Parade of Homes
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The dates and hours for the Parade of Homes in Green are as follows: July 10-25, Tues.,Thurs., Fri.: 5-9 pm; Wed. & Sat.: noon-9 pm; Sun.: noon-6 pm; closed Mon.
ASHWORTH HOME BUILDERS
The people at Ashworth Home Builders pride themselves on providing personalized attention. Along with constructing custom homes made with quality, energy-efficient products, owners Andrew and Michell Franklin work closely with homeowners from beginning to end. "We are the ones who get you through everything," says Michell. "We understand that for most people, this is the biggest chunk of money they will ever invest. Because it can be scary and intimidating, we calm those fears and anxieties along the way."
Since each Ashworth home is different, no project is standard. "We tailor the home right down to the last detail," says Michell. "It is always a work in progress." Lately, those homes have included requests for first-floor master bedrooms and laundry rooms, as well as walk-out basements. Michell has also noticed many homeowners trying to stay on top of the latest in electronics, with home theaters and surround-sound entertainment systems becoming increasingly popular.
Regardless of the features requested or the type of house the homeowner requires, Ashworth Home Builders is ready and willing to meet the customer's needs. "We will build anything from high-end to inner-city, small homes and everything in between," says Michell.
In 1988, Design Construction began as a small, custom-home building venture. Today, the company has evolved into a well-balanced builder of award-winning single- and multi-family residential communities and commercial and retail subdivisions. Over the past few years, partners Don Shultz, Mike Rankine, Bob Unruh and Len Huddleston have found a niche in the cluster home market. In doing so, they fulfill a need for sophisticated empty nesters that have already owned a custom home, but now want those same personalized amenities in a maintenance-free development.
"We offer a very simple project," says Huddleston. "They own the land that their house is on, and they can do whatever they want to the exterior. This is different than owning a condominium."
No concessions are made in terms of customer service and custom features. In fact, says Huddleston, "There is no amenity we won't do for them." That includes upgraded lighting, plumbing, carpeting, 3- and 4-season rooms, Corian countertops, various ceiling options and more. Developments include plenty of green space, with walking trails and pavilions. "These home owners know what they want, and they know what they are getting for their money," he says. "We have to be on our toes. We enjoy the challenge."
HOMES BY JOHN HERSHBERGER
John Hershberger is a second-generation builder who learned the building trade from his father. The knowledge handed down to him has helped Hershberger cultivate a quarter-of-a-century worth of experience, building in the Amish tradition, with careful attention to detail and pride in accomplishment. That hands-on experience with homebuilding has also earned him a fine working relationship with numerous fellow tradesmen and subcontractors. Additionally, it allows Hershberger to build more than 80 homes a year, with all plans designed and drawn in-house, then modified as needed to accommodate the buyer's lifestyle.
"Our design differences impress upscale buyers who want to be different from their neighbors, and very different from so many other neighborhoods," says Hershberger. Those differences have included open floor plans with two-story or vaulted ceilings, drywall niches as display areas, large trim packages and hardwood floors in several areas of the home. Hershberger has also seen a trend toward larger lot sizes, so the company continues to offer acre-plus home sites. That type of quality response to customer demands including offering a large showroom for clients' convenience is exactly why Homes by John Hershberger is so successful today.
JAMESTOWN HOMES, INC.
"The one thing people tell me about our homes is that they can drive into an allotment and pick out the houses we build," says Eric Butterfield, vice president of Jamestown Homes, Inc. "Our curb appeal is very distinguishable."
Distinct architectural detail has been a trademark of Jamestown president Bob Butterfield (Eric's father) since he began building houses in 1973. Today, the father-son team continues to construct unique, customized designs building roughly 17 to 20 homes a year and are praised for their close attention to customers. "I am the guy they meet on the job site to talk about the shingles there is no secondary person," says Eric.
Since customers can be overwhelmed and intimidated by the building process, Eric says he takes special care to calm their fears. "It's their house, and we work for them," he explains. It's also the reason why the people at Jamestown Homes believe the most important thing about building a house is frequent communication between the builder and the customer, as well as between the builder and the sub-contractor. "That high level of communication is what makes us successful at custom-home building," says Eric.
KNL CUSTOM HOMES
Todd Folden, president of KNL Custom Homes, believes an informed client ultimately makes for a happy homeowner. That's why, in addition to providing finely crafted custom houses, KNL also offers customers plenty of helpful tips. "Get an apples for apples bid so you know exactly what you are paying for," advises Folden. Such mindful customer attention is standard fare for the company. Folden goes on to add that two of the most important things homeowners can do before building is to have a budget in mind and to know what they want.
KNL's close attention to customers also includes a close attention to detail. Their custom woodwork is a showcase of creative and luxurious designs featuring distinctive pillars, columns and cabinetry. An on-staff architect at KNL works with homeowners through the entire design process, and the company even has a cabinet shop that allows them to customize interiors to the owners' specifications. Here, customers are able to design and create their own kitchens and entertainment centers. "We take our clients into their homes when we are in the framing stage, they meet with our designer and actually design their own kitchen onsite as they stand in their house," says Folden.
Along with building great houses, Kemppel Homes is also building on a legacy, established by Kemppel vice president Karla Kay's grandfather. "He had a vision for building Old World homes," says Kay. When she took over operations from her father, Kay wanted the company to have that same clear vision. "My goal was to build 10 to 15 homes year," she explains. "I wanted to be able to hand-hold every customer, pay attention to detail and have a high profile of customer service." In short, Kay wanted to find a niche in the market — and she has. Today, a Kemppel house is characterized by the company's desire to be different. "My goal is that people will drive through a neighborhood and say, Oh, there's a Kemppel home!'" Kay says.
Staying true to her goal, Kay builds about 14 or 15 unique houses a year, ranging in price from $300,000 to $800,000. Most importantly, though, she's maintained the family's commitment to high-quality home construction. "People are still calling me about my grandfather's homes," says Kay. "Likewise, I want people to be proud of their Kemppel home."
"It's custom-built dreams," says Lesa Lillibridge, owner of Lillibridge Homes, of the one-of-a-kind houses her company constructs. "I literally let the customers choose every aspect of their home."
Lillibridge's willingness to meet homeowners' needs has earned her a wealth of diverse clients some already have a floor plan they'd like the company's skilled builders to create, while others are new to the process and need help making decisions, choosing a home style, etc. But, regardless of the client, Lillibridge offers a flexibility that sets them all at ease, and the result is a home that perfectly reflects the customer's desires. With Lillibridge, there are no identical, cookie-cutter' houses.
Among the 12 to 16 houses a year the company builds, an increasing number of customers are requesting French Country exteriors, which include carriage wood doors and stone and stucco products. Lillibridge also notes the popularity of first-floor master suites, media rooms and home automation. The company's reputation for skilled customization, friendly service and an ability to accommodate almost anything likely account for why Lillibridge has garnered so many clients from customer referrals.
"If the customer trusts the builder, then they don't feel like they are being taken advantage of," says Mike Marochino, co-owner of Marochino Construction, along with brother Ken. Thanks to a history of skilled craftsmanship and dependable service, the company has maintained a steady stream of satisfied customers since their father started the business 40 years ago. Mike and Ken further that reputation by being hands-on builders. They are on the building sites daily, closely watching each job as it progresses. "We work with the customer closely, from the designing to the finished product," says Mike.
That Marochino finished product is often identifiable by the large amount of trim found in the home. The company's Parade house features cherry handrails and steps, custom cabinets, granite countertops, electronic upgrades and video and audio security, as well as a 700-square-foot finished basement and custom patio. It's an elegant example of the care and customization that goes into each Marochino home. Meanwhile, the fact that Mike and Ken's father, now retired, still comes into the Portage Lakes office every working day, is a perfect example of the passion for building that has made Marochino Construction a favorite of homeowners.
Michael Green, owner of Michael-Devin Homes, is proud of the fact that he has never built the same house twice. The Southwestern, Mediterranean-style houses he often creates, which include ornate, stucco trim, detailed stonework and a unique exterior, don't lend themselves to duplication, so each Michael-Devin home is an original.
"Everything has a dimensional feel, as far as different elevations and different rooflines," says Michael, describing the special features that keep his homes of which he builds eight to ten a year in demand. On the inside, tray ceilings, crown molding, and oversized trim take center stage. "We use a great deal of arches and columns and natural-looking materials such as stone, tile and hardwood," says Michael, "along with large window units that add plenty of light to the inside." Additionally, cherry and maple cabinetry is used almost exclusively in the large gourmet kitchens of a Michael-Devin home.
Michael's commitment to both customer service and quality construction is obvious in his actions. He will accompany customers into the supplier showroom appliances, to the maintenance-free decking and two-story fireplaces, the owners of Frank Michaels Homes clearly place an emphasis on customization and fine detail. Frank and Art Michaels operate this second-generation company to serve the customers, so they take special care to accommodate client requests. "We can work off our plans, their plans, or we can totally custom design something," says Kim Michaels, sales, marketing and interior design specialist for the company.
The artistry of Frank Michaels Homes is on display in the company's Copley model, which includes a master suite with pocket doors that separate a sitting area from the actual sleeping area. The model represents a design trend that's gained increasing popularity, similar to the growing demand for finished basements with a full bar, theater room, exercise room and full bathroom, notes Michaels. Currently, the model is set up so homeowners can make all of their selections onsite, along with any necessary assistance from Michaels. "On our standard features, the homeowner can do the entire home, maybe upgrading the lighting if they fall in love with a particular feature," Michaels adds.
Ron Sykes, owner of RJS Homes, begins every home-building project by asking the customers plenty of questions. By doing so, he's able to develop a design that carefully matches their description. "Then we give it character," says Sykes. That often translates into arches, columns, rounded corners, maple or poplar trim, and bold paint selections. "Offering bold paint colors has been our most awesome decision yet," says Sykes. "-- We don't do anything that is the norm."
What is the norm at RJS Homes is developing an open line of communication with the customers. A customer service representative meets with clients, aiding them as they make selections for their home. Sykes has noticed that the most popular selections and designs include master suites as a retreat for Mom and Dad, which usually include an office or sitting area, large, walk-in closets and his and her vanities. The trend fits the expansive style of an RJS home, which often features an open floor plan, two-story foyer and large kitchen.
"Today, homeowners know they have more choices, and they are more educated about the process," says Sykes. Providing attentive service to help homeowners understand those choices, and finally oblige their decisions, is RJS Homes' number one priority.
The mark of a good builder is one who is not only aware of current trends, but is also able to accommodate them. Wendell Sommers, owner of WS Homes, fits the bill: The approximately 100 homes a year he creates reflect the features customers are clamoring for, including larger homes with open spaces, finished basements with a theater and/or bar area, and three-car garages. But although WS Homes offers higher-end homes such as those in the WS Homes Platinum Series with more standard features, additional selections and longer warranties Sommers focuses on providing a wide selection of lots.
"We own land in eight different developments," he says.
"Having a wide selection of lots is what we strive for; it's what sets us apart."
WS Homes' commitment to superior service is also clear in their new house selection center, which enables customers to choose everything they need for their home, from paint colors and flooring to countertops. A company specialist walks the homeowner through the selection process, assisting them the entire time.
Whether it's making the lot-selection process a little bit easier or helping choose the perfect features for a house, WS Homes is dedicated to making the homebuilding experience a stress-free and satisfying one for customers.
DWIGHT YODER BUILDERS
Dwight Yoder is not only a second-generation builder who learned the business firsthand from his father he's also a professional civil engineer. His expertise in both fields has served him well as president of Dwight Yoder Builders. "Many builders come in with very little knowledge about how a house actually goes together," he says. "Having seen it my entire life, I have gained knowledge from experience."
Ninety-nine percent of what Dwight Yoder Builders creates is also designed by the company designs that are often influenced by the architecture Yoder saw in his travels throughout this country and Europe. "We try to provide good design," says Yoder, "and a good home starts on the drawing board." Lately, all of those designs include customer requests for an outdoor patio area with features including built-in grills, barbecue pits and functional elements such as wash sinks.
Yoder believes his eagerness to incorporate these client requests, as well as his willingness to take on just about anything, is exactly what sets his company apart from the competition and ultimately results in a great house. "We build [people's] last home we build their dream home," he says.
12:00 AM EST
June 24, 2004