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First, Best Impressions: The 2022 Nationals

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The Nationals

First, Best Impressions: The 2022 Nationals

These winners of NAHB’s 2022 National Sales and Marketing Awards, 'The Nationals,' offer progressive ideas to meet and manage a new era of consumer expectations in homebuying


By Layne Deakins, Associate Editor; Stacey Freed; and Diane Kittower April 5, 2022
2022 Nationals Best Community Welcome Center winner
2022 Nationals Best Community Welcome Center winner: Rise Welcome Center, in Great Park Neighborhoods, Irvine, Calif.
This article first appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Pro Builder.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) annual National Sales and Marketing Awards honor the best in new-home sales and marketing in 12 categories. This selection of winners from across the nation showcases sales and marketing efforts—from design centers to welcome centers, and community amenities and landscaping to model merchandising—that are exemplary and innovative in engaging homebuyers and meeting, or exceeding, their expectations for what a new-home and new-home community can deliver. 

This extended version of the article that appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Pro Builder features additional images from Nationals winners.

Best Design Center

The Studio

Alpharetta, Ga.

Builder: Ashton Woods
Interior designer: Centro Stile by Ashton Woods

The Studio by Ashton Woods creates a stress-free zone for homebuyers and potential customers as they make design selections. To achieve that goal, The Studio emphasizes design principles of balance and harmony, and keeping visual clutter to a minimum.

Each Studio throughout the country is custom designed and built. The Studio in Alpharetta, Ga., next to the builder’s Atlanta division office, features pivoting collection panels that display curated options for cabinets, countertops, and flooring, and samples are neatly organized. Visits are by appointment only, but the builder also offers virtual appointments in another effort to reduce stress.

2022 Nationals winner Best Design Center, The Studio

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Design Center, The Studio

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Best Sales / Leasing Center

Empire Homebase

Atlanta

Builder: Empire Communities
Marketing director: Caroline Simmel, Empire Communities

Empire Homebase in Atlanta is an all-in-one sales center where customers make an appointment to not only meet with a sales consultant but also with designers, preferred lenders, and closing attorneys.

Technology plays a key role throughout the facility: A “tech table” provides virtual tours of model homes, a touch-screen lounge helps customers become familiar with the builder’s in-town communities, and an Instagram wall shows off photos from proud new owners of Empire homes.

2022 Nationals winner Sales /Leasing Center, Empire Homebase

Best Community Welcome Center

The Exchange Coffee House

Castle Pines, Colo.

Builder: Shea Homes
Architect: Woodley Architectural Group
Interior designer: Kimberly Timmons Interiors
Landscape architect: Sage Design Group/Phil Sage
Marketing director: Cheryl Haflich, Shea Homes
Ad agency: Strada Advertising

The website for The Canyons, a master planned community by Shea Homes, describes the Exchange Coffee House as a place where you can get information and be introduced to the community and its builders—while enjoying a menu of varied offerings, from spinach artichoke flatbread to kids’ meals and an assortment of coffee drinks.

That’s because the welcome center actually is a coffeehouse, a section of which enables the Shea team to provide visitors with an overview of The Canyons and share collateral and model directories. The modern farmhouse–style building also includes a comfy lounge, covered patio, open patio, and community room.

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Welcome Center, The Exchange Coffee House

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Welcome Center Exchange Coffee House

Best Community Welcome Center

Wellen Park Welcome Center

Venice, Fla.

Builder: Mattamy Homes
Interior designer: Builders Design
Marketing director: Cynthie Corcoran, Builders Design

Bright colors and whimsical visuals fill the Wellen Park Welcome Center, all with the serious purpose of greeting potential homebuyers and telling them about the Venice, Fla., development.

When visitors walk in, they immediately see an attention-grabbing vintage Piaggio Apé truck (pictured, above), which is used for guest registration and greetings. Nearby, a preserved-moss wall illustrates Wellen Park’s neighborhoods and topography, while an electric-bicycle display highlights the trail and pathway network.

Community ambassadors provide information and detailed maps of everything from the master plan to trails and pathways to amenities. One amenity is especially convenient: The independent Barrel & Bean coffee shop connects to the welcome center.

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Welcome Center, Wellen Park

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Welcome Center, Wellen Park lounge

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Welcome Center, Wellen Park technology

Best Design Center

Madison Group Design Studio

Toronto

Builder: Madison Group
Architect: DK Studio Architects
Marketing director: Kora Pasek, Madison Group

Reflecting its residential development port-folio, Madison Group created a design studio at its Toronto headquarters that’s divided into two parts: One serves buyers of the builder’s single-family homes and townhomes; the other serves condominium buyers.

The single-family/townhome section displays samples in rooms devoted to the kitchen, bathrooms, and flooring. Condo purchasers get the opportunity to virtually envision how their home would look with various design choices.

To engage its mostly Millennial homebuyers, the studio includes a photo-op setup: People can sit in a swing under a pink neon sign reading “Eat, sleep, design, repeat,” set amid a wreath of pink flowers painted on a forest green background to get their photo taken (and, ideally, to share on social media).

2022 Nationals Best Design Center Madison Group Design Studio interior

 

2022 Nationals Best Design Center Madison Group Design Studio interior

 

2022 Nationals Best Design Center Madison Group Design Studio samples

Best Sales-Leasing Center

Crocker Village Welcome Center

Sacramento, Calif.

Builder: BlackPine Communities
Designer: BlackPine Design Studio
Marketing director: Jessica Atkins, BlackPine Communities

Centrally located in the community, the welcome center for Crocker Village is easily accessible by pedestrians and cars. Repurposed from an abandoned construction office trailer, the new space feels fresh and modern: dramatic 11-foot ceilings and oversized windows bring in natural light and promote airflow, and there’s an ample lobby and two offices for the sales team. Crisp architectural lines and contemporary colors and materials complement the BlackPine brand.

The biggest challenge was excavating the lot and positioning the trailer to get the facility to be at ground level for full-service access and compliance. Now, a meandering concrete walkway surrounded by planter boxes and landscaping encourages visitors to stop in.

2022 Nationals Best Sales Leasing Center Crocker Village Welcome Center exterior

 

2022 Nationals Best Sales Leasing Center Crocker Village Welcome Center interior

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Best Community Welcome Center

Pecan Square Greeting House

Northlake, Texas

Developer: Hillwood Communities
Architect: LRK
Hardscape: Innovative Hardscape
Interior designer: Creative License International
Planner: TBG Partners
Marketing director: Diana Carroll, Hillwood Communities

This thoroughly modern hospitality hub is a comfortable, vibrant central location where Pecan Square neighbors and visitors can meet and greet.

The design seamlessly integrates spaces for co-working, food and beverages, lounge and event areas, offices, a makerspace, and a welcome center.

The exterior’s industrial brownstone-inspired brick and metal details extend into the interior, where they are softened with local pecan wood and warm leather. Features such as intersecting wood platforms, which are used for seating, and sliding glass walls make the space dynamic and offer design flexibility.

2022 Nationals Best Community Welcome Center Pecan Square Greeting House lounge

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Welcome Center Pecan Square Greeting House interior

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Welcome Center Pecan Square Greeting House exterior

Best Community Welcome Center

Rise Welcome Center

Great Park Neighborhoods, Irvine, Calif.

Developer: FivePoint
Architect: Studio One Eleven
Interior designer: RDC
Land planner: BrightView Design Group, Hunsaker, and FivePoint
Marketing director: Paige Glasser, FivePoint

The Rise neighborhood’s welcome center overlooks a community pool and playground, offering a great spot for home shoppers to learn about the community’s various collections. The center’s catering space and a comfortable seating area, complete with a fireplace and TV, accommodate today’s ongoing sales functions and can host future community gatherings.

An on-site digital tour recommender and the TourGPN.com mobile website help on-site and remote shoppers target “best bets” and secure directions.

The center’s layout is classic California style, with sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors that take advantage of natural light and mountain views. Variegated wood panels echo the layered sandstone cliffs of a nearby forest preserve.

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Welcome Center, Rise Welcome Center exterior

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Welcome Center, Rise Welcome Center interior

Best Community Amenity

The Magnolia Lifestyle Center

Elements at Viridian, Arlington, Texas

Builder: Westford Builders
Architect: TBG Partners
Interior designer: TBG Partners
Marketing director: Debra Meers, Johnson Development

The social hub of this 55-plus active-adult community, the Magnolia Lifestyle Center, is a 6,668-square-foot clubhouse, complete with 2,900 square feet dedicated to fitness and a 3,462-square-foot covered terrace with outdoor kitchen and lounge seating overlooking a stunning pool area.

Everything is designed to encourage activity, from the lap pool to the putting green, bocce ball, and pickleball courts, and cardio and strength training equipment.

Designers also included restful spaces, such as the large fire pit with seating for 12 and in-water pool loungers and dual chaise lounges for soaking up the sun or relaxing under covered pavilions.

2022 Nationals Best Community Amenity winner, The Magnolia Lifestyle Center

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Amenity winner, The Magnolia Lifestyle Center, pool

Best Community Amenity

Rise Park

Great Park Neighborhoods, Irvine, Calif.

Developer: FivePoint
Architect: Studio One Eleven
Landscape designer: BrightView Design Group
Marketing director: Paige Glasser, FivePoint

This “communal backyard” is a significant amenity for the community’s higher density master plan. A continuous pedestrian green—walkable from most of the homes—connects the plan’s network of parks and the Orange County Great Park.

Structural and open-air features, such as a large triangular deck—its points cleverly directing views to Saddleback Mountain, greater Irvine, and the park’s interior—invite pedestrians to socialize. There’s a fountain and green space ideal for tai chi, yoga, or other quiet activities.

Central to the community’s “backyard” is an Olympic-size pool, as well as a catering kitchen, fireplace, comfortable furniture, and a playground.

The Nationals winner Best Community Amenity: Rise Park
          
2022 Nationals Best Community Amenity, Rise Park, aerial

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Amenity, Rise Park

Best Community Landscape

Painted Prairie

Aurora, Colo.

Landscape designer: Civitas
Marketing director: Cheryl Schuette, Painted Prairie

Inspired by life on the prairie and, more specifically, the painting “The Prairie Is My Garden” by Harvey Dunn, all 30 acres of the Painted Prairie community are designed to create a mosaic of outdoor living spaces just steps beyond each resident’s front door. The Colorado community is made up of a diverse mix of Millennials, young families looking to move up, and empty nesters.

A trail promenade runs east to west and is surrounded by playgrounds, picnic areas, running trails, community gardens, and even a beach where residents can soak up uninterrupted views of the Rocky Mountains.

Not only does the landscape enhance the livability of the residential community, but it also nourishes the local agriculture with a skipper butterfly nesting area, an irrigation system camouflaged by a sculptural art piece, and native plants including ponderosa pines, hackberries, catalpa, coffeetree, and honey locust.

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Landscape Painted Prairie meadow

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Landscape Painted Prairie grasses

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Community Landscape Painted Prairie playground

Best Community Landscape

Artavia

Montgomery County, Texas

Developer: Airia Development Co.
Marketing director: Lisa Connell, Airia Development Co.

The land for Artavia had good bones from the start, surrounded by a dense pine forest on a peaceful, secluded lot. But the landscape architects took the natural setting one step further by incorporating unique features to enhance the property for year-round beauty and functionality.

Artavia attracts first-time and move-up buyers, and the Texas community offers no shortage of outdoor amenities for its residents. Walking trails wrap around the expansive property for fitness lovers looking for a quick jogging route or for those who just want to take a quiet stroll not far from home.

Colorful art installations bring light to the foreground of the evergreen landscape and add linear structure to a lively, organic environment. A meditation rain garden also flows into a nearby 5-acre lake for added serenity in an already peaceful setting.

2022 Nationals Best Community Landscape winner Artavia plantings

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Landscape winner, Artavia red sculpture

 

2022 Nationals Best Community Landscape winner, Artavia blue tree

Best Model Merchandising

Callaway Craftsman Showcase Home

Jeromesville, Ohio

Builder: Schumacher Homes
Interior design + merchandising: Possibilities for Design
Marketing director: Mary Schumacher Becker, Schumacher Homes

Located in a rural Midwestern setting, the Callaway model home showcases traditional design with distinctive features suited for move-up buyers and active adults, helping the community outperform five surrounding competitors. Fashioned with formal yet comfortable spaces, the model pairs straight-lined furnishings and sophisticated design with organic accents and blue highlights.

An attached sunroom (pictured) boasts a vaulted, wood-clad ceiling, contrasting painted trim, and three walls of floor-to-ceiling windows for a relaxing, functional escape where homeowners can unwind, while bedrooms offer a personalized design for everyone in the house, such as diagonal painted stripes in the boy’s room and a wash of rose wallpaper in the girl’s room.

2022 Nationals Best Model Merchandising Callaway Craftsman Showcase Home living room

 

2022 Nationals Best Model Merchandising Callaway Craftsman Showcase Home kitchen

 

2022 Nationals Best Model Merchandising Callaway Craftsman Showcase Home primary bedroom

Best Model Merchandising

Warrenton at Wellington

Haslet, Texas

Builder: Highland Homes
Interior design + merchandising: IBB Design Fine Furnishings
Marketing director: Shannon Summers, Highland Homes

The Warrenton model home is the most popular floor plan in the Wellington community, frequently favored by young technology and health care professionals looking for fashion-forward design on a budget.

The 2,349-square-foot home has an array of affordable, family-friendly features ideal for its target market of young families, couples, and singles. An oversized furniture-style island takes center stage in a contrasting black, white, and caramel kitchen, which leads into a cozy dining room with a rustic wood table, rattan and metal chairs, accent succulents, and a long window seat.

A large study can be transformed into a work-from-home Zoom lounge with versatile design features, such as metal, wood, and leather furnishings. An upstairs loft overlooks the main living area (above) and comes equipped with a sprawling black sofa, accent drapery, and modern Western-themed décor.  

2022 Nationals Best Model Merchandising Warrenton at Wellington living room

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Model Merchandising Warrenton at Wellington kitchen

 

2022 Nationals winner Best Model Merchandising Warrenton at Wellington primary bedroom

 

See the complete list of 2022 winners at thenationals.com

 

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