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Expanding homeowners’ outdoor living spaces has become one of the top remodeling projects. The projects often involve upgrades to better-quality materials, which usually means considering the variety of composite and alternative-material deck boards on the market.

Outdoor living spaces are expanding, with larger decks and more attention to the entire yard. This trend gives homeowners ways to extend their entertaining spaces. As projects expand their scope, contractors can suggest amenities that add value while making their proposal more attractive.

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 has been declared “Deck Safety Month” by the North American of Deck & Railing Association, a program the group started in 2006. Today, homeowners are more aware of the need to keep their deck safe, but they often don’t know what that entails.

Perhaps two of the most famous quotes related to strategic planning are:

‘In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.’ Dwight D. Eisenhower

and

‘No strategy survives first contact with the enemy.’  Moltke the Elder.

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.

A lot has been written recently on the industry problem of getting good trades and rightly so. However, there is another problem you should not overlook, losing your current employees!

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.

ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover challenged Veridian Homes (of Madison WI) in 2008 to build a home for a family in need.  The home builder’s quality management practices and innovation culture were the foundation of the project’s success, as the team used modified approaches and creative solutions to

During the last 50 years, the rate of growth of households has outpaced that of population growth in the U.S. The total number of households more than doubled during that period, increasing from 53 million in 1960 to 115 million in 2010 and 117 million in 2012.

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.

St. Patrick was a man who very early in life was made aware of his strengths and weaknesses.

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