10 Big Ideas for Builders to Consider in 2013

With the future for the housing market looking bright as we begin a new year, builders must continue to think about the next homebuyer. It may be daunting to take time to step back and think of innovative ways to reach buyers, but here are 10 big ideas to consider in 2013 as you begin to think about your business outlook for the next 12 months.

Big Ideas to Consider in 2013


1. A smart start means a lower cost completion.

Subcontractor mistakes and missed deadlines cost you money and homebuyer satisfaction. Find partners with their own platform for delivering high quality, on-time and complete jobs. Ask about worker training, processes, supply chain and quality standards.

2. Seeing is selling.

It’s not easy for homebuyers to visualize an upgrade – you need to display it in your model home. Take the time to install that CushionClose Hinge and add organizational features inside cabinets to showcase what you offer buyers in a new home.

3. Green is now a mainstream selling feature.

Costs for adding sustainable living features to a home have come down, and the payback is attractive. Today’s homebuyers want to do the right thing, and you should too by going green in your building and in the features you offer, like solar panels and Energy Star appliances.

4. Go with the (open) flow.

Open spaces with fewer hallways maximize usable living space. Not only does it feel bigger – it is.

5. Keep appliances out of view.

With the trend for uniting family and kitchen spaces, long clean lines of wood cabinetry extend the living environment.

6. Build for a family affair.

There’s no denying multi-generational living is on the rise with one third of adult Americans living with another adult generation. Create space for each generation living in the home— a second master bedroom and bath, maybe with a mini kitchen, provides private space.

7. Create a drop zone.

The mud room goes upscale as the stop for keys, briefcases, backpacks, and shoes. Favorite features? Built-in storage (cabinets or cubby holes), benches, a charging station for cell phones.

8. Technology lives here.

Big screen TVs, music systems, video games, computer centers, home
office, home control devices – reinvent the media room. Built-in cabinets keep them close at
hand and out of sight.

9. Get back to nature.

Homebuyers want natural elements like fireplaces that put heart in a home. Don’t waste any opportunity to capitalize on a view or a feature to make a home really stand apart from others.

10. Made in the USA means more than ever.

Renewed interest in our own economy is just the start. Consumers appreciate the craftsmanship and sense of security about safe, quality materials. For a builder, American-made means a shorter, surer supply chain.

Are you considering any of these? What are your big ideas for 2013? Share them and/or your successes from 2012 in the comments below.

Reinvent the Media Room with Cabinetry

In the 1980’s the home had a den for listening to the radio and TV watching.  Now the humble den has been reinvented into a media room – 24/7 digital domains for TV, movies, video games – and let’s not forget computers for streaming video and social media.  Families may spend more time there than anywhere else in a home – so it’s time for a makeover. We’ve talked about how cabinetry is taking center stage before, but in a media room, getting creative with your cabinetry can make all the difference in the design of a room.

Décor doesn’t have to be Geek Chic. Face it, electronics don’t add to atmosphere.  With cabinetry, you can show homebuyers a media room that reflects their taste throughout the rest of the house by bringing the same styles and door finishes into the media room.

Create a centerpiece, conceal the clutter.  We love the entertainment from our high-tech gear, but who wants to look at the black boxes and tons of wires?  Focus on the show with a wall of cabinetry that frames the screen (and the moment!) with warm wood that hides the technology behind sleek doors.  It simplifies wiring, too.  No need to run them behind walls, simply store them in the cabinets – this also makes it easy for homeowners to update their equipment as new technology changes.

Now you see it, now you don’t.  Conceal the TV screen in credenza with a system that raises or lowers the unit using wireless remote technologies.  It’s a beautiful alternative to cabinet doors when homeowners want to shift the focus from the screen.

Get organized.  Roll-out shelves in cabinets keep DVDs, CDs and other gear easy to browse.

Build in a desk for computer play.  Research shows people age 34 and under have already shifted their viewing significantly from TV to computer-based entertainment. A built-in desk can also serve double duty, offering parents a place to do a little work while the kids are occupied.

Anybodhungry? A snack bar with a fridge for drinks, and a microwave for hot food are a great bonus to any media room. What about a good-looking bar for game-day parties?  Your cabinetry mini-kitchen can include everything you need – including the kitchen sink.

That’s the big picture on our media room cabinetry ideas. What have you done to reinvent your media room?  Send us your plans and photos.  We’d love to share them here.


Fall Decor for your Home

When it comes to figuring out how to bring fall to your home some folks aren’t sure where to start. Let’s face it, we all have holiday decorating down to a science, but how do you make your home feel like autumn? Here are a few ways to bring fall decor for your home –

Bring fall to your home


1. Decorate with foliage

Just because it’s on the ground in your yard doesn’t mean it’s not useable. Try incorporating things like dried leaves and pine cones into your décor for the season. Add them to a wreath for your front door or on a bookshelf for a pop of color.

2. Inhale the smells

You know how everyone says there’s a smell of Christmas in the air during December? Bring a little fall into the air with pumpkin scented candles – your family will thank you.

3. Taste the spice

The other 10 months of the year pumpkin spice can’t be found in the grocery stores, but this time of year it seems to be everywhere – in our lattes, cookies, pancakes and muffins! Don’t miss out on this yummy spice, bake some treats of your own and thrown in a dash of pumpkin spice to add a zest of fall flavor to them.

4. Don’t forget pumpkins

They’re inexpensive, can be found most anywhere, and you don’t have to carve a scary face on all of them. The beauty of pumpkins is that they can be stacked, painted, glazed, sprinkled with glitter or topped off with a bow. Add pumpkins, big and small, to a forgotten corner of your home to bring a pop of color to the space.

5. Natural fibers add texture

Autumn evokes a rustic sensibility in us, so play that up in your home by switching the pillows to a burlap fabric or change a heavy wool rug to sisal or jute fiber. These natural textures add warmth and dimension to a room.

6. Everyone needs a cozy new throw

During the summer it seems quite silly to snuggle up with a heavy blanket, but now on those nights when there’s a chill in the air there’s nothing more comforting. Make your sofa more inviting by adding a cozy new throw to the arm for guests to use when they’re watching the latest Halloween thriller.

7. A little spook never hurt anyone

Sometimes Halloween decorations can be too loud in a home; add subtle touches of fright by bringing in new mugs with a peak of a spider inside or Halloween themed hand towels in your kitchen. A little spook can be a good thing!

Ideas for Multi-Generational Living

“Although buyers want to be close to loved ones and share their lives, they also value their independence.” That’s the yin-and-yang of multi-generational living, explains Peter Osterman, vice president of operations for Centerline Homes. In partnership with Builder Magazine, Centerline built a series of multigenerational Concept Homes for the 2012 International Builder Show.

The market is significant – and growing.  51.3 million Americans are now living in multigenerational homes.  That’s an increase of more than 10% between 2007 and 2009, the most recent data available through AARP.

For some the move is financial, triggered by the economic downturn.  For others, it’s a health situation, caring for an aging parent.  And another group is simply seeking a return to more traditional closeness.  For all, it means thinking differently about the design of a new home for living happily.

Ideas for Happy Multi-Generational Living

  1. A mini-kitchen in the guest suite.

    A small fridge, a microwave, a bit of storage and a sink for clean- ups give Nana and Grandpa the freedom of “me time” in their own space.  The morning cup of coffee, a quick hot lunch, a midnight snack – it’s so convenient.

  2. A private entrance.

    In the Builder Magazine Concept Homes 2012, architect Tony Weremeichik’s. Gen X home features a guest suite that has its own entrance as well as a doorway to the rest of the house.   In warmer climates, the guest suite may only share a courtyard.  In either case, family members are connected, but preserve independence.

  3. A ground floor bedroom.

    With seniors aging in place, a living option without stairs is a smart design decision.  And according to AARP, there are 2.2 million householders with a live-in parent.

  4. A second laundry.

    Too many loads creates a harried Laundromat feel. Each generation can handle the wash-up in their own way, and on their own schedule.

  5. Outdoors for everyone.

    A backyard the whole family can share is great, but remember to include secluded outdoor spaces, too.  A balcony off the master bedroom or private deck off the in-law suite provides welcome breathing space.

Visit the online gallery of this year’s Builder Magazine Concept Homes 2012 and check out the other multigenerational living ideas and products.

Custom Design without Custom Costs

Top-selling homebuilders know how to build in value without building in higher costs for homebuyers – it’s all about custom design without custom costs.  Ingenuity and creativity make show-stopping features affordable. Here are a few examples that we are think will knock your socks off:

A two-sided story

Cabinetry forms a rich hardwood rail for the open loft when seen from the stairway.  From the gathering space, it offers storage, display space and also acts as a media center.



A Guest Suite

Create a handsome room divider between the sleeping and sitting areas.  At the same time, provide plenty of room for visitors’ clothing, linens and other gear with a compact and sleek footprint.



Get smart and organized

So many people work from home now that a well-designed office space is a major selling plus.  Smart design creates more work surfaces, useful storage and atmosphere that mixes business and pleasure.



Float away

There’s no denying that keeping the floors clear of clutter in a home opens up space. Floating nightstands built from cabinetry are a clean, contemporary look in any bedroom.



Double bed

You can also build cabinetry into a headboard for bed-and-storage that creates a beautiful view from every angle.



Keep it Hidden

Use cabinetry doors to hide the refrigerator.  See the standard plate rack to the left of the stove?  The corbel details on the bar add sophistication.  And in the drawers?  Organizers make all the difference.



Affordable luxuries can set your homes apart.  See more ideas in our Timberlake Portfolio magazine.

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5 Drop Zone Ideas for the New Mud Room

You remember the Mud Room, right? That notch in the back hall with a line-up of grubby shoes on a rubber mat. A few brass coat hooks, and shelf for hats or an umbrella.

Well, the Mud Room has a new face, new functionality and a new name: The Drop Zone. [Read more…]

100 Years of Julia

Last month, on August 15th, was Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and among the wonderful stories of Julia’s cooking, her books, the parodies of her TV show and Julia’s exciting life, what we kept thinking of was just how organized she kept her kitchen. Julia knew a thing or two about keeping a kitchen neat, and having a place for everything.

Julia Child photographed in her Cambridge, Massachusetts, kitchen, June 29, 1970. By Arnold Newman/Getty Images.

Here’s a few things we can all learn from Julia when we organize our own kitchens and cabinets –

Keep the items you use most often close at hand, Julia stored oil and vinegar right next to the stove. However, her china was stored elsewhere – no need to keep the things you rarely use in the space you always use.

Timberlake Wood Tiered Cutlery Divider with sliding top section

Group like with like. Don’t keep all your cooking tools in one drawer or container, break them into separate containers: one for forks, one for wooden spoons, etc.

Label things! Julia’s kitchen labels were both practical and comical. She marked jars of utensils with phrases like “spoonery” and “mostly wood.”

Think vertical. Julia and Paul built vertical storage to store baking sheets and other trays.

Timberlake Base Tray Divider Pull Out Cabinet

Not everyone is perfect. Even Julia had a “junk” drawer in her kitchen, which contained, among other things, WWII memorabilia and a champagne stopper in its original box.

And of course, the famous peg-board. Julia’s husband Paul came up with this idea to store her pots and pans, and outlined each pot in black marker on the pegboard, making it simple for anyone using the kitchen to put things away properly. Talk about a Lean kitchen.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Share with us what storage or organization things you find most useful your home.

If you’re in the Washington, DC area do not miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Julia’s kitchen at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.