Design

The Universal Design Living Laboratory

We speak with Rosemarie Rossetti, UDLL.com

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D, has a perspective of home design that few builders can personally relate to.  10 years ago, while on a bicycle ride, a 7,000-pound tree fell on Rosemarie resulting in a spinal-cord injury putting her in a wheel chair.

And since her husband, Mark Leder, towers well above 6 feet tall, compared with Rosemarie’s 4’-1” height from her wheelchair, designing a home that would fit both of their needs presented a unique challenge.  That challenge has been met by Universal Design principles.

“Universal Design” is a term coined by the late Ron Mace at the North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design. It is human-centered, accommodating people of all sizes, ages, and abilities.  For Rosemarie and Mark, that meant a home that would work equally well for each of them – and virtually anyone in between. Listen to Podcast

Homebuyer Hot Buttons: Amenities and Services That Make Home Ownership Exciting

By Doug Van Lerberghe, Principal – Kephart

In the wake of the economic downturn, there has been a shift in values regarding what people want in a home and in their community.  The decisions being made now are much less about conspicuous consumption in order to “keep up with the Joneses” and more about quality of life.

People, young and old, want to be able to walk to places like restaurants and shops.  More and more prize quality over quantity, and are interested in smaller homes that are easier to maintain.  As people re-evaluate their priorities in life, we are seeing more individuals that can qualify to buy homes choosing not to because they do not want homeownership to interfere with their lifestyle.  They want to maintain their flexibility in order to be able to move where the jobs are.  They are also busy and would rather spend their free-time with family and friends versus mowing a lawn or fixing a toilet. Listen to Podcast

The Four Shades of Green Buyers

We interview Jobie Summer, MarketYourSustainableBusiness.com

Green building is hot.  It’s one of the few areas of residential construction that has maintained growth during the recession.  In fact, green products from just about any industry as doing fairly well compared to their non-green alternatives.

Jobie Summer consults with businesses on how to market and package green products.  Instead of focusing on the products, though, Jobie looks at the buyers and why they buy sustainable or energy efficient products.  What she’s found are not just a multitude of reasons, but four distinct buyer groups, each of which is looking at a green from a different perspective.

Listen to the audio interview to hear Jobie’s explanation of what green buyers care about and how it affects their buying behavior.  My notes are outlined below: Listen to Podcast

Making Personalization Part of the Sales Process

We speak with Jane Meagher, Success Strategies

Consumers come to us today with an expectation that they will have some control over the purchase; that they won’t need to compromise in the arguably the most emotional and expensive investment of their lifetime.  So the ability of the builder to provide the home that the buyer really wants is becoming a differentiation tool, particularly in markets dominated by used, foreclosed and spec homes.

None of those can be personalized; buyers understand that they’ll have to give up what they want for price.  The opportunity for builders is to offer levels of personalization that leverage the buyer’s innate desire to get what their home the way they really want it.  Personalization, then, becomes a very powerful concept and a growing trend. Listen to Podcast

What Buyers Want: New Trends in Home Design

We speak with Paul Cardis, Avid Ratings

For the past five years Avid has conducted an annual survey of recent homebuyers asking what features they’d be interested in if they were to build or buy a new home again.  This Design Driver study consistently reveals insights that builders can use to better align their products with the expectations of the marketplace.

Paul Cardis, Avid’s founder and CEO, sat down with me to discuss the most recent survey and what it tells us about the re-emerging new home market. Listen to Podcast

Design Trends for an Emerging Housing Market

We speak with Doug Van Lerberghe, Principal,  Kephart

Buyers are reemerging, but they’re are coming back more cautiously than in the past.  New homes are being built, but they are reflecting a new set of buyer lifestyles and values.

What are the trends in new home design?  What are buyers today willing to invest in – or willing to live without – in their new homes?  We asked Doug Van Lerberghe, a principal at architectural the firm Kephart, to share his observations and insights as what builders and developers should be looking for and including in their new home designs.  Listen to the audio interview to hear Doug’s explanation, or read our highlights in the article below:

Market Trends in Residential Design
One of the trends in single families for sales over the past couple of years is that homes today are about 300 square feet less in size than they were a few years ago. We have noticed over the past year and half is that we are designing more single family homes that are in that 1,350 – 1,900 sq. ft. range. So we as architects are trying to make a tighter home; we’re asking questions as to whether we need to put in those rooms that we have historically always put in.  Certain markets haven’t done formal living rooms for awhile and instead put in a great room. On the east coast they still like their formal living spaces. So, builders need to ask how important a formal dining room is to the end user.

The second trend that we’re seeing is that, since the elections it seems that a lot of developers are out there trying to develop for apartments.  In the past year we’ve seen a strong apartment market, but they were the HUD units because it was guaranteed financing. Now it looks like the private financing is starting to get some legs.  So many people still can’t qualify for that ‘for sale’ home. So it seems we are moving towards the European model of ‘forever renters and never buyers’. It’s not a 100% trend, of course. We are a nation of niches. We have renters and buyers; some are going from one to the other. You can’t put everyone into an age demographic niche.

I do believe that there still are a number of young people that are still going to want the American dream. It’s still going to be desirous for them to buy a home. It’s still going to be perceived as a value and faith in buying will come back.

On the other hand, then, there’s going to be a fraction of the younger ones that won’t want to deal with home ownership and will want to continue to rent. I think we’re going to have a fragmented market.  I think the ‘For Sale’ single family will be the hottest pursuit. I see a slow down in condos for sale for a number of years. There are still a lot of markets in the U.S. that are overbuilt and it’s going to take awhile to get rid of that inventory. Of course there still are niche opportunities where people will build condos or town homes for sale.

I’ve seen a righting of the trends in term of spec levels. Across the country it’s ‘How do you beat the Joneses’? Builder A would put in white granite counter tops to compete against Builder B. That’s drifted to a lot of finishes that were pretty high end across a production level home. I’ve talked to a number of builders and have witnessed that some of those things have taken a step back. There are still a lot of things being offered as options, but it’s not the base offering. Anything that can bring the base price of a home down is being removed as a standard feature and is now an optional feature.

The biggest trends though, from an architects perspective, is how to make a livable home while cutting the square footage and wasted space. For example, if a stairway is placed along the edge of a home, there will be a hallway to connect it to the central parts of the house. If you can centralize it, you can minimize the amount of hallways and distribute that space to the rooms, whatever the square footag is.

Trends in Lifestyle and Technology
Consciousness of our environment is a trend. I’m not seeing necessarily more solar panels, but more consideration and time being put into the home to make it more efficient. There is much more of a desire to minimize monthly expenses. Too, we’re seeing much better furnaces going into the homes. We’re seeing the buyers actually asking and being more environmentally savvy when it comes to the efficiency of the home. That definitely has an impact on the design and the better utilization of spaces.

Aligning with the Current Market
The biggest thing that I’ve seen pick up is that community developers, rather than putting in a huge club house, homes and all those amenities, are instead building closer to existing amenities. Instead of building these things in your community, can you put the site adjacent to them. For example, a health club, golf course or a resort. Rather than building it all yourself and taking on the initial costs, try teaming up with these things around you.

It’s not uncommon that in order to entice some of those buyers, you need to have those amenities available. To build those there day one  is expensive and challenging. The whole concept is to try and team up with existing facilities, memberships and so on that are already out there.

Design Trends for a Brand New Market

We speak with Kay Green and Ashley Jennings,
Kay Green Designs.

Kay Green Design, in Orlando, FL, specializes in model home design and merchandising- the art and science of studying buyer behaviors and preferences and incorporating those trends into model homes so that the home has maximum appeal to your targeted audience.  Today, that function is perhaps more important than ever as we see new generations of buyers emerging with different tastes than their parents.

We asked the mother/ daughter team of Kay Green and Ashley Jennings what to watch for in terms of trends and colors, and what to do to keep older models up to date with new buyers.  The following are their comments:

Kay: There is a lot going on.  What we’re seeing in terms of style right now is a turn toward a more kind of clean line, less clutter look, and we’re seeing it in all the furniture lines, in the fabric lines – just across the board.

It’s not the contemporary look that we saw in the 80’s; it’s a softer look but still cleaner.  You see it in all the catalogues as well… IKEA, Pottery Barn, all of the catalogues are showing that look as well.  This is particularly the case with the younger people, like my Gen-X daughter, but we’re also seeing that the empty nesters are trending towards a clean line look.

Home Technology
Ashley: There is also a lean certainly towards technology.  One of the things that we found recently in doing some research is that especially with the younger Gen-X and Gen-Y buyers, technology is a large part of their life.  So we’ve been doing sales centers, for example, that feature touch screen computers to navigate the community.  Your buyers have already explored your community before even coming onsite.  So they have checked you out.  You’ve obviously done well enough to get them there.  Oftentimes, using technology onsite to explore the floor plan options, different features and upgrades is a way they’re able to do the discovery process at their comfort level.

Also, as far as this lifestyle goes, we designed a sales center in Florida where we included a coffee station and some high top tables.  So rather than having your new home buyers come and have to squeeze into a little office space with a small window and feel like they’re committing to the sales process, you can have a conversation with them at a high top table over a cup of their favorite coffee.  that really does provide that comfortable environment in order to continue to share information about who the buyer is and how the home builder’s product fits their lifestyle.

Kay: We  are starting to design spaces that are kind of ‘stop and drop’ charging spaces for your cell phone or you iPod.  Usually they’re located close to like the backdoor so you come in from the garage and you put your cell phone down and you throw your keys there instead of the island in the kitchen with all the clutter.  We normally feature either just a floating desktop and then we put two or three outlets above that so that everybody has room to charge their personal communication devices there.

Ashley: One of the other ideas that we came up with for enhancing the sales process is to incorporate a docking station for an iPod so buyers are able to dock their own device in the model home.  This allows them to customize their experience by having their own music play while they’re touring the home.

Also, we’re not having the heavy built-ins as an entertainment center and the family rooms.  Instead we’re seeing console pieces so that the flat screen TV can fit and then all the storage for DVD players and so on is within that furniture piece.

Using Design as a Sales Tool
Ashley: It’s really important that people can translate their current furniture into the model home that they’re walking through.  That’s part of the interior designer’s job, but it’s also part of the sales representative’s job.

We published an article in 2009 that talked about the team effort between the sales team and the interior merchandiser making sure that they are able to work together from the beginning to the end in order to know what the ‘story of the buyer’ was that was created as design for the home and that story is translated at the point of sale.

Kay: The other advantage of having the sales staff and the interior merchandiser work together is that the onsite salesperson can then tell another story.  For instance, if we’re showing a bedroom instead of a den they could tell the story of how it could be a den.  Or, they could tell the story of how the dining room table can enlarge and takeover some wasted foyer space so that you can seat 13 instead of 8.  Just showing the flexibility through the story that the on site salesperson tells.  This translates to realtors as well.

If a Realtor goes into a home and they want to be able to help people imagine how those spaces could be used to better fit their lifestyle, and if they’re prepared for that presentation, then they can more easily present it.

Hot Products to consider.
Kay: There are a lot of new products that I’d like to see start appearing in our houses.  One of the Lutron lighting system that recognizes when someone is in the room and turns the light on and then recognizes when you leave and turns the light off.  A lot of us are becoming more energy conscious and ‘green’ is the thing.  We’re working with a lot of builders that are doing some smart things, especially in Florida, to be able to use better insulation and cut down on the electric bill.

Ashley: Also, GE has a front loading washer and dryer product that allows you to pre-pour your detergent and your fabric softener but there actually two tanks that will carry the detergent so that you have the option to chose between two different laundry detergents.  A lot of people would love this feature because some people actually have allergies related to what detergent they use or just simply preferences and that would appeal to the ability that consumers are used to customizing the products that they use for that.

Kay: I think that the manufacturers are starting to tune in to what’s convenient.  For example, GE also has a smart dispense dishwasher – you put the whole bottle of dishwashing detergent into the dispenser and it automatically dispenses it for you.  So our products within the home are becoming more convenient.

Colors
Kay: For the last several years we’ve in the blue-green family.  Originally, when Color Marketing Group brought out the colors, it was all about the vapor colors, so it translated into the soft seafoam blues and kind of a blue-green combination and lighter tones.  After that, they came out with the water colors and so, again, it was the soft seafoam blue and greens and so on.  Then just recently Pantone came out with their color prediction for what’s going to be the hot color … and it’s turquoise.

So, we seem to be hovering in that blue-green kind of group of colors, but we’re also still seeing chocolate brown.  And we’re seeing a return to white – we’re seeing more white sofas, white beddings, white plumbing fixtures and we’re getting kind of turning away from the bisque and the bone and getting more into the bright whites along with citrus colors, like the tangerines and lime greens and colors like that.

Ashley: Color ties back into psychology, fashion, and the economy.  So what’s going on in our marketplace and in our personal lives really does affect our attraction and which colors evoke those emotions for us which is what, as the interior merchandiser, we want to do for our builders because we all know that emotion drives the sale.

The interesting thing about the research is that we are seeing some bolder citrus colors, but turquoise is the Pantone 2010 color.  That is a reflection of a kind of a hopeful optimism.  It’s hope that the economy is going to recover.  It’s your optimistic personality showing up in color.  Alternatively, the neutral colors, like the chocolate brown, the whites and the spa colors, are a refection – almost a retreat – to nature and simplicity.

Kay: We saw a sort of downturn in the 80s and with that downturn came an influx of neutral colors.  So it is interesting to see that this time around people are saying, “no, no, no, no; I’m not going to go to that. I’m going to go to something bright, happy, fun; something that makes me feel good.”  But the other color palette that seems to be important right now is the eco-friendly color palette – the earthy sages and greens with beiges and a lot of texture.  It’s kind of a reflection again of that turn towards the green movement.

How to Update Your Model:
Kay: One of the things that I would recommend to builders is to have neutral colors in your upholstery, because things like toss pillows can easily be tossed out – that’s why they call them the toss pillow – and bring in the brighter and newer colors with things like pillows and window panels and paint.  Paint is the biggest thing.  Paint can make such a big difference for a little bit of money both in resale houses as well as new homes and builder models.  Just repaint, refresh.

Ashley: Then, have a designer come in and design some custom trim and molding details that would really add a level of luxury to the home.  As buyers walk through, they really do notice those things because it’s something that they perhaps don’t have in their current home and that would add to their motivation to move because it’s something that is unique.

Kay: We feel that everything that a buyer sees in the model should be available to buyers, whether it’s through the builder or an outside resource.  One of the things that Ashley has just come up with is a program called Designer Details. When we install a model, she puts together a flyer sheet that explains exactly to the homebuyer how they can duplicate that look.  She gives them a list of what to buy at Home Depot and explains exactly how to do the ceiling treatment with the moldings and tells what the paint colors are.  We even do a little drawing that gives them their dimensions and so on.


Right-Sizing Your Homes: Managing Space to Maximize Value

With Gale Steves, author of Right-Sizing Your Home.

Gale Steves is one of America’s leading home authorities. Creative thinker and guru, she helps consumers fashion livable homes and counsels companies to create products she knows people want and need. She has inspired millions with her ideas and solutions, first as a magazine editor, and most recently as the force behind Open House Productions, a consulting company formed in 2001.

We asked Gale to describe the concept behind her new book, Right Sizing Your Home, and how this concept can be put to use by builders, remodelers, and Realtors. The following are her comments:

Right-sizing is about thoughtful space management; about helping people live better. Whether they live in a big mansion or some pared down version, most of your customers are not living fully in their homes. They have a wonderful idea of what their house should be, but most wind up living in the kitchen – or even in their own bedroom – because they’re the most comfortable rooms of the house.

I want to walk people through their homes without changing the name of where they do what, just have them see that there are spaces they can use for anything they really want to and give them permission to do the things they’re probably still already doing.

Today, people are faced with the idea of pulling back or reinventing their house because they can’t sell it, or maybe grandma or their adult kids have come back to live with them. So, there is a lot of change taking place within the house. My idea is to encourage people to think about their home plans before they build or before they remodel to see how they’re really going to live in them not only today, but maybe ten years down the road.

Most of us tend to build for this moment, never thinking we might get older or there might be changes in our lives. But the whole idea is for us to rethink our home so we use the space efficiently and well.

The word right-sizing it sounds like I’m talking about downsizing. I’m really not. I remember back late in the 80’s when I first began noticing that outsized homes were appearing all over the United States with rooms that were either too big or too small or too tall to be useful. About that time, I also noticed that many older homes, mostly not so big, also had rooms with labels that no longer reflected the way we live. The truth is I think many of us are squeezing our lives into spaces that don’t work. So we add on or we buy bigger. But there are still parts of the house that are ignored.

For example, if you have a living room, how frequently do you use it? It was a site for my Christmas tree and my mother’s furniture. My dining room I used two or three times a year. Now, I have right-sized and my dining room is really my office. It can be converted back into a dining room with a few small changes and a lot of cleaning up, but basically, I’m using it everyday for a better purpose than pleading for the clan to come visit during the holidays.

Whether you’re a builder talking to consumers or a designer, or even a Realtor, forget about the old traditional living room, dining room, kitchen and what used to be the den. Those words should go out the door because we live in our kitchens and we eat all over the house. We relax all over the house. We don’t live in our living room. I’m trying to get you to rethink not only how you live, but where you live.

We built big in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The houses kept getting bigger and bigger, but it didn’t mean that we were any more comfortable. I think that when you talk about space management, that’s really assessing the space in your home and making it work and work well for you, the whole family, your friends and maybe even the dog and cat as well!

Spaces should be managed more by function. Where do you eat? Where do you work? Many of us are home working, so where do we find the space to work? Do you give up that extra bedroom; do you take over part of your own bedroom (which is a mistake); or do you take over part of the family room and fight ‘clutter versus productivity?’

It’s a process. I want to encourage people to really rethink their homes and reinvent them and plan their spaces. Use professionals. Don’t do something on the back of a napkin and say ‘˜this is what I’m going to do.’ I’m a great believer in starting out with professional organizers to get rid of your clutter and secondly, to use design professionals to help you plan the space and professional builders and remodelers to make that space come alive.

Before you put a stamp on a room, call it living room or dining room, think about putting ‘˜or’ after that and give people the option to use it as they wish. I have a friend who said she took out her dining room table and put a pool table and her kids all love it and they use that room far more than they ever used their dining, and they eat in the kitchen. Everyone is happy

Today’s family needs a little flexibility. So when you’re planning that spec home think about how various demographics would use it. As you’re going through the house on selling it, you say, ‘Well, this is the dining room or it could be someone’s home office or it could be!’ Offer them possibilities and I think that will help seal the sale very quickly.

Plan for Flexibility; Thank ‘Dual Purpose’
For example, whenever most builders show a dining room in a model, it has a big dining room fixture or chandelier in the center. If someone was going to use it as an office, they might like an overhead fixture or a fan, as opposed to being locked into the dining room concept. I find more and more people saying that they don’t want to go that direction. Instead, they really want more space in the back, in the kitchen area where they can all eat together.

Maybe there is a reason for having a slightly larger room that could be either a family room or a shared office; a room that has space for file cabinets and storage. So, if someone is working at home, they have the option to have a great room that’s not just an afterthought but thought of as a dual-purpose room. You could go through many rooms in the house and think about dual purpose. Just as the computer and the television are merging and those technologies are all going to be one, we may not need private offices, but we’ll always need storage.

One of the concepts in my book is thinking about creating ‘˜Costco closets.’ I have a friend who is a Costco addict. She goes and she buys enough toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. She took created a series of cabinets under the stairs for all those extra supplies. That’s a wining idea because there is no woman in the world who doesn’t need extra storage.

 

I want people to rethink the space in their homes – reinvent; rediscover. One of the exercises I give people is to walk through your house as though you’ve never been there before. There are spaces that you may have walked by most of your life and never thought about again. A high ceiling in a hallway could be lowered and could become out-of-season storage.

So it’s rethinking your life and how you live it. Most of us adapt our lives to the house, and what I’m encouraging people to do is to adapt the house to their lives and also make it flexible enough so that if grandma comes to visit or you have young children at home, it’s still a safe and very comfortable house as well.

This concept of Right-Sizing works equally well for new homes and remodels. I like the kind of architect or builder who says, ‘˜I hear what you’re saying and I’m going to give you a house that reflects your lifestyle.’ That’s really what America is looking for; that’s a winning combination. Builders are looking for new ideas. I’m not proposing that they build bigger or build smaller, but just build better so that the house actually reflects the demographics they are trying to reach.

I was working with a builder in Texas who was reaching out to the Hispanic community. I suggested he consider having at least a second master bedroom suite because many times, grandma or some relative comes and they stay for awhile. So this is one of the understandings of how people live and what they need. If you put in a little mini-kitchen or a little storage kitchen, that would allow these people to have a little bit of privacy and a little bit of independence. Understanding your end customer and how they live is probably as important as creating a beautiful home.

We have an opportunity now for builders and salespeople to rethink how they’re selling homes. If I can get you to espouse the idea right-sizing it will makes it seem like you’re personalizing a house just for your customer. It also shows that you have a lot more flexibility. You may be using the same floor plan but you’ve changed the name so it reflects how these people want to live. Take it a step further by developing a questionnaire or survey to help you, then go back on the computer and change the labels of the spaces – so this will be Robert’s room or George’s home office or Shirley’s craft area.

All these things are just simply personalization of the regular house, but what do you have to give up; what do you have to trade to make this all happen? Little or nothing! And that’s really what Right-Sizing is about, is to get people to start thinking and responding to this concept.

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Contact Gale Steve through her blog, http://www.eyeondesignonline.com/

Purchase Gale Steve’s new book, Right-Sizing Your Home here.

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Woman-Centric Design: Marketing to the Decision Makers

We speak with Paul Foresman, Design Basics, LLC.

According to the book Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying & Remodeling Decisions (BuilderBooks.com), women make or direct 91% of the decision to buy a new home.

Now, this is just an observation, but there seem to be a whole lot of, um… guys in the building business.  And according to this week’s guest, Paul Foresman, Business Development Director for the design firm Design Basics, LLC, we guys might be at a disadvantage if we’re not getting an ‘alternate-gender’ perspective on the homes we build, market or sell.

“We interviewed lots and lots of couples, and most of the feedback we got came from Her, not from Him.  We realized that She was making the majority of the decisions when it came to the home plan, the builder, the products for the home, etc.

“Prior to this we had been talking primarily with our customers, most of whom were male, small volume custom builders.  We weren’t getting the homebuyer’s perspective.  So, in 1993, we made a turn and for the past seven years have been trying to get a better feel for Her preferences in housing today.”

Does the Woman-Centric approach really work?  Will it help builders sell more homes?  “One builder in Maine,” reports Foresman, “sold 17 homes in 2008, the year they got started with Woman-Centric Design.  In 2009 they sold 28 homes – that’s more than a 50% increase in sales!  Another builder in Rhode Island had been selling 15-20 homes per year.  He started with the Woman-Centric approach in January of 2008, and by December 2009 he had sod 149 Woman-Centric homes.  Another builder in Fargo, SD that builds with our program reported that 2009 was his best year ever.

“So, it’s making a big difference for a lot of our builders.  It’s a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the marketplace. ”

What is Woman-Centric?

Woman-Centric Design is the science of looking at every feature of a home through a woman’s eyes.  Foresman describes the four ‘lenses’ through which women see and measure a home or plan – those areas used for entertaining, de-stressing, flexible working, and storage/organization.  “Women taught us that we have to bring in both the practical, functional aspects of design and have the aesthetics – the ‘wow’ first impressions.”

Design Basics developed the Woman-Centric concept through over 7 years of research, including holding numerous focus groups.  “But we also spent time with women in their homes watching what they would do to overcome common design deficiencies,” says Foresman.  He cites an example of watching a woman bring her dogs back in through a sliding door.  It had been raining and the dogs were tracking their muddy paws onto the carpet.   Woman-Centric design would call for a hard surface transition area where pet’s could be towelled before they reached the carpet.

Woman-Centric in Action
What are some of the design elements that make a home more desirable?  Foresman lists a few for us here:

Spa Shower:  “Our research shows that 78% of women never use the bathtub in the master bath.  So when you start designing master bathrooms around the idea of an oversized spa shower, you can create a much more desirable master bath.”

Pet Friendly:  Places for dogs to shake off when they come in wet and to store pet toys and supplies.

Work-In Pantries that are big enough to prepare food in and that has an extra dishwasher and sink.  This de-clutters a kitchen, even allowing some upper cabinets to be replaced with windows for a more open feel.

Entertainment Kitchens that flow seamlessly into other living spaces and that accommodate larger groups.

Lockers in the transition space between the garage and home so that every family member can store their personal items.

Attractive Front-Entrance Garages:  “We found that women prefer to be able to pull straight in and back straight out of the garage as opposed to making the sharp turns often required for side-load door.”

Other trends that Foresman sees coming include smaller floorplans, fewer formal living rooms, and formal dining rooms being replaced with breakfast rooms that are open to adjoining living spaces.  “More open spaces; more free flowing and flexible spaces that keep people together.”

Benefits of Woman-Centric Building
“Our builders have come to recognize that the Woman-Centric floorplans represent innovation and leadership in their marketplace.  That helps them to differentiate themselves from everybody else.  When you go into their homes it’s not necessarily the same thing you’ve been seeing in other builder’s models.  When buyers are introduced to these concepts, such as not having to walk through the laundry room to get from the garage into the house, they ask, ‘Why don’t all builders build this way?’  It just makes sense.

“And these designs aren’t gender-specific.  The things we put into these designs tend to make guys every bit as happy as the ladies.  These houses just live well.  And that’s what we’re focusing on.  It’s the livability as well as the aesthetics; in this marketplace you’ve got to have both.

“So builders using these plans and design concepts are able to show buyers, not just the home and the design, but the products that go into it, emphasizing a redesigned customer experience that is going to be nothing short of remarkable.

“We want to give a new definition as to what value really is,” says Foresman.  “Let everybody else compete on price; I want to focus on making everyone else obsolete by creating a remarkable Woman-Centric model home.”

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Ready to make your homes Woman Centric? Contact Design Basics to get started.

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