Parade of Homes
By: Danny Lipford
Whether you’re planning to build a new home or simply renovate the one you’re in, there’s no better place to see the latest trends than a parade of homes. You’ll find everything from innovative new products and improved construction methods to unique furnishings and cutting edge interior design.
The 2007 Parade of Homes in Mobile, Alabama, that we visited was sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Metro Mobile. Over 30 new homes were on display during the tour, including a 3,300 square foot French country style showcase home that was built especially for the occasion. While builder Mark Swanson was in charge of the overall design and construction of the showcase home, dozens of designers and decorators contributed their expertise to the various aspects of the project.
Everything in the showcase home was meticulously designed to give visitors a sense of what is possible today when planning a new home. Even the layout of the closets was carefully coordinated to demonstrate several different approaches to organizing storage space.
In the kitchen an arched wood panel hood over the stove served as the focal point of the room. The decorator worked closely with the cabinet designer to incorporate a wealth of custom features, such as built-in spice racks and a dishtowel rack that slides into a slot in the cabinets.
Arched doorways leading into many of the rooms in the showcase home carried the design element throughout the house. The home also featured a hinged speakeasy panel in the front door to let you see out without opening the door. Another important design feature was the several different styles of intricate vaulted and recessed ceilings that are found throughout the house.
All the floors in the showcase home were covered in either tile or wood, though the dividing line between them was often intentionally blurred. While the floor in the foyer was tile, for example, the adjoining wooden floors extended out into it rather than stopping flush with the doorway as is traditionally done.
The house also featured two bedrooms for children that shared a common bathroom. Though the bath had only one tub and toilet, each child was given their own vanity complete with a textured granite top. Another interesting design feature of the home was the framed painting over the mantel in the living room that retracted to reveal a flat screen television concealed behind it.
While a parade of home is a great way for potential buyers to get ideas, it also allows builders and designers to gauge which styles and products are the most popular. Epoxy coated garage floors have been a big hit with visitors in recent years, though rooms dedicated to home theater systems appear to be on the wane. Outdoor kitchens have proved popular as well, but the added expense might rule them out for those on a tight budget.
Attending a parade of homes is also a good way to meet reputable builders and decorators in your area. Contractors whose homes are featured on the tour are usually respected members of the local home builders association with a good track record. While taking pictures is often not allowed, a wealth of printed information on the various features of the homes is available. Be sure to pick up business cards of the designers and builders you were impressed with, so you will be able to get in touch with them later.
Other Tips From This Episode
Removing the lid from an old can of paint is often quite a chore since dried paint in the rim tends to glue the top in place. The solution is to place a plastic grocery bag, or two layers of plastic wrap, over the can before replacing the lid. The double layer of plastic will allow the lid to separate easily the next time the can is opened. Drape an old piece of cloth on top of the can to keep the paint from splattering when you hammer on the lid, and protect the rim from denting with a block of wood. (Watch This Video)
Custom Carved Interior Doors interior doors from JELD-WEN Windows and Doors be ordered with various designs carved into them, including your child’s name. Constructed from medium density fiberboard (MDF) with a separate core to make them lighter and reduce noise, they come primed and ready for painting.
Custom carved JELD-WEN doors can be ordered at Home Depot stores. (Watch This Video)
Danny, why is it that prefab cabinets cost so much? -Cookie from Alabama
While prefabricated cabinets might look like they’re made from inexpensive particle board, they are actually constructed from a much higher quality product known as engineered wood. More durable than standard particle board, engineered wood weighs three times as much and can be submerged in water without damage. The core is then covered with either a simulated wood grain or wood veneer to give the cabinets the look of solid wood at a lower price. (Watch This Video)
Power tools used on Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford® are provided by Ryobi.