Lean Design



A trend I am seeing throughout the country is that builders are stepping up their game relating to elevations.

This 2,800-square-foot plan utilizes Lean design to combat narrow-lot woes.

Imagine you are in a cement box quickly filling up with water. The box is sealed on all sides, yet you still find a way out and survive. How? I will get back to that one. This week we have a plan that works to solve the riddles presented by today’s buyers.

Let’s take a closer look:

What do you do if a previous best-selling plan hits the skids? Dump it, pitch it, give it the old heave-ho? Possibly, but many builders are using another strategy. All throughout the country builders are taking a fresh look at their existing plans and re-imagining their existing Turnberrys and Devonshires as a vehicle to greatly increase sales and profits. 

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!

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.

Like Reese Witherspoon in a romantic comedy, this house flat out exudes charm. It’s a simple ranch that hits all the key marketing hot spots for today’s buyer. The open plan and long site lines also help it to live a whole lot larger than what it is.

Let’s take a closer look:

The overriding principle of Lean Design is marketability. The winning combo is to make the home simple and efficient to build while having an elevation that will blow your face off. Make the design current with all the hottest trends, but hold the complexity of multiple foundation jogs, improper building dimensions, and overuse of engineered lumber. A few weeks back I heard from Lloyd Poe, a great builder who owns Lifestyle Homes out of Richmond Virginia. He wrote:

As I travel the country working with builders I am always on the lookout for emerging trends. There is a hot one cooking right now—decorative ceilings.

Sept. 20, 1977, was the day that I breathlessly awaited the conclusion of the shark-jumping episode of "Happy Days." All week long I had fretted about Fonzie’s mid-air cliff hanger. While Fonzie (clad in leather jacket and water skis) successfully made the jump and lived to be cool another day, the series "Happy Days" was not so lucky--it took a turn for the worse and was never the same again.

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