Beyond the Basics with Michele Weaver

Michele Weaver is Design Basics’ Brand Manager, helping spread Design Basics mantra that “Great Design Matters”!

Michele WeaverYou joined the Design Basics’ team about 18 months ago as the Brand Manager. What does that entail and how have your job responsibilities evolved?
Design Basics recognized the importance of protecting the company’s innovations with trademarks. In my role, I look to ensure those marks, such as Livability at a Glance™,
Woman-Centric Matters!®,  Her Home™, and Finally About Me®, are being used correctly. The company also knew social media is where homebuyers are, and as part of our mission is helping buyers make wise, informed decisions regarding their new home, Design Basics needed a stronger social media presence.

My role within marketing is expanding now to include overseeing our trade shows, such as the IBS, our newsletters, and launching a new blog. Additionally, while I have a graduate degree in marketing communications, my undergraduate is in accounting, so I help out in our business office as needed, such as managing our staff’s expense reporting.

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?
I know this sounds like a canned answer, but with our staff size [of 10], this is truly a team atmosphere. Everybody works together; everybody pitches in to help each other. I’ve worked other places where they say it’s a “team environment,” but at Design Basics it’s true!

Design Basics utilizes [Gallup] StrengthsFinder.  What are your top strengths?
[Gallup] labels my #1 strength as “individualization.” Recognizing others’ individuality – their own unique personalities, strengths, and differences – can go a long way in creating effective teams, whether that’s at work, in volunteer committees, or leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Rounding out my top five strengths are Responsibility, Input, Includer, and Arranger, which I think work well with our team.

You also took Design Basics’ Finally About Me® quiz on our website and are closest to “Elise”?
Yes! My style is traditional in almost every sense of the word. Elise is also “practical” and “family-oriented,” which describes me pretty well.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy?
I like to read mysteries and comedic fiction, plus an occasional biography as I find people and history fascinating. And, I love live theater, musicals, movies, and music. As a family, we enjoy traveling – mostly to discover new places we’ve not been to before.

What are some of your favorite places you have been?
For our honeymoon, we took a 10-day Alaskan cruise tour – it was truly amazing! Two of our most memorable family vacations were to Michigan/Wisconsin and the northern Oregon coast. We really enjoy the beautiful scenery and being outdoors, and hope to visit Yellowstone and the Tetons for our next adventure!

Name three things someone might not know about you:

  • My husband and I have been together for 26 years; we’ve been married 18 years and have two children, ages 14 and 11.
  • I used to love going to amusement parks and would ride all the rides, several times if I could. I dreamed of parasailing and skydiving. But, now just looking at the merry-go-round makes my equilibrium swoon!
  • There’s something about 80’s pop music, not to mention anything from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, that can put me in a good mood no matter what. I openly admit to having seen Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond in concert (both excellent performers!). I also enjoy some country – Gary Allan, Kenny Chesney, Jo Dee Messina, George Strait…but, sometimes I just need to crank it up and put on some Led Zeppelin!

Learn more about Michele.

Featured Plans: Laundry Room Design Ideas

Featured Plans: Laundry Room Design Ideas

Good Home Design Solves Problems.

Here are some floor plans that showcase laundry room layouts to fit many different lifestyles.

Breckinridge Plan 50021
The Breckinridge (50021) – Note the pocket door laundry room from the owner’s suite.

Redwood Cottage Plan 42227

The Redwood Cottage (42227) – A second floor laundry room means no more lugging overflowing laundry baskets up and down stairs.

Stinson Plan 42064

The Stinson (42064) – A laundry area flex space for hobbies and crafts.

Silver Creek Plan 42028

The Silver Creek (42028) – Cut laundry time in half with dual washers and dryers!

Read more here: Convenient and Functional Laundry Room Design

Convenient and Functional Laundry Room Design

Convenient and Functional Laundry Room Design

Good home design solves problems.

Perhaps nowhere in the home is that more evident than in the humble laundry room. For decades, the default location was a combination laundry/mudroom entry from the garage. This may have solved the problem of getting the laundry out of the basement (in basement markets), but it ushered in the problem of forcing you (family, friends, and neighbors) to traipse past the dirty laundry pretty much every time you go in and out of the house. Solution? Separate laundry accommodations from that rear foyer, often located just off the rear foyer and/or near bedrooms. It’s all about convenience and personal preference.

The size of a laundry room is typically proportional to the overall size of the home, yet some home plans still treat laundry rooms as an afterthought, with barely enough space to squeeze in the washer and dryer. Such laundry accommodations speak volumes about the home designer and builder – providing a utilitarian space for a utilitarian task. We can do better.

design-basics-cooking-cleaning-rejuvenating-laundry-roomIs a laundry room sink important to your buyers for hand-wash delicates (or even paintbrushes)? If so, be sure to offer pull-out kitchen faucets that direct where the water goes.

A laundry room folding counter is efficient in minimizing wrinkles and not having to fold clothes on your bed. A portion of the countertop may double as storage. A counter can also top dual front-load machines.

Storage in a laundry room is non-negotiable. At a minimum, storage above the laundry pair can keep detergents, bleach, and other dangerous products safely out of reach for younger children. What about storage for laundry baskets? Common, rectangular laundry baskets are about 18” wide and 24” deep, so a set of 20”-wide open shelves or cubbies could hold multiple baskets – ideal for efficiently sorting the accumulating laundry prior to wash day.

Lighting is another key issue. Natural light is welcome, especially if there is an operable window for fresh air. With interior laundry rooms, can a traditional or tubular skylight be used to bring in daylight? Imagine carrying a laundry basket in and your (electric) light(s) automatically turn on because they are wired to a motion-sensor switch. Now that’s safety and convenience! (photo courtesy: VeluxUSA)

Noise and vibration are considerations, especially if the laundry room adjoins entertaining areas or bedrooms. While primarily related to the newness and condition of the homeowner’s washer and dryer, here’s an opportunity to suggest soundproofing measures and simple anti-vibration solutions, such as washing machine pads, that your customer will really come to appreciate.

Don’t overlook hanging. If positioned over the laundry room sink, a clothes rod or wire shelving avoids wet floors. If laundry room space is at a premium, a collapsible, wall-mounted drying rack may be an ideal solution.

Unfortunately, aesthetics sometimes take a back seat to practicality issues. While doing laundry may never make your “top 10” list, an attractive laundry room can make a big difference. This is an easy area to take chances with regarding paint color or a colorful backsplash. Lighting…hardware…window coverings…all can bring a smile. What is the view into the laundry room if the door is open? Is there a window? If the window is in line with the door, sunlight will pour into the hallway when the door is open!

design-bascis-laundry-room-plan-29527Larger laundry rooms may include a center island with welcome added storage. And some generous laundry rooms are envisioned as flex spaces, serving multiple purposes such as a craft room, pet center, or hobby area where “projects in progress” can be left undisturbed.

A few other considerations:

Floor drain. Washing machine hoses burst, which can be catastrophic, especially if you have a second floor laundry room.

Built-in ironing board. Whether it folds down from the wall mount or out of a cabinet, the laundry room is an ideal location for quick touch-ups with the iron.

Owner’s suite direct access. If the laundry room adjoins your owner’s suite, having a doorway connection makes quick work of hanging clothes up straight out of the dryer.

Venting the dryer. When possible, minimize the length of dryer vent hose for improved drying performance, longer dryer life, and fewer headaches associated with cleaning out the dryer vent. Of course, the new ventless dryers open up a whole new gamut of laundry room possibilities!

See design examples. Learn about more home design ideas.

Beyond the Basics with Paul Foresman

Paul Foresman, VP of Business Development at Design Basics, LLCPaul Foresman is the VP of Business Development and oversees our Woman-Centric Matters!® program, helping builders more fully appreciate women’s preferences in home design.

You have been with Design Basics for over 25 years. How did you get here and what makes you stick around?

I had been working for an advertising agency and Design Basics was one of my accounts. After a couple years, the owner of Design Basics offered me the position as Director of Marketing. Over the years I’ve been told I am “un-hirable,” being with the same company in the same position for so long. This may or may not be true, but the opportunity to do what you really enjoy, innovate, and grow your role with a team that’s become my second family is very rewarding, so why would I even think about leaving?

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

The learning opportunities are endless here at Design Basics and my role has expanded in so many exciting ways. Just like homeowners want open designs rather than closed-off rooms, I wouldn’t be happy in a strictly defined job doing essentially the same thing day after day.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?

The clients I get to work with inspire us to evolve home design in profound ways that’s having a significant impact on American housing.

Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in and launched the Woman-Centric program? 

Woman-Centric Matters! was born out of years of (still ongoing) research. Also, I have a degree is in marketing research, so it was a natural fit for me. Really, it’s Marketing 101 – know thy customer. Women make most of the home buying decisions, yet most architects, engineers, builders, and construction tradespeople are men, so home design and construction has been from a decidedly male perspective. Hearing homebuyers say “You’ve thought of everything!” and “Why don’t other builders offer amenities like these?” validates the need for builders to gain an ever-increasing appreciation for women’s preferences in the home.

You are a Packers fan. How did that come about? 

I was eight years old and Green Bay was going to face Kansas City in Super Bowl I. My older brother was a Chiefs fan so I took the Packers. One of the best days of my life was finally going with my youngest son to Lambeau field and watching the Packers beat Detroit in the final game of the 2014 season to win the NFC north division.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t believe in “spare time.”  We’ve only been given so many days on this earth to make a difference in people’s lives, starting with family.

Name three things someone might not know about you:

I was adopted at a young age by wonderful parents. Adopted to me means “chosen,” and I thank God for His leading in my parent’s and my life.

My wife, Cindy, and I will celebrate 34 years of marriage, and the birth of our third grandson this December.

I was very into fast cars and drag racing in high school, which kept me out of trouble – all the money I earned went into my cars!

Learn more about Paul by clicking here.

Beyond the Basics with Morgan Lewis

morgan-lewisAs a drafter and plan alterations designer, Morgan is responsible for incorporating changes to plans in accordance with customer request and architectural specifications.
What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

I really enjoy working with the team here at Design Basics. It feels much more like a family than a workplace.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?
Being able to provide them with a finished product that they are happy with. And, I get to work with and design for many different and interesting people.

What made you decide to be a drafter/designer?
I took an AutoCAD class all four years of high school. When I first started college, my major was architecture. But, then I decided I really liked the drafting and design aspect and I switched to CADD. So I guess I kind of always knew that I wanted to do something that dealt with the designing of homes. When the housing market started going south, I decided to get a degree in business administration. Both skill sets have been an excellent combination for drafting and design, and working with our customers.

You enjoy playing darts and have participated in tournaments. What type of darts do you play? Where have you traveled for tournaments? How have you done in tournaments?
For city leagues and most tournaments, the dart games I play are 301/501/701 or cricket. I have participated in tournaments in Nebraska, Iowa, and Las Vegas. Most of the tournament games played are team events. I usually participate in several events, and have placed in the top five for many of them.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
With four children you really do not get any spare time. One of my kids plays football and the other plays basketball. We go from one sport to the next, and then year-round training and practice for both. On top of that my two younger children require lots of mommy attention; however, when I do get that brief moment, I just like to relax with a nice glass of wine.

Place you most want to visit and why?
There are three places that I would like to visit. One is Fallingwater in Pennsylvania – noted as “the most unique home in the world” – take a minute and look it up you’ll see why! Another is Amsterdam, because of the windmills. And, of course an architectural masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House in Australia. As you can see, I love architecture!

Tell us something interesting someone might not know about you.
I enjoy fishing! I have been going fishing since I was a little girl and still love it to this day. I own a bow, and know how to use it. And, I like driving on road trips.

Learn more about Morgan on our Contact page.

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