24. December 2012 08:40
For a few years now my family has been building a Christmas Eve tradition. While not nearly as elaborate as the picture to the right, my family builds a ginger-bread house. It is a sticky, gooey process. My wife bakes the walls and roof pieces. I build the house. My daughters take glee in all the trimmings laid out before them. We all love decorating the house with all the sugary trimmings.
The house never really turns out the way I think it should. It's not really that square. It leans a bit. The kids argue over where the trimmings should go and then giggle with delight when they sneak some trimmings to eat.
In the end, we've all had a great time. We've made some memories we'll share for years. We've spent some time together in one place at the same time.
It's like a miracle. Here are some really "Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses"
From the staff at Design Basics and HER Home Magazine, have a safe and Merry Christmas!
Greg DodgeVice President.
26. November 2012 13:53
From the Brady's to the Simpsons. You've seen these TV homes. Take a look at some of America's most popular TV family homes and learn about the American building process from TV's favorite 70's architect Mike Brady.
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9. October 2012 10:39
In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation! Entertaining has taken on a new priority, but entertaining preferences are highly individualized. Builders need to understand your entertaining style. And you need to make sure your builder gets your style.
We've refer to homeowners who enjoy formal entertaining as "Claires". Sophisticated finishes and open layouts are preferred, but Claires look for a sense of room definition. Outdoor spaces are often considered an extension of the indoor socializing, so the indoor/outdoor connection is key.
"Elise" is the name we've given to traditional buyers whose entertaining style tends to focus on family get-togethers or having a few close friends over. Conversation is key, as is getting everyone together. Flexible, free-flowing eating areas which can expand by adding another table are favored (think big, family Thanksgiving dinner gatherings.)
Fun-loving, "Maggie's" entertaining style revolves around "doing". It could be movie night at her home, or cards or pool. It could be a scrapbooking party or other type of "girls' night out". Maggies may have trouble seeing themselves in your home until they know where the big TV goes. Then there's her kids' entertaining space to consider. When she's got friends over, where will her kids go if their friends are over, too?
From lighting to soundproofing issues, entertaining influences design more than most people realize.
To learn more about the buyer profile described in this post, read about Finally About Me and take the quiz to learn your buyer profile.
7. June 2012 14:36
While the debate rages on over garage size and placement (see this month's White Paper for solutions), an emerging concept is to design a tandem 3rd stall and show an option for finishing off that space. That way, buyers can understand the trade-offs: more storage or additional living space!
We would love to hear your feedback on a new plan we're developing, the Windsor Cottage, which illustrates this very concept.
Please send your comments to email@example.com or post them here!
Without moving exterior walls, what would you design differently (for example, add window(s) in the dining/living room)?
27. April 2012 08:51
...is common in resale homes, but can be a very misleading question in new construction! Why?
Different builders calculate square footage differently. An identical home with brick exterior walls will measure more square feet than the identical home with traditional siding.
What square footage was included in the sq. ft. figure? Basements? Attics? Were staircases counted once or twice? Porches/decks/patios? The garage?
What's included in the square footage price you were told? Builder's included features vary widely. Wood floors and stone countertops make a home cost more per square foot than the same design with vinyl flooring and laminate tops.
Your choices have a huge impact on your cost per square foot. You will probably make many selections for your home. Iron staircase spindles and expensive appliances don't add to a home's square footage but do add to it's cost per square foot.
Land costs are a BIG component in a cost per square foot number. Was the homesite included in the cost per sq. ft. price quoted? A "premium" homesite will increase the cost per square foot (if land costs are included) compared with a "standard" lot.
When evaluating potential home builders, be sure you are comparing bids based on similar grounds. Don't get fooled by a low cost per square foot up front. And then pay for it later when you close on your new home.
9. April 2012 12:26
The popularity of homes with two master suites is growing rapidly. Buyer profiles vary from households with aging parents or adult children sharing the home with you. We recently spoke with an individual looking for a home with three master suites for three widows/widowers who wanted companionship and the advantages of home ownership!
Especially in homes designed for a basement foundation, or homes which can have additional bedrooms upstairs, expect to be seeing more dual-master suite homes coming to the market!
Example dual owner's suite home plans:
29354 the Welker29353 the Sadie
23. February 2012 14:03
Shortly after my wife and I decided to build a home, on a nice February day, I stood up on our lot and surveyed the view. No homes had been built, the development was covered in ankle deep snow and the view of the woods and lakes was awesome.
While I knew the view would not last as homes were built and the development filled in, I didn't account for one small aspect of our lot's location. The lot is a pie shaped lot with the point of the pie curbside along the outside curve of the street.
So what you say. What does it matter? Here's what matters.
My 3-car garage requires a larger, wider driveway at the curb. In and of itself, that's no big deal. What I DID NOT account for in selecting the lot was how the snow plow would throw all that snow on my driveway. Each time the plow comes around the curve, the snow literally flies of the edge of the blade and is piled high and deep on my driveway.
A couple of days before I left to travel to the 2012 International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida, it snowed in Omaha. It wasn't a lot of snow - maybe 6 or seven inches, but it was a heavy, wet snow. So wet in fact my super-charged 24", dual stage snow-blower couldn't deal with it. My kids and I ended up shoveling the mountain of snow at the curb by hand.
I know. I know. It's a sad, sob story. But here's my point - Pick your lot and home plan very carefully! There are things you might not account for. Things you will wish you had known.
Ask questions of your builder, your REALTOR, and your friends. Don't end up cussing your choice every time is snows, rains or whatever.
When you built your home, what did you miss? What's the one thing that bugs the crap out of you every single time you have to deal with it?
20. February 2012 16:48
Ups and Downs
If you're building a new home with either a basement, second floor or both, where do you want the stairs to be situated? Stairs located in the center of the home may minimize hallways upstairs but many times center stairs are an assumption at the design phase. When center stairs run along the entry, they may squeeze the traffic pattern and make the space appear and feel tight. Stairs right at the entry may interrupt movement through the home when the entry door is open.
Many of today's buyers prefer an open, inviting entry view which does not include the staircase, locating those stairs instead to one side of the home, often near the garage. Attending the public grand opening of a new model home in Minneapolis, the most common visitor comments complimented the rear staircase location!
Example Floor Plans
Moss Bluff - Design 43013
Flacco - Design 29352
Winston Court - 9206
11. June 2011 10:00
Opening post - Welcome to our blog. [More]