By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Do you assume that most people who work in high-tech jobs prefer new homes that act and look high tech? Don't count on it. That lesson is clear in the 2002 Street of Dreams project in Lake Oswego, Ore., near Portland. For the second year, Intel Corp., which employs about 16,000 people in three plants in the Portland area, signed on as a lead sponsor to promote home computers and home networks.
Last year's homes included lots of visible technology, recalls Greg Heinze, whose Shelburne Development has had homes in the project two years in a row. Nooks with desktop computers and large, touch-screen control panels got a lukewarm reception from visitors, many of whom work in Intel's Portland-area facilities. "They see this stuff all day but don't want to come home to it," says Heinze.
This year's strategy was to make the technology fade into the background. Heinze's European influenced "La Provence" recalls a French country home with no visible computers, thank you.
Repeat visitors like this year's more subtle approach. "I carry a laptop around the house and show people my Web site, as well as those of my suppliers. They're really intrigued by what you can do with such a small machine," notes Heinze. He also shows them how to position access points around the house.
Heinze also took a different approach to entertainment. Last year's house had a large dedicated home theater room. But he heard from most buyers that they didn't want a separate room. The current home's 16-by-20-foot space is flanked by a nook with a pool table. An archway separating the two spaces lets players watch the plasma screen television. There's even space to add a kitchenette. "A lot of people like the idea that they're not having to go someplace special to do one thing."