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Add that extra bit of sophistication and depth to a homeUpdated Feb 5, 2016 11:36 AM If you care about your home, how it looks and what you put in it, there’s a high likelihood you’re familiar with Maxwell Ryan. Ryan is the founder of the wildly popular home design and décor site ApartmentTherapy.com and four books...
Arborvitaes are workhorses in the landscape Posted Feb 7, 2016 7:19 AM
Some plants just aren’t given their due. They are not demanding prima donnas, but rather workhorses growing without ultimatums. Arborvitaes fall (or grow) in this group.
Your home’s interiors should be a reflection of your taste Posted Feb 7, 2016 1:01 AM
Everyone has a basic knowledge or pre-conceived idea of what they like or can live with. Being extremely sincere with your designer should make the design process run more smoothly. A good designer should be able to channel your design criteria into a...
When custom makes sense for your home Posted Feb 7, 2016 1:01 AM
Certain home improvement projects will be transformative. I was staring at the sliding door in my bedroom this morning, remembering how we talked about replacing all the windows, but instead I chose to raise the bedroom ceiling and buy a taller sliding...
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Celebrity Real Estate: Maya Angelou and Tyler Posey Posted Feb 5, 2016
Celebrity Real Estate: Louis C.K., Bradley Cooper, Frankie Muniz Posted Jan 29, 2016
Celebrity Real Estate: Tina Fey, Carole King, Bobbi Kristina Posted Jan 22, 2016
Mortgage Rates Drop After New Year Celebrations Posted Jan 6, 2016
Celebrity Real Estate: Kardashians, Terry Bradshaw, Liev Schreiber Posted Dec 18, 2015
Celebrity Real Estate: Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, Brangelina Posted Dec 11, 2015
Celebrity Real Estate: Selena Gomez and Adam Carolla Posted Dec 4, 2015
Market Rates Unlikely to Move Due to Europe, Inflation Posted Nov 20, 2015
Celebrity Real Estate: Neil Young, Diane Keaton, Tim Allen Posted Nov 13, 2015
Celebrity Real Estate: Bruce Springsteen, Jonah Hill, Roger Ebert Posted Nov 6, 2015
Taylor Morrison hits its stride quickly after acquisitionTaylor Morrison, a New York Stock Exchange-traded homebuilder based in Scottsdale, Arizona, entered the Chicago market last July by purchasing Orleans Homes’ holdings here. The transition has gone smoothly, says Bob Meyn, formerly the Midwest director of sales and marketing for Orleans, who now serves as vice president for the Chicago division of Taylor Morrison.
A new kitchen boosts home’s sales appealHomeowners are choosing to remodel their kitchens again after a retrenching and slow down that lasted about eight years. Barbara Quatroke, owner of Q’s Cabinet Shoppe in Naperville, said customers are once again streaming in the door and looking for ideas about how to update their kitchens.
Wisconsin foray successful for local builderThree-quarters of the homes that Gerstad Builders of McHenry sells are ranches — many different styles of ranch — and they are selling the popular home plans to people of all ages, said Tom Roach, sales manager.The well-respected and long-tenured home building company is known for “building the best home for the money that we can, including high-quality products in every home and offering lots of customization options,” Roach said.Gerstad Builders has been building an average of 15 homes per year over the past decade or so, but it hopes to increase that number to between 20 and 25 homes in 2016, he said.It now has four single-family home communities underway. There is Liberty Trails in McHenry, Pheasant Ridge in Richmond, Dawson Creek in Poplar Grove and Bailey Estates in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Bailey Estates is Gerstad’s first foray into Wisconsin and Roach said sales there are going well.“Bailey Estates is attracting full-time residents, many of whom are leaving Illinois to avoid high property taxes. Wisconsin’s property taxes are half what the taxes are in Illinois and since so many people are working from home now, they don’t have to worry about a long commute,” he explained. Prices at Bailey Estates range from $239,990 to $320,990.Pheasant Ridge, where homes range in price from $176,990 to $269,990, is attracting a nice mix of ages. Dawson Creek is primarily attracting young families. The prices there range from $173,990 to $267,990. Liberty Trails in McHenry is most popular with empty-nesters and retirees and they are flocking there to build ranches in the $216,990 to $326,990 price range.All lots in its Illinois subdivisions range between a one-quarter to one-third of an acre while the lots at Bailey Estates in Wisconsin are larger — a half acre-plus. The homes themselves range from 1,400 to 3,100 square feet. Bailey Estates, however, has square footage minimums so the ranches must be at least 1,800 square feet and the two-story homes must be no smaller than 2,200 square feet.What is your background in the housing industry?“I started selling new homes for Residential Development Group (RDG) in 1974. Roger Gerstad (now owner and president of Gerstad Builders) was the president of that company and I worked there for about 20 years. Roger left and started Gerstad Builders in 1985, but I stayed with RDG until 1994, when I went to work for Kennedy Homes. I sold for Kennedy until 2007 when the market fell apart and then I went back to working for Roger at Gerstad and have been with him ever since.”What are the biggest changes you have seen in the building business over the years?“The energy efficiency of the homes we are building today is amazing. We include 96 percent-efficient furnaces, upgraded water heaters, insulated basements; low-E, double-paned windows; R-20 insulation in the exterior walls and R-38 insulation in the ceilings. We also caulk in all of our electrical plates so there is no air leakage. We do great on every blower test.”Besides energy efficiency, the biggest changes Roach has experienced during his many years in the homebuilding business are the vast selection of fixtures and other amenities buyers now have available to them.“Builders used to put things in with the philosophy that the owners could change them later. That is no longer the case. Buyers have a tremendous number of selections and options for what they can do with their new home.”What is the best part of being involved in the building business?“I love the look on buyers’ faces when they actually move into their new home. It is an unbelievable experience for people.”Where do you see Gerstad Builders in the next five years?