Blogs



July 21, 2014

Back to the Cabin: More Inspiration for the Classic American Getaway. This companion piece to 2001’s “The Cabin” is a collection of 37 inspiring designs from across North America, with architect and “cabinologist” Dale Mulfinger offering fresh insight and seasoned strategies.

July 16, 2014

I’ve been talking to builders lately about coping with tight lot setbacks. Some build in the city, where it’s commonplace to see a new home shoehorned on a lot with 2- or 3-foot side yards.

July 08, 2014

We are living in a new era of design. No longer reserved just for the rich or those with artistic sensibilities, good design has become democratized, and extends now even to the most mundane of everyday objects—such as phones, door handles, and vegetable peelers.

July 08, 2014

Baby boomers are builders’ best friends.

July 02, 2014

From 1950 to 2013, the average new home in the United States grew from 983 square feet to 2,673 square feet, a hefty 172-percent increase in size. Current median square footage, with half of all homes above and half below, is even larger.

July 02, 2014

During a recent trip to Southern California, I was struck by the pervasiveness of far-forward planning by builders big and small.

June 05, 2014

In my travels working with builders all over the country, I have the opportunity to see a lot of home designs. I see good, bad, fair, and occasionally great plans and elevations. I am able to walk a lot of models each year and see in the flesh what is working and what is not.

June 05, 2014

Remember when interior designer Carole Eichen coined the term “merchandising” to describe her approach to model homes? I’m not sure how many interior designers still use that term, but I know Mary Cook isn’t crazy about it.

May 12, 2014

Some years ago, a small production builder told me that he didn’t want his company to get too big. Smaller companies were nimble, he explained, and large ones were just too cumbersome to respond quickly to changing market conditions and consumer preferences.

May 12, 2014

Our ranking of the industry’s largest companies, Professional Builder’s annual Housing Giants report, reveals a lot about the home building market.

May 01, 2014

This is a transformer-type plan that offers “plug and play” options without too much of a fuss for the builder. A very popular option as of late is the multigenerational offering.  Having the ability to take a space and convert it to appeal to a family with an aging parent is priceless.

April 29, 2014

Where do you stand on mid-century modern design? Do you love it or hate it? In the San Francisco Bay area, a resurgence of interest in Joseph Eichler homes has the lovers and the haters riled up all over again.

April 21, 2014

Spring is here, regardless of the fact that it is snowing in the D.C. area as I write this at the end of March, and it’s the beginning, traditionally, of when things really start rolling in home building. The importance of the spring selling season is a given.

April 21, 2014

In home building, experience counts for a lot. It takes years and, in some cases, hard lessons learned to move forward in profitable new directions.

December 10, 2013

Move-up buyers are a fickle bunch, and this blog entry focuses on a Lean Design for that group. It is actually an excerpt from a future House Review article that will appear in next February’s Professional Builder. Let’s take a closer look at this 3,700-square-foot home.

March 28, 2014

I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Schumacher from Schumacher Homes a few years back while doing plan reviews at the International Builders' Show. Besides the fact that she is witty and charming, she is also brimming with wisdom.

March 24, 2014

As regular readers know, I rarely miss an opportunity to mention Frank Lloyd Wright in my blog. That goes for his descendants, too. FLW’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, will be featured in the April issue of the Design Innovation newsletter.

March 24, 2014

Late last month the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, more commonly known as builder confidence, fell by 10 points from 56 to 46. It was the largest single monthly drop in three decades, beating the nine-point drop immediately after 9/11.

March 13, 2014

Although recovery for home building has been looking up for a while—with new-home starts in 2013 up 18 percent over 2012 and new-home sales in January at their highest level since July 2008—coming out of the housing recession completely is proving harder than any of us thought it would be.

February 26, 2014

Maybe you saw the New York Times article “In Housing, Big is Back (Not Counting the Extras).” While it doesn’t overtly herald the return of the McMansion, the implication is

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