October 2006 Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Hit the Shower Hit the Shower

ONE OF YOUR JOBS AS A BUILDER IS to make your houses as desirable as possible without breaking the bank. Anyone can add high-end baubles that cost serious money, but how do you achieve an upscale look for a relatively low cost? Adding cool features to the bath is a good place to start. Read more

Over the Top Over the Top

IF THE KITCHEN IS THE HARDEST-working room in the house, the countertop is its most important surface. That's because the counter endures all manner of abuse, so the material has to be able to withstand a beating with aplomb. Read more

Green Building Energy Sippers

AUSTIN, TEXAS, HAS APPOINTED A TASK FORCE to study the feasibility of a change in the building code that would require all new single-family homes in the city to be zero-energy–capable by 2015. Read more

Testing the Market Luxury Builders Testing the Market

YOU KNOW HANNAH BARTOLETTA Homes has made a splash with its latest plan when partner Charley Hannah starts a conversation with, “I don't feel crazy.” The Tampa, Fla.–based builder is defending his decision to complete a 113-unit, gated custom home community with 15 spec homes. Read more

Impact Fees Builders Win Fee Fight

HOME BUILDERS IN DURHAM COUNTY, N.C., were thrown a curveball last August by homeowner Kevin E. Jones, who sought to join the builders as a plaintiff in a lawsuit over school impact fees that had previously been settled. Read more

Codes And Standards Control Panels

IT'S NOW MUCH EASIER FOR builders and architects to specify SIPs for walls, thanks to a new set of prescriptive methods for the building system. Read more

Soft Scaping East Meets West

SHEA HOMES OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND Newport Beach, Calif.–based Urban Arena have teamed up on a project in Aliso Viejo, Calif., that aims to bring East Coast–style city living to the suburbs of Orange County. Read more

Neighborhood Design Façade Fundamentals

CERTAIN ELEVATION STYLES are non grata in the suburbs northwest of Baltimore, and lawmakers are preparing to show developers what qualifies as acceptable architecture. In August, the Baltimore County Council passed legislation authorizing the county's Office of Planning to create a pattern book that will serve as a visual reference for home builders in certain neighborhoods. Read more

House Blend: November 2006

- The Wisconsin state legislature passes a law that requires home buyers, not builders, to pay impact fees. - California awards $210.7 million in housing grants to 42 counties. - Global Green USA and actor Brad Pitt have announced that Workshop APD has won the Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans. Read more

Basic Needs Home Warranties Basic Needs

ALTHOUGH ROUGHLY HALF OF THE STATES have passed notice-and-opportunity-to-repair (NOR) laws, which let builders offer to repair a defect before the homeowner can sue, some states have found that more is needed to help counteract rising defects lawsuits and general liability insurance rates. Read more

HOW's About It

AN ORGANIZATION FORMED TO RECOUP the remaining assets of the Home Owners Warranty (HOW) Insurance Co. estimates that roughly 6,000 builders may be able to recover a total of $80 million. Read more

The Straight Dope The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth G'day, Bugs

In 1906, a University of Miami forestry professor named John Gifford thought that planting thirsty trees at the borders of the Everglades would help dry up land on the periphery for development. He chose the melaleuca, a hardy Australian tree that had been imported to Florida for the first time 20 years earlier, says Allen Dray, an ecologist at the United States Department of Agriculture's invasive plant research lab in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Read more

Shady Dealings Agency Fraud Shady Dealings

ONE BUILDER/DEVELOPER HAS BEEN arrested, and more arrests are likely, in an ongoing investigation of what appears to have been widespread corruption in the Miami-Dade Housing Agency (MDHA). Read more

Top Shelf: October 2006

This month's top shelf products include and new multifunction tool from Stanley Works, the Magnogrip magnetic wristband from MDG Tools, and Kohler's DTV Digital Shower Valve. Read more

Fitting In Complementary Infill Fitting In

FERNDALE, MICH., IS A NEIGHBORHOOD of 100-year-old houses, mostly bungalows with coved ceilings, plaster walls, and gabled roofs. It offers a small downtown with vintage-clothing shops, ethnic restaurants, and alternative music and is one of Detroit's most welcoming 'burbs for gays. Read more

Floor Show Moisture Matter Floor Show

Hardwood floors sometimes shrink and show cracks between the pieces when the indoor air is dry. Should I insist that my flooring contractor let the flooring acclimate inside the house before nailing it down? Read more

Breakaway Goal Breakaway Goal

TO FIND THE YOUNG PROFESSIONAL, FIRST-TIME BUYERS FOR Bonneyville, a 35-acre, 249-unit row house neighborhood in Denver's Northern Range, builder Amber Homes went to a hockey game. Read more

Who's Your Caddy? Who's Your Caddy?

EVERY YEAR SINCE IT OPENED FOR SALES IN MAY 2004, THE development team at The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay in Millsboro, Del., has hosted an event for licensed real estate agents in the surrounding area to coincide with the unveiling of the project's latest milestone. Read more

Kid Friendly Kid Friendly

DEVELOPER DOUG COLLISTER'S FAMILY HAS LIVED IN THE Albuquerque, N.M., area for three generations, and even he didn't know anything about a high desert area west of the city. The relatively untouched landscape that his company, High Desert Investment Corp., is now leveraging into a 6,500-acre master plan is called Mariposa. Read more

Vital Signs Lack of Appreciation

HOUSING PRICES WERE UP IN the second quarter of 2006, but the rate of increase over the previous year went down by the sharpest amount in more than 30 years, according to the latest figures from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). Read more

It's a Snap It's a Snap

BUILDERS ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR low-cost, home-tech upgrades that bring the digital lifestyle to life for their home buyers. Read more

Digital Home: October 2006

- Artison announces the release of its Masterpiece LCR speakers. - Home automation company AMX announces a new national residential home builder program at last month's CEDIA show. Read more

Business Models Emerge Business Models Emerge

AT A PRESS CONFERENCE THE CONSUMER Electronics Association (CEA) held last summer to release home buyer research, one of the reporters asked a CEA researcher about workable business models or marketing strategies for selling digital homes to new-home buyers, and he couldn't immediately point to any. Read more

Work on the Web

A FAMILIAR COMPLAINT among builders is that they can automate their own companies, but getting subs to buy into such automation is still very difficult. Read more

Podcast Power

TAYLOR WOODROW IS CAPITALIZING ON THE popularity of iPods among consumers by becoming one of the first builders to pod-cast sales promotional videos. Read more

Tech Tools: October 2006

- A new service allows home builders to record audio notes and have them transcribe into and email. - OnsiteAgent designs a touchscreen kiosk for sales centers and show homes to tackle important sales issues for builders. Read more

Brand-New Way Brand-New Way

BUILDERS WHO THINK branding matters only when you're selling coffee, cars, and sneakers haven't been paying attention, says Mark Stevens, a White Plains, N.Y.–based marketing expert and author of Your Marketing Sucks. The added value of a builder's brand can be summed up in one instantly recognizable word: Trump. Read more

Shattered Dreams Shattered Dreams

WHEN CHRIS AND Meghan Driggers of Athens, Ga., were shopping for their first house in the fall of 2004, they spent hours with their real estate agent looking at neighborhoods. One day, the agent mentioned a new community, Milford Hills, where one of the other agents from his firm was selling houses. Read more

Mark Scheurer Mark Scheurer

ALMOST SINCE THE DAY HE FOUNDED his firm in 1991, Mark Scheurer has been a fixture on the Builder's Choice leader board, winning 19 of the awards for custom homes, production detached and attached units, and community design, including the 2002 Project of the Year for The Sentinels. Read more

Mark McInturff Mark McInturff

MARK MCINTURFF IS A BUILDER'S kind of custom architect in that he doesn't let his ego get in the way of designing great houses that suit, if broadly, the character of their surroundings. Read more

Taylor Woodrow Homes, North America Taylor Woodrow Homes, North America

THE LIST OF CREDITS FOR THE 18 Builder's Choice Awards Taylor Woodrow Homes has won since 1991 reads like a who's who of milestone projects and design partners, including fellow inductees Walt Richardson and Mark Scheurer. And, it underscores the builder's commitment to housing design in a production realm. Read more

Hall Of Fame Hall Of Fame

DURING HIS INDUCTION speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past summer, coach-turned-announcer John Madden theorized that once all the lights are turned off in the building's Enshrinement Gallery, the bronze busts carry on conversations with one another, about football, life, whatever. Read more

Shades Of Gray

For sure, houses have a huge environmental impact and a major affect on quality of life. So “greening” homes is clearly an idea with practical merit for the planet and for people. But “green” is also the hot new marketing fad—which makes a lot of people eager to jump on the bandwagon with green claims based on sketchy rationales. Read more

Building a sustainable and energy-efficient home is easier than you might think Building a sustainable and energy-efficient home is easier than you might think

By any standard of measurement, green building is hot. Green building has now spilled over into the residential world as well. According to the NAHB, 14,600 green homes were built in 2004, up from 2,500 in 2000. Read more

Builder's Choice Builder's Choice

The building industry has gotten serious, and it may be fair to say the trophy home has lost her crown. As the echo of popping champagne corks subsides, we now find ourselves facing the sobering realities of an affordable housing crisis, rising energy costs, sluggish sales, material price increases, and land wars in our most populous metro areas. Read more

Meet The Judges Meet The Judges

Meet the judges for the 2005 Builder's Choice Awards. Read more

Parts House Pavilion Special Focus Parts House Pavilion

IT'S AN URBAN LIGHTHOUSE, a beacon of color and wonder smack dab in the middle of a gritty Rust Belt neighborhood. Read more

House At Gap Head Special Focus House At Gap Head

ANCHORED ON NEW ENGLAND'S rocky coastline and oriented to maximize coastal vistas, this 10,000-square-foot retreat reads like a polished outgrowth of the terrain. Read more

The Park At Lakeshore East Special Focus The Park At Lakeshore East

FOR ARCHITECT ERNEST Wong, designing a space to accommodate a wide range of neighborhood needs was no walk in the park. Read more

Curran House Apartments Special Focus Curran House Apartments

SOMETIMES ROTE INGREDIENTS in the housing equation are worth a second thought. Such was the case when architect David Baker turned a critical eye on the notion of on-site parking at Curran House, a 67-unit, low-income apartment building in San Francisco's hardscrabble Tenderloin district. Read more

Windmark Beach House Special Focus Windmark Beach House

COVERED PORCHES AND breezeways serve as connective tissue in this airy beachfront home, loosely bridging the otherwise discrete building blocks that make up the main house, master suite, guest cottage, and carriage house. Read more

Spring Valley Residence Special Focus Spring Valley Residence

THE RENOVATION OF this 1928 Washington residence included the replacement of all the existing glass openings to help maximize the visual connection to the site. Read more

Grumman Porch Special Focus Grumman Porch

THIS EXQUISITE LITTLE screened porch addition extends this home's dining room and does so without darkening the interior spaces. Read more

Penfield Merit Penfield

AS ELEGANT AS THEY ARE utilitarian, these four-bedroom houses slip comfortably into the confines of their 45-foot-wide lots. Read more

La Bellezza At Peregrine Merit La Bellezza At Peregrine

KELLER HOMES AND Scheurer Architects looked to European mountain villages for inspiration on this Rubik's Cube–like community, composed of 48 detached homes on 15 acres. The first cluster housing project in suburban Denver, each trio of rustically detailed homes is designed around a shared motor court, and jewel-like private patios are formed by the walls or fences of a neighbor. It all adds up to an appealing, interlocking puzzle that puts every inch of outdoor surface to good use. Read more

Maison Du Paix Merit Maison Du Paix

IT'S WHAT MARIE ANTOINETTE might have built had she lived in Southern California—a 10,000-square-foot, French-style farmhouse of hand-cut stone, detailed with steel windows and doors, plaster walls, and truss ceilings. Read more

The Classics, Montage Collection Merit The Classics, Montage Collection

RED BARREL-TILE ROOFS and smooth white stucco exteriors speak of the Spanish inspiration behind this townhouse community geared to first-time buyers, couples, and small families. One of three floor plans, the 1,492-square-foot Medley offers a design that is distinctive and yet efficient to build. Entry is through a walled courtyard, while in back, an alley provides garage access. On the second floor, three bedrooms form a neat rectangle. Dark wood accents on the master balcony complete this home's Spanish medley. Read more

Old Town Lofts Merit Old Town Lofts

ARCHITECT BOB MECHELS breathed new life into this century-old building in Ft. Collins, Colo.'s historic district with a fresh, modern façade and an updated, mixed-use purpose. The 32,000-square-foot structure now houses chic office space on the street level and three floors (17 units) of residential loft space above. Each loft unit has an oversized bay window that frames views of the nearby Rocky Mountain foothills. The handsome exterior is clad with a combination of brick, cinderblock, stucco, and locally quarried sandstone in buff and crimson colors. Read more

The Metro Merit The Metro

THE METRO IS A FOUR-story apartment complex that consists of three buildings in Denver's historic lower downtown, or “LoDo” district. Its 415 units, which are aimed at urban professionals, emphasize spectacular views of downtown, the Rocky Mountains, and nearby Coors Field. Read more

Progress Ridge Merit Progress Ridge

THE MAKING OF ANY mixed-use community involves the usual hurdles of nervous neighbors, density requirements, and roadway access. Read more

St. Baristo Merit St. Baristo

AS LAND PARCELS SHRINK near urban areas, builders face the proverbial puzzle: How to disguise multifamily housing in a single-family neighborhood. Read more

Verandah, Plan 5 Merit Verandah, Plan 5

HONORING REGIONAL SURROUNDINGS is a top priority for architect Bob Hidey and his team. Read more

Silvercrest Senior Residence Merit Silvercrest Senior Residence

COST CONTROLS WERE crucial in the remodel of this 10-story residence for low-income seniors. Read more

Railroad Spur Block Merit Railroad Spur Block

STRADDLING RESIDENTIAL and industrial areas, the Railroad Spur Block live/work project blends residential scale with materials such as metal and thick-walled stucco that reference the site's industrial lineage. Read more

The Brownstones At Park Potomac Merit The Brownstones At Park Potomac

EVERYTHING ABOUT THESE New York–style brownstones rings authentic, what with their ruddy masonry, bay windows, cornice detailing, wrought iron rails, muscular walk-up stoops, and bronze gutters and downspouts. Except that they're not on the island of Manhattan or its environs. Read more

Metropolitan Lofts Merit Metropolitan Lofts

METROPOLITAN LOFTS occupies a once-barren city block of mostly surface parking near the entertainment district and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Read more

Urban Infill 01 Merit Urban Infill 01

THE MODULAR COMPONENTS of this production plan, created as an affordable alternative for vacant lots in Milwaukee's central city, include a cedar-clad box entryway, a larger stucco box containing the living spaces, and a concrete wall that defines a garden courtyard. A courtyard trellis, a balcony, and an optional carport can be inserted like Lego blocks. Volumes can be shifted and boundaries extended so a single-family residence can be reconfigured as a two-family duplex. The oversized picture window keeps an eye on the night street. Read more

Residential Natatorium Merit Residential Natatorium

HOW DO YOU DESIGN AN outbuilding that doesn't clash with, or upstage, the house? Read more

W Street Residence Merit W Street Residence

THIS 2,300-SQUARE-FOOT, ultra-modern sliver of a house in the arts district of Washington's Shaw neighborhood, lives large, thanks to an abundance of glass and natural light. Read more

Crofton Springs Merit Crofton Springs

ARCHITECTS AND BUILDERS across the country encounter a similar problem: How do you introduce higher-density housing to an established single-family neighborhood? Better yet, how do you impart a shared identity on those new homes while avoiding a cookie-cutter sameness? Read more

Lakeshore Cottages Merit Lakeshore Cottages

LAKESHORE COTTAGES IS located in an area known as the “Hamptons of the Midwest,” so it seems astonishing that it was once a decaying community only four blocks from Lake Michigan. Read more

Coastal Home Renovation Merit Coastal Home Renovation

THIS WHOLE-HOUSE RENOVATION is a prime example of how simple yet precise gestures can bring clarity to chaos. Read more

461 West Superior Merit 461 West Superior

THIS CHICAGO HOME WAS built in the tradition of a 1900s Gold Coast mansion, but with all the modern amenities and conveniences a modern-day homeowner requires. Read more

Douglass Street Residence Merit Douglass Street Residence

IN A NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE the houses all but rub against each other, a major question when designing an addition that nearly doubles the size of a house is: How do you let light in? Read more

Scott Residence Merit Scott Residence

Sited on a 5,000-square-foot infill lot, the house was scaled to fit the neighborhood and is equipped with large windows to maximize views of Mt. Hood and an open floor plan to suit the Scott family's casual lifestyle. Read more

Equestrian Avenue Villas Merit Equestrian Avenue Villas

IF ONLY ALL TEARDOWN projects looked so good, there'd be nary a whimper of NIMBY resistance to be heard. Land-wise, Equestrian Avenue Villas was an even trade—three old catalog homes in exchange for three new residences occupying the same 36-foot-wide lots. But in the aesthetics department, the impeccably styled Spanish colonial dwellings were a major upgrade. Read more

Bella Clancy Grand Bella Clancy

WHEN WESSMAN Gonzalez decided on a European flavor for this luxury community of $3 million homes, no expense was spared to get it right. Read more

Aqua Via Grand Aqua Via

TO INCORPORATE THE architectural language of Oakland's gentrifying Jack London Square, you have to speak factory. Take, as evidence, this project's neighbors, which include railroad tracks, a paper company, and a restaurant supply warehouse. Read more

Adams Row Grand Adams Row

A BIG BUILDING ON A narrow lot on a small street in the funkiest section of Washington? Architects at Hickok Cole rose to the challenge, using variable setbacks and massing, brick masonry towers with metal overhangs, and punch windows to honor the neighborhood's eclecticism. The architecture reads as quasi-industrial even though it's composed of traditional materials. Read more

The Fremont Lofts Grand The Fremont Lofts

WITH THEIR WALL-SIZE windows, industrial details, and rock-solid construction, abandoned mills are romanticized as chic living quarters. The realities of adapting them for residential use, however, are quite different. Read more

Waldron Residence Grand Waldron Residence

WITH ITS QUIET symmetry and subdued palette, this wooded retreat appears the epitome of simplicity. Read more

Four Stairs Grand Four Stairs

WHEN MAKING THIS 250-year-old house livable for the 21st century, architect Stephen Vanze borrowed the familiar physician's dictum: Do no harm. He was fortunate to have a client with a generous budget and a passion for doing things right. That meant meticulously restoring the historic log structure and its 19th-century appendages, which clearly tell a story of the original owner's growing wealth. Vanze sought out skilled craftsmen to surgically insert two bathrooms upstairs. Downstairs, they refurbished the historic fabric of the parlor, dining room, and sitting rooms. Read more

The Pinehills Grand The Pinehills

GREAT PLANNING PAYS off, and no one knows this better than developer Tony Green. Nearly a decade in the making, his Pinehills community was worth the wait. Read more

Aqua Island Homes Grand Aqua Island Homes

LIFE ON A TROPICAL ISLAND offers some unexpected delights in this infill paradise. Proving that New Urbanism need not be synonymous with historic revival architecture, its geometric forms are completely modern. Read more

Bronx Row Houses Grand Bronx Row Houses

LOW-INCOME HOUSING IS always a balancing act, the challenge being to keep costs down while maintaining high quality. “This is not throwaway architecture,” says Jeffrey Murphy, who designed these 13 tidy row houses across the street from a South Bronx park. “This is the stuff that comprises our cities.” Read more

Red Mill Village Grand Red Mill Village

THE PEPPERING OF quaint towns between Boston and Providence, R.I., are what many would consider the quintessence of New England. Rich in colonial history and succinct in their Shaker pragmatism, these villages have long been celebrated for their simple beauty. Read more

Hotel Donaldson Grand Hotel Donaldson

THE RENAISSANCE OF any older downtown area needs a catalyst, and in the case of Fargo, N.D., it was the Hotel Donaldson. Read more

Lion Creek Crossing Grand Lion Creek Crossing

SECURITY WAS NO SMALL matter in the redevelopment of this 22-acre site just north of Oakland's Coliseum Gardens BART station. In its previous incarnation, the parcel's gritty patchwork of vacant industrial lots and derelict public-housing projects had been a hotbed for illicit activity. Read more

Midtown Lofts Grand And Merit Midtown Lofts

City officials had high expectations for the resurrection of an industrial site wedged between two well-known residential nodes in Minneapolis. As the first phase of a larger “urban village” concept, Midtown Lofts would set the tone for a string of contiguous infill projects along an old railway bed that had been recast as the Midtown Greenway, a bike trail system connecting the city's east and west suburbs. Read more

Lexis On The Park Grand Lexis On The Park

THE APPROACH TO THIS 139-unit urban condominium begins in the park across the street. “What's unique about Portland is the street grid makes for great pedestrian scale,” says architect Jim Bodoia. The designers envisioned a gradual transition from public to private space that begins with the adjacent greenway, extends to sidewalk level, and then steps up to an intimate interior courtyard. Read more

The Visio Grand The Visio

ARCHITECTS WHO WORK in Washington know that historic preservation boards often dictate what buildings can and cannot be. Architect Suman Sorg managed to avoid this fate, but she still showed respect for the venerable church adjacent to this condo building. Read more

Stonyhurst Grand Stonyhurst

THIS LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va., homestead was slated to have its farmland subdivided into 15 lots—that is, until it was purchased by a single owner who envisioned a more sympathetic restoration of the residence and its pastoral setting. Read more

Bayside Grand Bayside

HERCULES IS A TOWN that never quite lived up to its namesake. The community north of Oakland had some history, but no real center. Read more

Artisan Village Grand Artisan Village

PHOENIX ISN'T KNOWN as a pedestrian-friendly town, but that didn't stop developer Eric Brown and William Hezmalhalch Architects from introducing a walkable village to its urban arts district, where previously there was none. Read more

Sunrise Of Connecticut Avenue Grand Sunrise Of Connecticut Avenue

A BUILDING THAT SPEAKS the language of its surroundings is always a worthy goal, but nowhere is it more important than in an assisted living facility, where familiar architecture is a source of comfort to residents. Read more

Barrio Metalico Grand And Special Focus Barrio Metalico

BARRIO METALICO'S developers originally envisioned the nine-unit project as a way to create momentum for a larger development they were planning nearby. Little did they know that the appetite for hip, urban-style housing would be as good as they had hoped and stronger than they imagined. Read more

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