Problem: It seems everyone’s goal is clutter-free countertops. Yet, small appliances (e.g., toaster, coffee maker, rice cooker, fondue pot, etc.) are must-haves; and they can be a pain to store and retrieve when needed!
Solution: Lead designer Carl Cuozzo has been designing Appliance Centers in high-end custom homes for years. From waffle makers and espresso machines to crock-pots and woks, today’s home buyers have lots of small appliances. Carl has found the ideal location for the appliance center is just outside the main kitchen, with storage above and below, and plenty of electrical outlets.
Consider how we live: Health-conscious individuals use their blenders–a lot; and stand mixers are bulky and heavy. The bottom line is that we want the convenience of ready access for our most-used small appliances without cluttering our kitchen counters.
Appliance Center shown in the Dandridge plan #42365.
By focusing on energy efficiency, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, sulfer dioxide, and nitrogen oxides) by thousands of pounds per year. Great strides have been made in insulating walls, window quality, and furnace efficiency. But, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, air duct leakage is the #1 home energy loss.
Aeroseal® manufactures an aerosol sealant that is sprayed into your ductwork to seal leaks from the inside. Safe and nontoxic, Aeroseal has actually been shown to enhance indoor air quality. Improved delivery of conditioned air means rooms that were hard to keep warm in the winter/cool in the summer are usually more comfortable while saving you money every month on your utility bills.
According to Aeroseal, “On average, 30 cents of every $1 you spend on heating and cooling your home or building disappears into thin air due to duct leaks.” With more of the air you paid to heat or cool reaching the registers, you may find yourself actually lowering the thermostat.
Another benefit can be noise reduction—with the furnace and/or air conditioner running less.
Learn more about Aeroseal products.
While more and more of our digital life is becoming wireless, wireless solutions continue to be plagued by signal strength issues and download/upload speeds. In a room over a garage finished off as a home office space, a Design Basics customer recently reported intermittent signal losses and average download speeds of only 2-4 Mbps, compared with 50 Mbps throughout the rest of the home. The solution was wiring an Ethernet connection in that space – not an easy task after the home was built.
Whether it’s HD video or the latest multi-player online games, for stationary applications, hardwired Ethernet is preferable to wireless connectivity for dependable performance and to get the most from your entertainment and computer systems. Ethernet provides another important advantage, low voltage power for your device can be run over the same Ethernet cable so you can eliminate additional electrical wiring and those bulky AC transformers.
For more helpful building tips, visit our Resource Center.
More and more products for the home can be monitored and controlled by an App. Some are for convenience, such as an app for your coffee maker; while others are for your piece of mind, like Roost’s family of products.
Roost’s Smart Smoke Alarm has advanced features, such as a Wi-Fi connection. Powered by a Smart Battery (see below), alerts are sent to your smartphone via the Roost App. Depending on which model of smoke alarm you choose, alerts for smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and/or natural gas detection are in the palm of your hand!
Water and Freeze Detection Alerts
Toilets, bathtubs, and sinks that overflow…water heater tanks that rupture…washing machine hoses burst…such “contained water leaks” in homes (as opposed to flooding due to heavy rains) cost insurance companies more than residential fire damage. Sure, insurance can help with repairs and replacement costs, but you’re responsible for the deductible and then there’s all the disruption and the associated hassles. Roost’s Wi-Fi enabled Smart Sensor detects water leaks and sends an alert to your smartphone (and family and friends’ phones) so you can address the problem before it becomes catastrophic. In addition, should temperature and/or humidity in your home fall outside predetermined levels, the battery-powered Roost Smart Sensor will alert you to these dangers as well, helping you avoid damage from freeze or excess humidity.
Wi-Fi Battery and Alerts
If you’re tired of being startled awake to smoke detector “chirps,” the Roost 9 volt Wi-Fi battery is great technology for standard smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Roost sends “low battery” alerts to your smartphone to call attention to the need for changing the battery. But you won’t get those alerts very often, as the Roost battery lasts five years (then just replace the lithium battery pack). Everyone at work/school? Roost sends emergency alerts to your smartphone as well as family and friends’ phones.
To learn more, visit: www.getroost.com
(Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes only; we do not formally endorse any product or service.)
In May, my son graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in marketing. As a high school senior, he set a national sales record for one of North America’s largest electronics retailers. The kid is smart. But when it came time to purchase a new car last weekend, he and his fiancée (who also has a business degree) were novices. Not that they hadn’t researched vehicles online. Not that they didn’t know what was important to them in a new vehicle. Not that they didn’t know what they could afford. It’s just that neither had ever purchased a brand-new vehicle. Rebates or lower APR? Extended warranty? Rustproofing? “Sport” edition? Price negotiation? Then there was the high-pressure sales tactics…
Similarly, how many of your prospective home buyers took classes in home design, home building, or buying a new home when they were college students? With such a monumental decision, how do you help buyers choose you?
Listen…and build rapport. The first salesperson my son met couldn’t wait to demonstrate the vehicle. He quickly identifed the model he thought would most interest this young couple, then spent quite a bit of time showing them the many features. This was followed by the customary test-drive during which the sales person spent most of his time texting.
I’ve met new home sales pros who likewise want to get right to touring visitors through their model home. Most are superb at highlighting the hot-button amenities. But people want to buy from someone they like, someone who cares about them, someone they can trust, and that takes time getting to know them and listening to what they want.
Edu-sell. Price is always important, but selling via lowest price is both difficult and lazy. Difficult, because there are only so many corners you can cut, so many suppliers you can bully into dropping their price. Lazy, because the consumer doesn’t have to think and the salesperson doesn’t have to deal with educating the customer, quality, or other “intangibles.”
The salesman who won my son’s business quickly established rapport over their mutual admiration for Apple products. He segued that into introducing Apple Car Play, found in some of their vehicles. He took the time to discuss all-wheel drive options, various trim levels/options, and what was included, such as explaining the pros and cons of leather seats.
New home buyers don’t know what they don’t know. Your ability to modify standard designs; delightful new amenities prospects didn’t even know existed; product upgrades ideally matched to their priorities; these are all ways to empower buyers to make the best decisions, within the budget they have established for themselves, making you their advisor who has their best interests at heart.
Make the process easy, fun, and (relatively) stress-free. For my son and his fiancée, their salesman turned car shopping into a process of discovery. The vehicle they ultimately purchased was not even on their radar screen initially. From the big touch screen display with back-up camera, to the “Vehicle Protection Package,” to sorting through the business office/finance options, this dealership understood how to respect their customers.
Your homes are designed. Your home building system was designed. Your customers’ new home purchase experience should be designed, too. Looking at the purchase experience through the eyes of the customer is the place to start, rather than what’s efficient for you. Concentrate especially on the areas which can be stressful (e.g., finalizing the design, product selections, and the purchase agreement). Above all else, focus on clear communication, because ambiguity is no one’s friend!
Author: Paul Foresman, VP Business Development, Design Basics, LLC
Sometimes placement of the laundry room presents a unique situation for venting the dryer. Maybe your vent needs to run up before it can exit the home. This can cause energy and safety problems as lint can become trapped in in the vent and more frequent cleaning is needed. Introducing a ventless dryer!
The new breed of ventless clothes dryers not only use less energy, they also eliminate the need for a dryer vent. Even if you are disciplined in cleaning out the lint filter regularly, dryer vent hoses/pipes typically clog over time, lengthening dryer cycles, wasting power, and shortening the life of your dryer. Some vent hoses snake around the home’s framing and are very hard to clean out, a leading cause of the 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported annually (U.S. Fire Administration). Whirlpool’s HybridCare™ True Ventless heat pump dryer offers a large, 7.4 cu. ft. capacity and dries clothes in about the same amount of time as the company’s traditional vented models.
For more information, visit: www.whirlpool.com
Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes; we do not formally endorse any product or service.