The cover story of Time’s July 14 issue is a 39-page special report, “The Smarter Home.” Naturally, I had to read it.
Housing as Fashion
Houses are a lot like fashion.
Houses are a lot like fashion. When it looks good, is priced right and is in the right spot, shoppers buy. Such is the case with Amador by Bill Davidson where home shoppers purchased 10 houses in the first weekend of sales.
|Spanish Colonial Revival house in San Diego (photo near headline) features rich earth tones and wrought iron decorative details at the windows and balcony. A study loft over front door is the crowning touch to this volume space in a 4065 square-foot plan at Amador in San Diego.|
Amador, which is priced from $639,900 to $779,900, is the latest in a distinctive line of housing designs by a man who has established a reputation as a boutique builder. Davidson has worked to establish a brand name within the competitive Southern California housing market for both small and large projects. Even the name of his current project has an elegant feel to it; Amador means loving or fond in Spanish.
To keep on the cutting edge of housing design, Davidson looks beyond the residential industry to study trends and styles in clothing, automobiles and coffee. "I follow these industries because they are traditional and they provide information about how to establish a brand name, which is a key in housing."
Amador has what Davidson calls a Spanish Colonial Revival style. Though there are Mediterranean and Craftsman design elements, the exteriors are dominated by a look that has been fostered in California since the 1920 and '30s. Colored with rich earth tones like golds and greens, the houses look like an inspiration from the land itself, according to Davidson. "I do not like to get into the mustard and tomato soup colors."
Most noticeable in the architecture is the attention to detail. The use of wrought iron, tile, cement and even wood, glass and stucco is eye catching. Elaborately designed wrought iron graces the entry gates to plans one and two. Ceramic tiles are embedded in the front steps to plan one. The walkway to plan three is red cement. Other highlights include a cozy front porch along the path to a courtyard entry.in plan one. A circular stairway and a second-story study/computer loft stand out in plan two. Plan three includes a courtyard off the main hall.
Davidson combined fine architecture by Douglas Mansfield of Laguna Beach, Calif., with a desirable location to complete the buyer list of "must-haves." Carmel Valley, an area east of Del Mar, Calif. has what concerns Davidson's buyers most: top-rated schools.
Davidson thought he would draw people from older sections of San Diego. But most of his buyers have been transferees from the East Coast. Families with children make up the majority of home buyers at Amador, but there are couples without children buying the houses as well, which range from 3760 square feet to 4325 square feet. Plans include six or seven bedrooms and 41/2 or 5 baths. Hard construction costs were $55 a square foot, which he said was $5 to $7 higher than other production builders.
Word of mouth has been the number one generator of traffic and buyers to this site, according to Davidson. The company ran one preview ad in the local community weekly before the models opened on November 11, 1998. Davidson ran another ad just three times in the San Diego Union-Tribune. To keep the momentum going until all 62 houses are sold, Davidson plans to send a direct mail piece to older, more affluent communities. From November to April of this year, Davidson sold 31 houses. The timing of releases now are driven by how fast he can build the houses (five to six months).
Major Products Used U.S. Tile roof, Merlex stucco walls, Built Best windows, Holmes garage door and Superior Fireplace.
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