Red Trends in Home Design

The trend lately seems to be warmer colors in home interiors, but when a home is all browns and neutrals it can lack character and personality.

Lifestylist Design® just finished merchandising a show home for SE Homes of Texas that was shown in Tulsa, and by adding some red furniture and accessories it completely changed the way the home felt and looked. Red is a color that I’m seeing more of in different design elements, and it is a great way to make a home memorable and to stand out.

Even a great barn red color on an exterior can be stunning, and a red door will always get attention. At the recent International Builders Show ODL had a very cool new door design – ARRAY – that was done in red. It was one of the stars of the show and I’m hoping to buy one for the Home Idea Factory and have it painted in red as well.

What is a Lifestylist?

 

 

 

One of the questions I always get asked is exactly what is a Lifestylist®, and what is unique about the Lifestylist® Lifestyle. The second most asked question is what makes me a Trailer Diva!

The Lifestylist philosophy is about “Life Celebrating Style”. Our clients life and style is what dictates how a Lifestylist® works with you. My favorite example is I had a client in Phoenix, Arizona that was a major Phoenix Suns fan, and their team colors are orange and purple. The client wanted their entire home done in these colors. What they wanted is what they got, complete with a child’s room with a hardwood floor striped like a basketball court. They wanted to stylishly celebrate their interests and love of their home team and we did!

I just spoke to a friend who’s dog just dug up their entire garden and her daughter slammed the door on the neighbor’s hand – all in about 30 minutes time. Her needs and lifestyle are completely different from my son – no kids, no dogs, and lives in front of his computer. What my style is wouldn’t work well for either of them which is why I need to understand the client and what their “hot buttons” are. It’s takes extra time and sleuthing to achieve this – many times the client has trouble putting into words exactly what they are looking for but they know it when they see it. I take the responsibility very seriously – a person’s environment can truly change their lives in a positive or negative way. If someone is happy in their home their quality of life improves.

Next to being a mother, becoming a Lifestylist® is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’m looking forward to expanding the concept and what it offers in the years to come. – we will be launching a new food line this Spring!

Characteristics of a Modular Home

This was an interesting year at The International Builders Show – attendees seemed to be more intrigued with the factory built homes presented by Palm Harbor and Nationwide Homes than the ones the were built using traditional forms of construction.

Kevin Flaherty, VP of Marketing For Genesis and Champion Home Builders teamed up with Paul Emrath, VP for Survey and Housing Policy Research at NAHB to lead a press conference on Characteristics of Modular Homes. Kevin is also Vice Chairman for the Building Systems Council of NAHB and did a great job presenting why modular housing will continue to be a preferred way to build.

Flaherty stated that “builders are looking for new solutions in today’s challenging economic climate. When homeowners choose modular construction, as they often do, they experience measurable savings in cost and time.”

Emrath shared statistics on how the cost and time savings can be measured with the U.S. Census Bureau’s data on housing starts. “The Census Bureau publishes characteristics of new housing, but typically doesn’t show detail for modular homes. By tabulating the Census data ourselves, we can see the characteristics of today’s modular homes in some detail, and compare modular to site built construction.”

The data shows that average start to completion time for a modular home is 5 months currently compared to 6.9 months for a site-built (or as Flaherty called them open air constructed – love that!) home. When I asked Flaherty how long it takes for a modular home to be actually built on one of the Genesis and Champion manufacturing facilities, he said that it typically takes two weeks of plant time for the home to be constructed, but some of their facilities are capable of building 9 homes a day!

So what are the characteristics of a modular home? Expect to find a home that is:

*Green – factory built housing has a lot less waste and the facilities to extensive recycling.

*Well Constructed – modular homes tend to be a “tighter build” due to the benefits of building in a controlled environment.

*Cost Effective – modular construction can offer great cost savings when labor isn’t available in an area and when it’s a hard area to build in.

Mr. Flaherty also brought up the fact that more private equity companies are getting involved in modular housing because they see the potential. That to me is a great sign that this is a trend that will continue to grow.

 

Factory Built Housing Intrigues Builders at the International Builders Show

What a great, busy month this has been! This Lifestylist® has show houses to plan, new products to design and great conventions to attend… there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all of the great opportunities that are ahead of us!

Last week I attended the International Builders Show in Orlando and after attending this convention for over 20 years I think this year was one of my favorites.

I am so proud to be a part of the National Association of Home Builders and to be involved in the modular side of home building. This was the year when I saw home builders really taking notice of what benefits factory built construction could offer them, and not only did we do a great job of talking about it – we also showed them.

There are meetings that go on before the Builders Show starts that help put in place best practices to promote and grow the housing industry. Councils cover various specialty groups, and I was impressed to see that Kevin Flaherty, Vice President of Marketing for Champion Homes was not only attending these meetings, he is also acting as Vice Chairman for the Building Systems Council. “The New Champion” is really showing their strength and commitment to the factory built housing industry, and not only are they active with NAHB, they are also becoming more active with the Manufactured Housing Institute. Kevin was a presenter in the NAHB News Conference “Industry Study: Characteristics of Modular Homes” and had great facts and figures about why consumers should consider buying a modular home.

Palm Harbor Homes presented three beautiful factory built homes in the Professional Builder Show Village showing a “Net Zero Eco-Home” that was a 399 sq. ft. park model, a modular duplex, and a modular luxury home. Tony Lucas the designer for Palm Harbor always does an outstanding job, but what he did with the Net Zero home really got people’s attention. Tony added the architectural details on the exteriors that made you want to know and see more which is a lot of what you want a show home to do. It was interesting because another builder brought a home for the first time and it was in neutral colors and without much exterior interest, and many people (including myself) passed it by. I heard the home was beautiful inside, but only found that out after the show was over.

Builders were fascinated by the fact that the three homes were installed, furnished and decors added in 8 days. This was proof of one of the many benefits that factory built housing offers – time savings which results in cost savings. Will these homes result in sales for Palm Harbor? Ron Powell, President of Manufacturing for Palm Harbor Homes stated that “I haven’t seen the statistics, but our internal feeling is that attendance at Show Village was better than last year. There were more attendees with solid projects in the immediate future. In the last few years, there were a lot of attendees trying to flesh-out ideas. This year, they’ve got land and are ready to go.”

Besides having market driven homes at the show, I was also impressed to see Joe Stegmayer – the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cavco Industries, a director and officer of Fleetwood Homes, Inc.  and Palm Harbor Homes, Inc. ,and a director of Palm Harbor Villages, Inc working the show. How he has time to even attend something like this is amazing, and I said working not attending the show because every time I saw him he was helping a potential customer or answering questions. And in his “spare” time he is serving as the Chairman of the Board for The Manufactured Housing Institute. His hands on approach to the factory built housing industry is one of the reasons it will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

One of the highlights of this year’s show for me was getting to hear Ben Bernanke speak about the state of our economy and what’s ahead for housing. More on that later, but to see more images from this year’s International Builders Show, visit and “like” our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/lifestylelist. I took over 2,000 photographs and I’m anxious to share my favorites with you.

It Takes a Village

One of the things I love about my job as a Lifestylist is that I’m always learning. I get to travel from coast to coast and learn about what people are really looking for in their new homes and share which builders might be the perfect match for their wish list.

Today I sat in on a committee meeting at The International Builders Show for The Building Systems Council. Not sure what a Buildings System is? The description they use is “Innovative Construction Technologies” and after listening to what was discussed, I’m more convinced than ever that Modular, Concrete, SIPS, and the other forms of innovative construction are going to continue to have more awareness as the preferred way to build.

I’m always so impressed to see how much some companies and individuals are doing “behind the scenes” to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to own a home of their own. They don’t just build, sell, and walk away – they spend hundreds of hours donating their time supporting the communities they build in and  attend meetings like today to work together and make sure we all build the best homes possible.

Champion Homes has really stepped up lately and has been getting very involved in the different organizations that support modular housing. It was great to see them represented at the Building Systems Council meeting today and learn that Kevin Flaherty who is a Vice President with Champion has stepped up to be the interm chairperson of the Building Systems Councils’ Modular Homes Council.

Palm Harbor Homes – a division of Cavco Homes is also having a strong showing at IBS. They have three homes on display that prove that modular can be a preferred from of construction. In less than a week they were able to set and furnish homes that range from under 400 sq. ft to over 3,000 sq. ft. Doing that using traditional construction would be next to impossible.

If you aren’t attending the show and touring the show floor and Professional Builder Show Village to see these homes in person, you can take a look at the homes and the other cool products I find on Pinterest.

New Article in Nation’s Building News

 

Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber was honored this week to be featured in a story on education in the Nation’s Building News – a publication that goes out to the over 200,000 members of the National Association of Home Builders.

She has been active in the association for over 25 years, is a member of the Institute of Residential Marketing and is also a national instructor of the IRM III course: Lifestyle Merchandising, Advertising & Promotion Strategies. Felber has also been a a speaker at the MHI Congress and Expo for many years, and this year will be speaking on design trends in Land Lease Communities.

Attending classes and learning what’s new as well as teaching classes is a necessary part of how we offer our clients the best in merchandising, trend tracking and marketing. We will be attending the International Builders Show Feb. 8-12 to search out the latest trends in building and design. Join us on Twitter to get our reports directly from the show.

What’s Mine is Not Yours: Intellectual Property

Seth Godin is my guru. He is so no nonsense but funny at times, intellectual but down to earth, and what I really love about him is that he can get a point across faster than anyone else I know. His Purple Cow book started me on a new road to being more involved in marketing and social media so I’m forever grateful. When I worked on the Purple Cow House Campaign with Patriot Homes I made sure to get permission from Mr. Godin, and we credited him for the phrase (and gave out his Purple Cow Book).

 

Today I got a great post from him titled “Simple Thoughts About Fair Use“. So timely, and as always so well written. In this new blogging, social world I’m always stunned to see how many people are using other people’s photography, ads, brands, and stories without permission. This article is a must read for anyone who is even thinking about posting on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog and using someones text or images.

 

I’m fortunate enough to have access to a very talented photographer – Lisa Stewart of Lisa Stewart Photography. The images you see in my blogs, on my Lifestylist Design Facebook page and on my website have been shot specifically for my use. I do that so I’m not using other people’s work and having copyright infringements.

 

Lifestylist® is a term that I successfully trademarked in 2002 – my registration number is 2583235. I’m very proud of this because I thought I had a good idea and made the extra effort do “do the right thing” and spend the time, effort, and money to trademark it. You would be amazed at how much time I’ve had to spend since them protecting my mark because people haven’t bothered to do their homework and see that it’s trademarked before they use it in their own businesses.

 

Before you decide that you have discovered the next great phrase, or “borrow” a photo from someone else be sure to read Seth’s post. Wondering where to learn more about these topics? The US Patent and Trademark Office has a great site, and it is also where you can search trademark registrations and applications.

How Memorable are Your Homes?

As a Lifestylist®, the biggest compliment I can receive is when people come up to me and tell me they remember a home because of the lifestyle we displayed in the home. My job is to play up the special features included in the home by using artwork, furniture and accessories. I’m thrilled when the homes are remembered and talked about during a show, but what’s really gratifying is when someone tells about a home they loved so much they bought it.

That was the case at Rolling Hills Village in Battle Creek, Michigan. Bob Wolfe, president of Wolfe Commercial saw the “dog house” I did for Patriot Homes in 2008.  Even though at the time he wasn’t a Patriot customer at that time he knew he had to own that home, and a great partnership was born. Every time I would run into Mr. Wolfe at an event he would tell me how much he loved that home, and he would tell everyone around him what a great job I did as well.

Fast forward to 2012, and in 2 weeks I’ll be heading to Michigan to do a new model home and update the community center. I’d say that going the extra mile and LifeStyling a model with character not only helped Rolling Hills sell more homes, it also helped me earn a customer for life.

If you are in the market for model homes that are memorable and help sell homes, let’s talk. We can be reached at: answers@lifestylist.com

 

Trend Tracking With Pinterest

As a Lifestylist®, I spend a lot of time researching trends and learning what consumers want – then sharing that information with my clients. There are lots of places I do my research and new sites are popping up every day. I want to share with you one of my new favorites.

Have you discovered Pinterest yet? The site describes itself as “an online pinboard where you can organize and share things you love” but it is truly so much more than that. Words don’t do justice to this site – it’s definitely a visual experience.

Pinterest lets you do your own digital wish books where you can browse through thousands of images, recipes and inspirations that others have shared and “pin” them onto your own boards. You can also follow people who have a style that you like and share your favorite finds using Facebook or Twitter.

This is a great tool to see what consumers are liking and sharing. I have a huge appreciation for the laws governing intellectual property and don’t publish other people’s photos or articles on my sites without permission. Pinterest gives you the opportunity to share other people’s images without violating copyright rules, and it’s also a great way to share what you like and don’t like with others.

Our boards can be found at: pinterest.com/lifestylist take a look and let us know what you think. We’d love to see what your boards look like as well. Email us at: answers@lifestylist.com with your Pinterest name and we’ll take a look.

Social Media Lifestylist® Guidelines for 2012

Happy New Year from the Lifestylist® family! I’m really excited about 2012, and the opportunities that come with it.

A lot of being a Lifestylist® is about being a trend tracker and doing research. Today I read something that was written by someone else titled “Social Media Lifestylist Guidelines for 2012” – boy does that sound dull! The first thing that comes to mind is a big dusty manual full of rules and regulations, and that is exactly what social media (and being a Lifestylist®) is not about.

The tag line I have always used for my Lifestylist® brand is “It’s All About You”. I didn’t want the brand to be about me telling people what to do – I wanted to listen to people’s wants, needs, and dreams, and help them achieve those even when they didn’t know that’s what they were really searching for. I don’t want to dictate, I want to educate. I’ve learned that listening is so much more important than anything I will ever have to say, because sometimes if you let people express their thoughts they will find their answers.

Social media is such an exciting new frontier because it gives everyone the chance to tell their story to the universe. It’s become a great equalizer because almost anyone  on any budget can get access to a computer and a free site and share their thoughts.

There’s a down side to this though as well -there’s not as much editing as we’ve seen in the past. We have to learn that even though someone may have written it, there is the possibility it might not be true. Before we share or depend on information we find we have to be sure and check the facts. As the guardian of the Lifestylist® trademark for almost 10 years now I’ve seen how many people want to tie into my brand but aren’t willing to go through the legal process to acquire a brand of their own.

So what are the real Lifestylist’s guidelines for 2012? Never call them guidelines, live your life to the fullest, listen to those around you and you can never laugh too much or have too much great food and wine!

Here’s to a boisterous 2012!