Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. (tkhomedesign.com) has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years.
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.
After my January 2013 article in Professional Builder, “3 Ways to Huge Profits Through Lean Design,” was published, I was thrilled to get a shout-out from a faithful reader regarding a costly insulation mistake. It was too good not to share. Here is what he wrote:
Today we have a ranch (or if you are on the East Coast, a rambler) to review. It is a Lean Design with a ton of amenities, and it is a beauty. I’m betting Brent Musburger would have a field day with this looker. Let’s explore further:
A. Open kitchen plan is perfect for entertaining and allows a direct site line to the Great Room fireplace (and TV).
B. A fan favorite -– the laundry room is accessible from the master suite. This is one of the most popular trends that I encounter throughout the country.
It is clear that a housing recovery ground swell is underway. In 2013 we will be looking past survival and finally able to focus on business growth. That is why IBS 2013 is going to be phenomenal! The country’s best builders are already focusing on Lean as a platform to optimize their profits and maximize the marketability of their homes – here is your chance to do the same. There are two major programs being offered that will help you get started:
For the last several years Scott Sedam and I have been spreading the word about Lean design. Lean design is based on creating home designs that maximize marketability and profit while reducing construction waste. This is done through a collaborative design approach that involves the builder and the building team (including sales) as well as the builder’s trades and suppliers. It is a design approach that focuses on cost reduction while increasing aesthetics and overall amenities.