Sanders Lifestyles introduced Woman-Centric homebuilding to the Wichita, Kansas, area in a noticeable way, as their Hudson II model was selected “Pick of the Parade” for homes priced from $400,000 – $450,000 in the Fall, 2016 Parade of Homes. “The home and the Woman-Centric concept were very well received,” said builder Troy Sanders.
Transom windows provide added light with privacy
Sanders was looking for a way to distinguish his company and his homes from other area homebuilders when he heard about Design Basics’ Woman-Centric Matters!® approach at the International Builders Show. After researching the idea further and discussing the concept with family and colleagues, Sanders realized embracing women’s preferences in the home – in design, the products featured in the home, and designing remarkable customer experiences – was the way to go. “The Fall Parade would be an ideal opportunity to debut the Woman-Centric concept,” according to Sanders.
With the Parade little more than six months away, Sanders needed the right home design right away. Troy had previously built the company’s Hudson model in Iron Gate, the same Bel Aire, Kansas, neighborhood that his Parade home would be in, and gave the plan to Design Basics. “I wanted to shrink my original Hudson homeplan and yet add many of the innovative Woman-Centric amenities.” Design Basics revised the plan accordingly, including a new exterior design. To help build awareness of his new approach, Sanders placed a large sign at the front of the building lot during construction, “Coming soon – Wichita’s first Woman-Centric home.”
The company also had a new website designed based on Woman-Centric principles. Those efforts must have worked. “I had a lot of visitors during the Parade who said they had to come and see this Woman-Centric thing,” Sanders said, continuing, “I heard a lot of great comments.”
Impressive custom finishes throughout home
Sanders’ Hudson II features an enviable rear foyer. “When I had the time,” Sanders began, “I would take visitors to the garage entry and remind them this is what they would be coming home to, as most people come into their home from the garage. The big walk-in closet was a home run, as was the drop zone area with USB charging ports and mail slots. The bench, too, as you can sit down and slide shoes off right under the bench to keep them out of the trafficway. People really liked how that was done. And, putting a motion detector light switch there was so appreciated for those times when your hands are full coming in from the garage.”
Read more about Sanders Lifestyles’ Parade home and the Woman-Centric Matters!® program.
Last week, a builder client spoke with Design Basics Plan Alterations Designer Tricia Baker regarding Design Basics’ Livability at a Glance™ floor plan presentations, “It’s a better way to evaluate and compare home plans.”
People told us it was hard visualizing a built home when looking at simple black and white floorplan artwork. This prompted Design Basics to introduce Livability at a Glance, highlighting the four lenses women reported using when evaluating the home’s suitability for her and her household. Areas primarily for entertaining were shaded yellow, de-stressing areas blue, flexible living spaces green, and storage areas were highlighted in orange. Homebuyers responded enthusiastically, with comments such as “Now this I can understand!” Livability at a Glance helped buyers see themselves living in the home, creating an emotional connection with the plan.
Additionally, for all of the plans Design Basics has reviewed for their Livability attributes, on Designbasics.com, a bar graph shows how each plan compares with similar size and type plans across the four lenses.
Livability at a Glance represented a major advancement in understanding how the home lives. Now, Livability at a Glance has evolved to become a better way to search home plans. Most online home plan searches are very linear and left-brained (logical), providing search criteria such as square footage and type of home to rule out home plans. Everybody did it the same way. Useful, but such search filters stop short of actually helping you identify home designs you would be interested in.
Now when searching home plans on DesignBasics.com you can also search by those four Livability at a Glance lenses. Since we all have different priorities when it comes to how we want to live in our dream home, Livability Search™ allows you to select the relative importance of each of those lenses. Searching by how the home lives is much more insightful and intuitive than old-fashioned plan searches! Learn more about Livability at a Glance™.
Here are some floor plans that showcase laundry room layouts to fit many different lifestyles.
The Breckinridge (50021) – Note the pocket door laundry room from the owner’s suite.
The Redwood Cottage (42227) – A second floor laundry room means no more lugging overflowing laundry baskets up and down stairs.
The Stinson (42064) – A laundry area flex space for hobbies and crafts.
The Silver Creek (42028) – Cut laundry time in half with dual washers and dryers!
Read more here: 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.
Is 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!
Larger 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.
A Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey finds that “most Americans have moved to a new community at least once in their lives, although a notable number — nearly four-in-ten — have never left the place in which they were born.”
People move. It’s one of the driving forces behind new home construction. Some of the more common lifestage categories residential designers focus on include singles, married, households with young children, working from home, empty nest, and seniors. But rather than targeting a specific lifestage with the expectation that the buyers will again move in a few years, what would a home design look like for people who like where they live and that would work for buyers throughout their lifetime – as well as the lifetimes of their children and grandchildren? That would be a paradigm shift.
Let the shift begin! For a single adult, Design Basics’ Tucker Terrace home plan provides excellent rental income opportunities with its secondary bedroom suites. For a young professional couple, one of those suites may flex into a home office. When the first child comes along, the Tucker Terrace’s sun room becomes the perfect nursery. As the kids get older, they have their own space and parents appreciate the privacy of bedroom three when it comes to the kids’ online gaming. For empty nesters, the owners have wonderful accommodations when the kids, grandkids, and other family come to visit. As the owners get older, they’ll be glad for the wider doors and hallways, especially if one of them uses a walker or wheelchair.
Most successful multi-generational households have some agreed upon ground rules, and it’s easy to envision the Tucker Terrace accommodating three generations. Perhaps it’s an elderly brother or sister moving in, or a great niece who’s attending the local university. We’ve worked with a number of couples later in life who prefer not to sleep together due to snoring, noise from a CPAP machine, or other medical conditions where the Tucker Terrace’s separate suites are preferable. If a live-in caretaker is the optimal solution for mom and dad (or a wounded veteran returning home) suite three provides desirable privacy. There’s also an emerging market of older, non-related prospective buyers looking for a true “home” environment rather than an active adult campus.
For even further flexibility, the Tucker Terrace offers a second floor bedroom suite as well as a basement foundation for adding finished lower level living space. Imagine – one home for a lifetime. Imagine the marketing implications…imagine the financial ramifications…now that’s a game changer!
Other home plans that are a good fit for lifestages:
- Plan #56498 (the Josette) bedrooms 2 and 3 can be reconfigured as a second master suite.
- Plan #42302 (the Westerly) features a unique Casita design.
- Plan #50037 (the Toulouse) provides two bedroom suites.
Search our plans and specify search term “Split Bedrooms” for designs with multiple bedroom suites or the ability to create an additional suite.
John Gerlach, a retired military civil engineer, purchased the Design Basics’ Amanda plan and worked with our designers to make desired alterations, such as moving the master bath and bedroom for added privacy. But, the changes that really make his home stand out are the ‘green’ ones.
Drawing on his background in civil engineering, Gerlach was knowledgeable of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and the process for a home to be certified. Stationed in Europe for four years, he became familiar with the energy- and cost-efficiency (and comfort) of heated floors. He started with incorporating a reinforced concrete basement using #4 and #5 bars* for durability. By installing a reverse geothermal* process (provides both heating and cooling of the home), solar panels, and a gas fireplace, monthly utility costs were substantially reduced–his last electric and gas bills were each just $17!
The planning began in June of 2013, with construction completed in early 2014. The result is a beautiful home with enviable energy efficiency. And, the home, which was built in Niagara County, New York, is now rated Silver LEED-certified and qualifies for zero or reduced county taxes for up to nine years!
As mentioned, Gerlach worked with Design Basics’ plan alterations specialists to flip the layout of the master bedroom, placing the bathroom and closet to the rear, and swapping out the whirlpool tub for a spacious walk-in shower.
While all floors on the main level are heated using the geothermal system, only the fireplace is powered by gas.
Design Basics’ home plans are designed with buildability in mind. Search our plans, and check out other alternative building methods that might be the right fit for you!
*We do not endorse construction materials suppliers; this reference is for educational purposes only.