An Award-Winning Home Design with Flexibility

In Clovis, Calif., McCaffrey Homes is building out its community called Palmina, and the homes are turning heads for their flexible floor plans, energy efficiency and ability to capture entry-level, move-up and move-down buyers.

By By Mark Jarasek, Senior Editor, Electronic Media | October 31, 2009
Spreading the Word
The story behind Palmina
Palmina Floor Plans Online
Genoa Model Amenities and Energy-Saving Features

In Clovis, Calif., McCaffrey Homes is building out its community called Palmina in the 3,307-acre Loma-Vista master planned urban village, and the homes are turning heads for their flexible floor plans, energy efficiency and ability to capture entry-level, move-up and move-down buyers alike. The collection of designs yields not only industry accolades but also steady sales.

The Clovis housing market was ripe for something different that would capture the imagination of home buyers. McCaffrey Homes recognized the opportunity.


A CARRIAGE-STYLE garage door and stone exterior boost curb appeal, a major focus of the builder.
Photos: Christopher Mayer Photography

“To McCaffrey’s credit, they sought to get something stylized that sets them apart from anything else that has ever been built in that market,” says architect Kevin L. Crook, adding that the majority of homes found in Clovis tend to be “very generic.” Crook’s firm, Kevin L. Crook Architect, was the creator of the Palmina in Clovis collection.

The Genoa plan is among five designs found at Palmina. Its floor plan can be flexed in a surprising variety of ways, and the exterior design is offered in options of either Tuscan, French or traditional elevations. Depending upon the floor plan configuration, this home’s size can range anywhere from 2,053 square feet up to 2,422.

Capturing attention from the curb

“We were looking to create something with strong curb appeal,” says Lauren Knowlton, vice president of marketing for McCaffrey Homes. All of the plans offered at Palmina feature either brick or stone exteriors. Attractive carriage-style garage doors are included to provide an additional touch of elegance and distinction, Knowlton says.


THE GREAT ROOM serves as the centerpiece of the home, with a strong connection to the kitchen, seen to the left.

The curb appeal captured the attention of the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) Gold Nugget judges this year, who gave the Genoa model a Grand Award in the category of Outstanding Single Family Detached Home under 2,500 square feet. Award judges noted it as “a well-crafted plan that lives larger than its square footage.” They were also impressed with how the home was “engaged with the outdoors from the entry and throughout the house.”

Home buyers are embracing the Palmina design collection as well. Knowlton says that the 165-home community, which opened January 2008 on the cusp of a crashing housing market, is currently two-thirds sold.

“We’ve been reaching our sales goals,” Knowlton says, even though they’ve been competing with their fair share of foreclosures in that market. “Our homes are cutting-edge, sustainable and boast energy-efficiency, and it sets us apart,” she says.

Crook designed the Palmina Collection of homes to be flexible enough to attract move-up, first-time and even move-down buyers. “It can morph into different ways you can live,” he says. This concept is best illustrated on Genoa’s interactive floor plan found on McCaffrey’s Web site.

Thus far, 48 percent of buyers have fallen into the first-time category, 47 percent in the move-up category with the 5 percent balance being move-down. Its price ranges $313,990 to $342,990, placing it in the middle price range among the other models offered at Palmina.

“It tends to be a move-up market here, but our plan was to create something that would have a broad appeal,” Knowlton says.

Buyers have tended to be mostly young business professionals with many in the medical field along with those working in government positions. The Clovis Community Hospital is very close by and has recently embarked on a $285 million expansion. “There’s a shortage of lab technicians and nurses,” Knowlton says, which in part should serve to fuel future market growth and demand.

Viva la vista

An important design element of the Genoa plan is its orientation to the outdoors.

“Outdoor living is popular in the area, which is why we wanted to incorporate courtyards with porches and patios,” Knowlton says. “It’s very unique for this sub-market,” she adds.


OUTDOOR LIVING is emphasized. An expanse of windows allows views and daylight.               

Crook says a holistic interaction with the outdoors was a main focus of the design concept. He noted that space in both the front and back of the home was purposely carved out to allow unobstructed views from room to room as well as to an expanse of windows to the outside.

“The main focus was what was done at the center of the plan,” he says. “Our goal was to create a home with vistas that didn’t have any black space. We wanted to create a spacious feeling that allowed vistas across the room to the outdoors.”

The open plan design features a great room that serves as a centerpiece with a strong connection to the kitchen. Knowlton says the configuration has been “very well-received” among home buyers.


Spreading the Word

McCaffrey markets their homes largely through traditional methods: in local newspapers, with signage, on billboards and with e-mail blasts to their database of prospects.

Being a part of the Loma-Vista urban village also serves as a positive selling point as it offers amenities including 22 miles of tree-lined trails that link parks, open spaces and community centers.

The story behind Palmina


Palmina is actually named after Palmina “Pauline” Bonadelle, an Italian immigrant matriarch who settled in California’s Central Joaquin Valley where she has nurtured three generations of home builders. Palmina translated from Italian means “little palm.” And Palmina was the inspiration for the design.

“Palmina is my grandmother,” says Lauren Knowlton, who represents the third generation at McCaffrey Homes and currently serves as the firm’s vice president of marketing. “Grandma loved the outdoors and outdoor entertaining. We worked her love of the outdoors in the floor plan design. … We tried to design homes that would reflect my grandmother’s values, which we think are worth preserving.”

An extensive essay on the McCaffrey Homes Web site goes into greater detail about how the Palmina collection reflects her lifelong dedication to family, friends and home.

The team worked to convey her generous spirit by using expansive great rooms that invite family and friends to gather and linger around.

And the story does help in their marketing efforts.

“We’ve found that people are indeed moved by the story,” Knowlton says.

Palmina Floor Plans Online

McCaffrey Homes offers an online tool to demonstrate the floor plan configurations that are possible. Check it out here (go to page, scroll down to Genoa and click on "View Plans" to see interactive floor plan. And while you’re there, read how McCaffrey markets the story about the inspiration behind the collection – About Palmina.

Genoa Model Amenities and Energy-Saving Features

The homes at Palmina are all Energy Star Certified as well as GreenPoint Rated from California’s Build it Green organization, which certifies to a home buyer that a home has been third-party verified to meet an array of green practices.


“Our homes exceed the California energy code by 35 percent,” Knowlton says, adding that a host of energy-efficient features are included.

“These are truly dream homes,” says Knowlton. “Our amenities package is so complete that buyers don’t have to add any upgrades to create designer-perfect residences.”

Among the amenities and energy-saving features included in the Genoa:

  • Maple cabinets with concealed hinges, melamine interiors and oil rubbed bronze knobs
  • Ceramic tile floors
  • Concrete tile roof with limited lifetime manufacturer's warranty
  • Carriage style roll-up garage door
  • Front yard landscaping with automatic sprinkler system
  • Large covered back patio
  • 10-foot ceilings on first floor and volume ceilings on second floor
  • Gas fireplace with precast hearth, face and mantle
  • Granite countertops with full height granite backsplash
  • Stainless steel GE appliances
  • Kohler dual compartment cast-iron white kitchen sink with pullout faucet
  • Granite kitchen island
  • Ceramic tile vanity with Kohler plumbing fixtures with oil rubbed bronze finish
  • Tankless water heater
  • 14.5-SEER ground mounted HVAC system
  • Dual-paned, Low-E vinyl framed windows by Ply Gem
  • Pre-foundation pest treatment
  • Zoned central heating and air conditioning
  • Energy recovery ventilation system