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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.
Art and architecture lovers, rejoice: Tour season is about to begin at architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House campus in New Canaan, Conn. From May to November, the public is invited to view 14 Johnson-designed structures and a variety of paintings and sculpture on the 49-acre campus.
His candor surprised me. I’ve never had anyone actually admit it.
It has been long been said that “homebuilding is a local business” and as much as I’d like to think that Lean always transcends locality, that is not always the case. Last week during one of our LeanWeek events in Austin, the head of a drywall installation company asked about using 54” width drywall—aka “stretch board”—in lieu of standard 48” widths for 9’ ceilings. Nine foot ceilings are rampant in Austin and so many other markets these days—unless of course they are 10’.
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:
Active-adult communities sure have come a long way. We all know that the massive numbers of baby boomers hitting retirement age want to remain active in their golden years, and they’re very demanding about home and community design. But some of the newer projects coming online are over the top. Think four-star-quality cuisine and state-of-the-art gyms with personal trainers and Zumba classes.
M. Night Shyamalan, the director of The 6th Sense, was opposed to including what has become one of the most memorable movie lines of all-time “I see dead people.”  
Seattle architect Ross Chapin has been designing and writing about small homes for 30 years. Examples of Chapin’s work can be found in various parts of the country. Some of his techniques for maximizing space will be featured in the May issue of Professional Builder, but Chapin has many more ideas than I could fit in a single article. Here are a few good ones:
Working at my second office yesterday (Starbucks), two latino twenty-somethings and their language choices caught my attention.  

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