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There is a movement afoot in Historic Downtown Mansfield, where an abundance of millennials are flocking to the “lifestyle” of community and walkability.

Julie Short, one of the city’s foremost authorities on all things real estate, says the trend has its roots in a number of factors, not the least of which is the fact that Historic Downtown Mansfield is a “happening” place these days.

“Part of the draw is the ability to walk to entertainment, restaurants and access to the local parks trails system,” Short says. “The second, and equally important, part is the culture of community. The craftsman style homes that continue to pop up throughout the area are all constructed with sizeable front porches for that very reason. The city wanted to encourage citizens to get out and visit with their neighbors.”

In turn, contractors began building a community, not just a collection of structures. Short and her husband Stoney have long been mainstays of the community – in fact, Julie was recently voted to the city council. Together, with her marketing acumen and his building prowess, the couple is helping shape the downtown area. “Stoney and I are big fans of Historic Downtown Mansfield and have always loved the craftsman style from our work with Habitat for Humanity,” Julie says. “We were so excited to find land in the area and get started. Originally, we really thought empty nesters would be the primary buyers, but we have been surprised at how popular the style and location is with young couples. Stoney builds them; I sell them. We both weigh in on floor plans, design features and colors, but most of the homes are custom-built for each family, from foundation to roof top.”

While Julie notes that there is still the need and desire for traditional neighborhoods, many young families are opting for a somewhat smaller footprint. The downtown lots are typically 4,000 square feet, with the houses less than 2,000 square feet.

“But don’t think for a second these smaller homes don’t have just as much bang for the buck,” she says. “These millennials scour Pinterest and Houzz, both popular Internet options for home ideas, to get unique and creative design ideas to make their homes functional and fun.”

For instance, in the home the Shorts created for Jason and Alex Farrington, the “fur babies,” as Julie calls them, have their own little room under the stairs that blends well with the total design and feel of the home. The Short household (home of Sean, Courtney and Shirley Belle) has hidden doors and still boasts an oversized three-car garage.

The home they built for Hayden, Lindsey, Addi and Weston Dalley might be smaller in square footage, but it still has all the bells and whistles showcasing three bedrooms, three full baths, a mud room and lots of custom cabinetry design. Stoney, owner of Mansfield Custom Homes, says one of the best ways to make these smaller homes feel so roomy is the high ceiling design and the use of 8-foot doors throughout.

Julie says these new millennial-occupied dwellings are well suited for the lifestyles of the people inhabiting them.

“These homeowners can often be found at Twisted Root, Mary Lou’s Coffee Shop or at the LOT – Live Outdoor Theater enjoying a concert, all within walking distance of their front door,” she says. “Josh and Kelly Hatter enjoy taking their twins to get an ice cream downtown and walk the neighborhood just to see who they will run into. They know someone is bound to be out, enjoying their front porch, perhaps with a cold glass of ice tea!”

Because the “move downtown” trend is still white hot, Julie and Stoney plan to continue developing the area for all buyers – not just the younger ones. Julie says the best way to contact the couple is by visiting mchtexas.com or calling her at 682-552-4384. You also can visit her real estate website, thejulieshortteam.com.