolesville High School has received this honor. One of the oldest high schools in Montgomery County, it is also the only “whole school magnet”, a program which was created in 2006.

This close-knit, western Montgomery County educational community offers diverse global perspectives, while challenging its students through real-world and tangible learning experience. With four areas of concentration, Poolesville High School is similar to a college curriculum; students take general classes the first two years and focus on areas of interest the second two years. They have the option to choose between Global Ecology, Humanities, Independent Studies, or Science, Math and Computer Science. The whole school model engages and challenges students selected through an application process, as well as local school students interested in a magnet focus area. One student notes, “It’s not a competitive environment. People are competitive with themselves, not each other.”

“The difference here from other schools in the county and state is a sense of belonging for all students. The bottom line is we set out to make sure that there are opportunities for all students,” says Billie Bradshaw, Magnet Coordinator for Poolesville High School.

Principal Deena Levine explains that the programs and coursework are challenging, authentic and rigorous at every grade level. Using real world examples and problems, students are constantly engaged and stimulated. Whether it’s setting the crime scene for a forensics class or developing a new product and sales pitch for a technical education class, teachers at Poolesville H.S. work with students to demonstrate how to be creative, while enjoying the challenges of problem-solving through these real world assignments. Levine explains, “It’s very welcoming, very open and encouraging for new students.
Building relationships and building friendships are key components of what we offer at Poolesville.”

Since it is one of the smaller schools in Montgomery County, Poolesville’s teachers are able to focus on helping each student succeed in whatever area of study they are passionate about. The unique types of course work and programs help students prepare for entry-level college classes.

For more information contact George Neill:

Visit our Model Home & Design Center at 17919 Elgin Rd., Poolesville, MD 20837. Open daily 11am – 6pm.
Sales Office: 301-208-2588

How Brightwell Crossing Got Its Name

Categories: Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, News Highlights | Posted: September 18, 2015

Bright well Crossing’s name was inspired by Poolesville’s extensive history, but also a stroke of luck.

While developing plans for the community, Tom Kettler, president of Kettler Forlines Homes at Brightwell Crossing, received news that an unusual item was being sold by a historic restaurant in Thurmont, Maryland, a town located about one hour north of Poolesville. The item was a covered, wooden pedestrian bridge. While many people might not have use for such an item, Kettler thought the covered bridge would be the perfect addition to the new neighborhood he was planning.” As a resident of Poolesville, I have a strong interest in honoring Maryland s history and thought the new community would be the perfect place for a historic covered bridge,” said Kettler. “I felt I could simultaneously preserve a piece of our past, while adding a unique element to this exciting new neighborhood.” Kettler bought the bridge and transported it to Poolesville. It will be the focal point of the future six-acre Brightwell Crossing park including a Village Green, lacrosse, soccer field, basketball court, family picnic pavilion and multi age playgrounds, with 50 acres of protected woodland.

With the historic nature of the covered bridge and the Town of Poolesville in mind, Kettler set out to determine a suitable name for the new community he envisioned. After extensive research, Kettler, a member of the Montgomery County Historic Society, soon learned that the earliest patent granted in the vicinity of Poolesville was “Brightwell s Hunting Quarter,” patented by Richard Brightwell in October 10, 1695. Captain Richard Brightwell was a ranger who led his mounted scouting company along the Potomac River to help protect the inhabitants from the Susquehannock tribe. Brightwell and his friends also used the land for fishing in the Potomac River and streams and for hunting the abundant wildlife, which then included wolves, bears, deer and buffalo. And so the Brightwell Crossing name was born and the covered bridge, a focal point of the community, is prominently featured at Brightwell Crossing.

Kettler Forlines Homes Celebrates The Grand Opening Of The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing!

Categories: Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, News Highlights | Posted: September 22, 2014
The Kenwood

The Kenwood

After months of detailed planning, Kettler Forlines Homes is honored to announce the Grand Opening of The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing in the Town of Poolesville, in Montgomery County, Maryland! This is a new neighborhood of luxury single-family homes on 1/2 acre plus wooded homesites. The Reserve features six Energy Star and Indoor airPLUS certified designs – the Ashton, the Kensington, the Seneca, the Montgomery, the Kenwood and the Potomac.

Among the new floorplans, the Kenwood and Potomac designs feature something brand new and exclusive to Kettler Forlines Homes – a Family Guest House!  Designed to accommodate multi-generational living, this attached guest home features its own living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, and laundry, plus a private entrance, as well as an entrance to the main house. It’s perfect for grandparents or visitors!

The Reserve offers many home styles to choose from, with walk-out lots that back up to Dry Seneca Creek Stream Valley Park, full front porches, stone and brick fronts, wrap-around porches, side-load garages, distinctive exteriors, and open, airy interiors. These homes range in size from 2,900 sq. ft. to over 7,200 sq. ft., and are priced from the upper $600’s to the $900’s. Interactive floorplans for all our designs are available at, as is the Included Luxury Features list for each home.

The Brightwell Crossing community connects to 50 acres of protected woodlands, and includes an authentic wooden covered bridge along a walking path, a lacrosse/soccer field, a Village Green, a family picnic pavilion, multi-age playgrounds, and a multipurpose basketball court.

Visit our Model Home & Design Center at 17919 Elgin Rd., Poolesville, MD 20837. Open daily 11am – 6pm.  For more information about The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, please contact Community Sales Manager Chris Pikus at 301-208-2588 or We look forward to seeing you soon at The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, Montgomery County’s Newest Luxury Community.

For over 35 years, the details have made all the difference in Kettler Forlines Homes and neighborhoods. Come visit and you will find award-winning, energy-efficient designs, the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, a genuine dedication to affordability and value, countless included features, and many ways to create a home that is truly unique. For more details about our homes, visit

Kettler Forlines Homes is one of the region’s oldest and most successful family-owned home builders, having built more than 4,000 single family homes, villas and townhomes for families throughout Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Visit for more information.

Poolesville High School #1 4 Years In A Row!

Categories: About Our Schools, Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, News Highlights | Posted: June 6, 2014

Poolesville High School this week topped the list of Montgomery County schools that were ranked in on The Washington Post’s annual Challenge Index and earned the #4 ranking in the Washington, D.C. area, among 170 area high schools in the annual America’s Most Challenging High Schools report.

The most challenging high schools are determined by taking the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and dividing it by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June.

Poolesville High is not only distinguished in the Washington, D.C. region but has also consistently earned a listing in the top 100 of the Challenge Index rankings nationally, over the past four years. This year, Poolesville earned the 68th spot among high schools across the nation.

“I know I speak for my fellow commissioners and for all of our fellow residents from the Town of Poolesville when I say we are so proud of the academic excellence that Poolesville High School is becoming so well known for,” said Jim Brown, President of the Poolesville Town Commission. “We’re delighted to see that Poolesville High is once again not only at the top of the list for Montgomery County high schools, but that it has been recognized once again as among the finest high schools in our region and, indeed, the nation.”

New Home Source Names The Montgomery Model Home of the Week

Categories: Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, News Highlights | Posted: December 20, 2013

By Jennifer Segelke Jeffers
Located in historic Poolesville, Brightwell Crossing offers residents the benefits of small town living while providing easy access to major cities in Maryland and Virginia. Residents can enjoy the community’s six-acre park, which boasts a soccer/lacrosse field, basketball courts, picnic areas, tot lots and biking/walking trails.

Of the 3,555-sq. ft., four-bedroom home, Kettler Forlines Homes Brightwell Crossing Community Sales Manager Chris Pikus says “the Montgomery presents a traditional, yet open floor plan with visual lines that carry you throughout the space, leaving you to wonder what amazing feature you’ll find next.”

Kettler Forlines Homes makes donation to WUMCO food pantry

Categories: Blog, Brightwell Crossing Community News, News Highlights | Posted: September 25, 2013

Kettler Forlines Homes at Brightwell Crossing recently donated a processed 242 -pound Yorkshire hog to the food pantry at our local social service organization, Western Upper Montgomery County Help, Inc. (WUMCO).  Jane Stearns, Executive Director of WUMCO, Inc., took delivery of the donated frozen meat on Sept. 18th.


The hog was purchased from Hannah Leibrand, a 13-year old 4-H member from Dickerson, MD, at the 2013 Montgomery County Agricultural Fair as part of the Annual 4-H Livestock Auction.  Kettler Forlines Homes donated the meat to WUMCO, Inc. in memory of Roy Selby, Jr., who represented the local embodiment of community service. Roy lost his battle to cancer on Sept 14, 2013.


Tom Kettler, vice president and co-owner of Kettler Forlines Homes, personally delivered the meat to Ms. Stearns.  Tom said he is delighted to continue his company’s tradition of giving back to the Poolesville community.  “We see this as a win-win-win situation. We are able to support the local 4-H members, WUMCO and its mission of serving the community, while recognizing a true local hero, Roy Selby, who will be greatly missed.”

WUMCO, Inc. has been providing quick and friendly assistance to needy persons in Montgomery County for decades. Those wishing to more information or to support WUMCO, Inc. can visit their website at


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