BUILDER Responsive Homes

A multi-million dollar investment in learning how to design and build new homes that young adult buyers both really enthuse about and can attain had no business being this much fun.

And when you come to visit the homes, starting Monday, Jan. 18, in Henderson, Nev.'s Inspirada master planned community as part of the action at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, that word--fun--will keep surfacing up through your viscera as you take them in.

Sign up for the virtual tour of our prototypes here.

Of course, the fun you experience in the homes as you walk through them takes the form of splashes of bold palette offsetting warmth, edges that both separate and marry indoor and outdoor spatial relations, angled and vertical features that suspend, or support, or refract the light of day or lighting by night.

That's different than the fun of this project, with its double-duty mission. In the truest sense, TRI Pointe and its Pardee Homes Las Vegas division committed its resources and its talent to develop prototypes that serve as two separate but related hypotheses.

 One, of the prototype's goals, of course, is to change Millennials' minds from "wait" to "go" as regards new homeownership. To do that, the prototype acts not simply as a compelling stimulus to purchase, but as a profoundly powerful suggestion of the accruing value and adaptability in the time after the purchase--the time the Responsive Homes' nature, to respond to changes in need and wherewithal over time--truly surfaces.

The Innovator's Hypothesis, with help in defining exactly what I mean by prototype:

"A prototype is a hypothesis" means that prototypes are educated guesses about the future--the future of how the prototype might perform, the future of how potential users might react to it, the future of how it might be produced or manufactured, the future of how people might sell or market it, the future of how researchers might explore and test its technical features and functionalities further, the future of how designers might shape or refine its look further, etc. A prototype describes a potential future worth testing.

A future of Millennials buying--and beyond buying, living in--new homes, and a future of builders building those homes and neighborhoods is the future TRI Pointe Group and BUILDER and our partners committed to with the Responsive Homes.

While many potential buyers will stretch their means to attain these homes, the homes themselves will stretch their definition, their function, their accommodation to the homeowners' lives across years of ownership.

You've heard of aging-in-place, and the features, design, engineering, and functionality that allow people who are older to remain in their homes through more years of their final stages.

Well, call our Responsive Homes "coming-of-age in place" homes, as their design, engineering, financial operational options, and features allow young adults to live fuller and longer and build more value as they stay in these homes. When you see and experience these features, design, and engineering in person, you'll get what I mean when I tell you that the word "fun" keeps coming up.

But another, equally important objective of the Responsive Homes prototype is that they are designable and build-able on production home building budgets. TRI Pointe and the team of researchers, creative director, architects, landscape architects, and some very important players on the manufacturing and materials side of things it assembled to work with Pardee Homes' Las Vegas division committed to the project as a big teachable moment they all have been willing to share with the entire builder community.


Two reasons, really. One is that the project syncs with TRI Pointe's three-pillar mission: to think about what home can be, renew one’s passion for the families one serves, and inspire each other to go well beyond the expected. In a sense, the TRI Pointe culture focuses on agile and constant discovery in order to "think about what home can be." The Responsive Homes, as a prototype, are very real actions that deliver on the words in its mission statement.

What's more, the organization believes, as we do at BUILDER and Metrostudy and our parent company Hanley Wood, that this "discovery process" is worth sharing, because if somebody cracks the code, then a lot of people, and companies, and economies, and society, will benefit.

Literally, the initiative has "improving lives"--of people, neighborhoods, firms, towns, and the nation--as its purpose.

That's why these prototypes and their dual mission are both vitally important and riotously fun.

Want to know what's fun?

When you do research so that you can do the right research, it's fun. In this case TRI Pointe aligned us with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics to go to its Mindfire panel of 400-plus students for an almost instantaneous reading on how to ask the right questions of Millennials about their housing values, desires, needs, insistences, and aspirations. That first round triggered the second-round questionnaire that gave us take-aways that run through the project development, design, pricing, and engineering intentions and executions. That's fun.

The Contemporary Farmhouse and Contemporary Transitional homes feature:

  • Adaptable floor plan options that give owners space for what they need now and flexibility for their future needs 
  • Smart technology that features enabled automation and energy performance 
  • Bold design finishes that provide a sophisticated look and feel for the young professional 
  • Powerful indoor-outdoor flow to maximize entertaining and living space Key Insights Informed Unique Design

Millennials represent approximately 77 million people in the U.S., which is about one-quarter of the total population. With $200 billion annual buying power, catering to millennials needs and desires is big business across the marketplace – from cell phone carriers, and now to home builders. The Responsive Home is built exclusively to include the most important elements and amenities in a home, according to young buyers. As part of the project, a nation-wide survey was conducted by Ketchum Global Research and Analytics with Millennials currently home shopping to source opinions and insights on their ideal home. The research found that 84 percent of Millennials surveyed feel that they are financially ready to purchase a home.

Both Responsive Home floor plans, the Contemporary Farmhouse and the Contemporary Transitional, blend livability with modern function catering to the most important request of surveyed younger buyers – more space, specifically outdoors. The homes offer evolution-over-time floor plans designed to flex as a home owner’s needs change because 71 percent of Millennials surveyed said that it was important for their home to have the ability to be customized.

At 2,145-sq.-foot, the Contemporary Farmhouse features three to four bedrooms with three and a half to four and a half bathrooms plus an optional 384-square-foot optional flat over the garage. In addition, this home has a smartly designed downstairs bedroom suite with a full bath, kitchenette, and an outside entrance. As Millennials become ambassadors for the sharing economy, project designers envision this space being used for short- or long-term rentals. This home also offers additional flex space at the front of the home that converts the porch to a play room for the kids, office or fitness room and a second floor loft that converts to an extra bedroom. The Contemporary Farmhouse will have an estimated list price starting in the low $300,000s.

The Contemporary Transitional (3,194-sq.-foot) offers four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, with a spacious casita behind the garage that provides a covered private patio, small kitchen, full bath and optional adjoining fitness room. Responding to the desire of young buyers for interaction with the outdoors, this home provides multiple opportunities for connecting with nature from the inside and out. This home has an estimated list price starting in the mid $400,000s.

You know what else is fun?

When designers--architect, creative director, landscape architecture, and product manufacturer--collaborate at the level our team did with the construction team and the purchasing and sourcing team, it's downright exciting.

  • AndersonBaron: The landscape design firm is responsible for providing designs to create outdoor living spaces that are warm, inviting and effortlessly integrate an outdoor living space into the home, which Millennials told us was important to them. 
  • Bassenian Lagoni: Award-winning architectural, planning and interior design firm developed the two distinct yet comfortable homes. 
  • Bobby Berk: Bobby Berk, who is a millennial himself and owner of the Bobby Berk Home lifestyle and retail brand, is creative director on the Responsive Home Project and is responsible for creating authentic, functional and aesthetically beautiful spaces to complete the homes' interior and exterior design. 
  • Western Window Systems:A premier window and door manufacturer was tasked with providing a bi-folding door systems designed to open up the flow of the homes with the outdoors. 
  • Other project sponsors include: Andersen Windows, Carrier, Daltile, Eldorado Stone, Gerber, James Hardie, Kichler Lighting, LiftMaster, Pavestone, Rinnai, Savant, Schlage, Sherwin Williams, Timberlake Cabinetry, Uponor, Weyerhaeuser and Whirlpool

When you tour through the homes and you see the way the lines play with the expanses, the way the massing plays with emptiness, the way color, and light, and airiness and warmth and indoor and outdoor play with one another, it's fun.

What the world and housing did not need is one more "show home" or "idea house" project. What it does need are prototypes that can and do act as compelling inspiration for a fast-emerging young adult cohort that's about to reshape the very nature of neighborhoods and society and culture at every level.

And it does need prototypes for how to discover what first-time buyers say they really want and expect, how to design to those values, how to build replicable homes that blend financial attainability, with practical adaptability, with visceral excitement.

With the TRI Pointe Group Responsive Homes project, we truly enter a new era of the coming-of-age in place house that learns as it becomes a home that lives.