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The late Roger Caras, president emeritus of the ASPCA, once said, “Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.” No dog lover would disagree, and now architects are chiming in with a new art exhibit called Architecture for Dogs.
My eight-year-old son was asked recently about what I do. After describing my activities, typing on the computer and talking on the phone, he finally told his classmate, “He’s a magazine guy.” I find this amusing because I don’t think of myself as just a magazine guy. Frankly, the focus around our office is home building. We spend a lot of time at industry events, with our ears to the ground, attempting to discern movements in this incredible business. It’s a big job. 
Very few industry trade shows exude a raw enthusiasm and excitement like the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Last month in New Orleans, the lift in the overall residential construction market was quite palpable. So I asked many of the show attendees how they managed through the downturn, and if they are seeing more and better jobs now that home building and remodeling are stronger. The number of kitchen designers and custom builders who challenged the premise of my question—that their businesses must have experienced a decline over the past few years—struck me.
It’s well known that Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes, while they’re architectural masterpieces, often have structural issues such as leaky roofs. Wright also disdained such modern must-haves as large kitchens and abundant storage.
Scott Sedam and I are presenting at PCBC from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on June 5. The program is below and you can get your tickets right now at the PCBC website. The seats are filling up quick so if you are interested reserve your seat as soon as possible to make sure you can attend. I hope to see you there!
  Living in a small sliver of the language pie Rosetta Stone enlarged, we owe a debt of gratitude to the public company. Rosetta has been shelling out billions of marketing dollars for years now. 
    Last week I went to the Chicago filming of “America’s Got Talent”, the NBC show that accepts all comers who don’t make it on American Idol, X Factor, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, et al.  
One of the latest trends in community development is the farm—an integrated space for the production of organic food. I don’t think this is a brand-new idea, but it’s certainly one that has enjoyed renewed popularity ever since the baby boomers starting retiring or, if you will, reinventing themselves. The sustainability movement and the emphasis on organic, locally grown food play right into this trend.
A number of homebuilders in the Washington, D.C., area have stopped using the term “master” to describe the largest bedroom in the house. According to an article in the Baltimore Business Journal, Winchester Homes, Pulte Homes, NV Homes, Ryan Homes, Van Metre Cos. and D.R. Horton have all replaced “master” in their floor plans with such terms as “owner’s suite” or “owner’s bedroom.”
I despise the term Knowledge Worker. Why? Let’s start with the definition of Knowledge Worker and you can judge for yourself.
What if I told you there was a simple way to increase the production of your sales reps to provide a competitive advantage for your remodeling company and ultimately improved profitability and customer retention? I recently had a discussion with Professional Remodeler columnist Mark Richardson, CR, about the concept of team selling. Richardson has been discussing team selling strategies for a number of years, and he believes it’s more important now than ever before.
Six months ago we asked Bob Toll, the executive chairman of Toll Brothers, how he saw the market recovery playing out. Back then the home building market was clearly improving, but the extent and path of the recovery were hazy. He predicted strong demand, very limited supply, and almost shockingly he projected that prices would double in two years. Toll, who brings a perspective honed by several downturns, is on target so far. 
There are some characteristics that should be embedded in any New Product Development (NPD) process. This includes customer input, the involvement of cross functional teams, strong project management, concurrent engineering and risk management tools.  For example marketing and design are not the only departments that need to be involved in NPD, production/construction also need to be included.
In an earlier blog post, I talked about being inspired by the home improvement shows on HGTV. But I know at least one builder who gets design ideas from other types of television programs, such as dramas and reality shows.  
The housing market has changed so drastically in the last few years that it can be difficult for builders to stay current with their plan portfolio. Most every builder I work with has old plans they are offering that either need to be reworked or let go. Consumers want drama, open spaces, efficiency of plans, and affordability. The question becomes, when to keep an old workhorse? The answer is simple. If the plan can be brought up to date without changing the foundation perimeter, or the bulk of the elevation massing, it is probably a good candidate for a rework.
Would you ever use Twitter to announce your family dinner is being served?
Remodelers, are you ready for more work? The Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University recently unveiled the report, “The U.S. Housing Stock: Ready for Renewal,” which maps out the key areas and demographics that will fuel your remodeling business for the next decade.

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