TK Design & Associates, Inc.

Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. ( 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.

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“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.” - Eugene O'Neill

Nothing brings up feelings of fairy tale romanticism about a home quite like a turret. With a soaring roofline and endless natural light, it is very easy to fall in love with a well done turret. In this plan the turret becomes a space within a space that is used for retreat. Let’s take a closer look:


This little plan has really been a high producer. It is simple to build, lean, and has great curb appeal. As a result this plan has sold very well for several builders.

Whether you call them crickets or saddles, the little patch of roof that is bridging water past a chimney or other element obstructing water flow is one of the hardest things for most framers to get right on the roof. Why is this?

After last weeks blog  about the great match up of Lean and custom homes I received the following inspiring "boots on the ground" letter from reader and fellow Leanista Roger Bess:


I'm a sucker for a good love story. I get emotional at the end of Pretty Woman, and will watch Can't Buy Me Love over and over again. However, one story that really gets me misty is the love story between custom home clients and Lean Design. It's allure is based on the fact that the pairing of the two is just so rare. It is every bit as rare as the hapless geeky guy getting the prom queen, or the doe eyed working girl (with the heart of gold) ending up with the billionaire corporate raider.

Professional Builder recently held a survey, and to quote Editor-in-Chief Dave Barista: "When it comes to selecting exterior design features and materials for their new homes, buyers are most concerned with the overall curb appeal of the home's exterior ... More than three-quarters of builder respondents (76.6 percent) said 'great design/curb appeal' was an important issue among their buyers."

The title of this blog is tongue in cheek (or maybe foot in mouth) as a follow up to a blog I wrote a while back titled, "Second Floor Laundries are Just Stupid, or are They?"

A young doctor was just setting up his first office when his secretary told him there was a man to see him. The doctor wanted to make a good first impression by having the man think he was successful and very busy. He told his secretary to show the man in.

At that moment, the doctor picked up the telephone and pretended to be having a conversation with a patient. The man waited until the "conversation" was over. Then, the doctor put the telephone down and asked, "Can I help you?"

To which the man replied, "No, I'm just here to connect your telephone."

Better bust out the Grey Poupon for this one. Turrets, steep roof, stone and stucco will drive up the cost per square foot a bit on this design. However, as I have mentioned in the past, Lean Design is not about cost, it is about value. Lean Design focuses on eliminating waste and providing maximum value for the customer through collaborative design.

In a custom home scenario like this one, the collaboration happens with the customer, building team, architect and key trades and suppliers. Let's take a closer look:

“Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it's tuna, but it says 'Chicken by the Sea.'"

We can thank Jessica Simpson for addressing that puzzling situation. A bit trickier, however, is the mystery centered around Lean design. Let me help clear it up.

Lean design is an optimization of materials and processes achieved by high-level trade/supplier collaboration. Lean design focuses on the elimination of waste and is viable at ANY price point. A $5 million home can be just as Lean as an $85,000 home.


October 2016

This Month in Professional Builder


The Home Builders Institute is dedicated to providing a path to employment for those who need one—and it’s helping alleviate the labor shortage in the process

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