When Schumacher Homes’ CEO Paul Schumacher went looking for a couple to be the spokespeople for a new brand of custom home designs, he was hoping for someone whose name and presence would evoke warm feelings about family and a love of the outdoors.
So they called on the family of Dale Earnhardt. “When you think of the name Earnhardt, everybody knows it. It’s family values,” said Schumacher, adding that the Earnhardt image also evokes a passion for preservation, conservation, and love of the outdoors. “We reached out to them.”
Kerry Earnhardt, Dale’s son, and his wife, Rene’, were quick to jump on board and six months later, after a lot of trips between the Earnhardt’s Charlotte, N.C., home base and Schumacher’s Canton, Ohio, headquarters for charettes with architects, 22 new floor plans emerged from the collaboration. “We did this 100% with them [the Earnhardts],” says Schumacher. “These were all drawn from scratch.” Each one was inspired by a specific Earnhardt family story or event.
Schumacher, a large national custom builder, unveiled the plans Wedensday, Oct. 12, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, when a button was pushed and the designs became live on the company’s website.
“All of these are very, very unique,” said Schumacher. “There is nothing quite like them that we’ve offered before. These are not the same old builder plans that everybody has.”
Schumacher describes the designs as warm and casual, with no formal living space at all. There are, however, plenty of porches, to help make communing with the outdoors easier. And the exterior designs show influences from cottages to mountain-style homes that you might find in Aspen, Colo., he said.
There is also a lot of storage space and, as you might expect in a house with the Earnhardt name, options for huge garages with space for “toys” as well as cars and workshops.
“We have cool little things, pocket offices, small little tech space off the kitchen where kids can do their homework, mud rooms. [The Earnhardts] are big on family function and storage.”
The plans range in size from 960 to 3,400 square feet. The smaller homes would start in the $80,000 range in most markets, while the Giant Sequoia, with 2,464 square feet, and named in honor of Dale Earnhardt, would sell for $186,000. The plans are available in all 32 markets where Schumacher builds. There are no homes from the plans built yet.
For many of the custom builder’s customers, the floor plans will be just a beginning point for their new homes.
“We are going to let people customize them any way they want,” Schumacher says.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.