Posted by: Natalia Elko
Welcome to Beyond the Build, an exciting new series highlighting incredible builder projects that inspire, current trends top of mind for homeowners, and a sneak peek at one-of-a-kind properties.
In this month’s Beyond the Build, we spoke with Jay Gross of Coba Properties about his stunning Massachusetts Avenue Heights build in Washington D.C. I’ve been following Jay’s amazing work for years, and this estate is truly remarkable—read on for all the exceptional details.
1. Hi, Jay! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Coba Properties?
I was born and raised in D.C. proper and have always been interested in real estate. I started out renovating old Victorian rowhouses into group home rentals and then organically grew Coba to what it is today, a premier D.C. development, investment, and construction firm. Coba now works on projects ranging from high-end single-family homes to boutique condo and apartment buildings to large mixed-use projects.
2. Can you tell our readers about the Mass Ave Heights home and what makes this project so special?
The Piano Estate is one of the largest, most ultra-luxury single family spec homes ever built in DC. At over 11,000 square feet and on more than half an acre within minutes of downtown (and key landmarks like The White House), The Piano Estate is truly one-of-a-kind. Typically, homes of this size and grandeur are only undertaken by an end-user client but the sellers struggled to find a homeowner willing to take on a project of this magnitude and we were excited to bring this historic property back to life.
3. Is there anything you like to do before beginning a big project? How do you make sure your team, the client, and anyone else you may be working with are all on the same page?
We analyzed this property for months before finally deciding to make an offer. After deciding to move forward, it took nearly a year to get to an agreement with the seller. With a big project like this, we like to line up the whole project team (architect, interior designer, construction, sales) before we acquire the property to make sure we have the best people available for the job.
4. What’s your favorite part about the kitchen in this home? Any sneak peek details you’re able to share?
My favorite part about the kitchen is the large island which has a single slab for the countertop and that same slab wraps down to create a marble sink. It was difficult to procure such a large and beautiful slab and we’re very happy with how it turned out. Additionally, standing at the kitchen sink you can look all the way across the house to the other side of the property which I think will be really enjoyable on a day-to-day basis for the future owner.
5. Is there a “rule” you love to break?
I used to hate mixing metals, but we’ve seen really positive responses to doing so and have tried to incorporate that more and more into our projects. It gives us an opportunity to bring in more textures and unique finishes. In general, we try to think about who the end-user for the property might be and design so that we’re keeping their needs in mind. We’re also very keen on functional design and making sure that the spaces we create are both beautiful and usable.
6. What’s your best piece of advice for someone embarking on a remodel or new build?
Take your time to think through everything ahead of time! We find that our projects are much easier and smoother with solid planning from the beginning. Also find a quality, reliable contractor! It can make all the difference to how difficult the project ends up being.
7. Did you run into any big challenges while building the home? How did you pivot?
Initially, we had a different idea for the floorplans. After we did our initial demo, we realized that those plans weren’t feasible given that we were trying to keep as much of the existing structure as possible. We sat down and revised the floorplans and I think we ended up better off with the changes!
8. What’s the biggest trend you’re currently seeing in the kitchen space with your clients? What about in the overall home?
Two toned cabinets (different lowers and uppers or different island color from wall cabinet color) have been really popular. While in this project we stayed with a single cabinet color, we have done many other projects recently with multiple colors and materials in our kitchen cabinetry.
As for overall home design trends, we’ve seen high demand for easy flow between spaces. Not every buyer loves a truly open floor plan but every buyer likes to be able to move from room to room and have the flow make sense.
9. What was the most interesting part about this project? Is there anything else you’d like to share or add?
I think the most interesting part is that because of the size and price point of the house, we were able to incorporate so many new and exciting things that we don’t always get to include and aren’t necessarily common for urban homes in D.C. For example, this property has a home gym, media room, wine cellar, pool, two full kitchens, and 7 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms. We had a blast getting to choose so many different materials and designs!
Thanks, Jay! To see more exceptional details, find inspiration at Coba’s website: https://cobadc.com/
Take a look at the gorgeous Thermador products featured in this project: