Home >  HER Home Articles and Resources >  HER Home Magazine's 2012 Home of the Year
HER Home Magazine's 2012 Home of the Year!

An Idea Whose Time Has Come


written by Paul Foresman | photos courtesy of Heritage Homes


“Outstanding!” That’s how builder Tyrone Leslie of Heritage Homes in Fargo, North Dakota, described public reaction to the company’s woman-centric “Idea Home” which debuted in their local Parade of Homes. According to Leslie, “This ‘Georgetown’ was our most remarkable Parade Home in years, and it received a tremendous amount of attention.”


Leslie continued, “Part of what made the home so successful is that it incorporates so many thoughtful ideas that are attainable for the average buyer. We focused on livability throughout the home, and opened people’s eyes to truly affordable amenities they had never seen or even imagined. I knew we had a winner when I started hearing comments like ‘Oh, you guys have thought of everything!’”

The Idea Home’s open floorplan is wonderful for socializing.


Storing and Organization

“Wasted space” in most homes, drawers in the toe-kick area of base cabinets are perfect for horizontal items!"
“Wasted space” in most homes, drawers in the toe-kick area of base cabinets are perfect for horizontal items!"
Storing and Organization is front and center in Heritage Homes’ Georgetown model. Buyers looking for “a place for everything” won’t be disappointed in this home. To begin with, there’s a coat closet at the front entry and a generous walk-in closet in the rear foyer from the garage—ideal for bulk item storage (i.e., paper goods) and the vacuum cleaner, as well as coats. That rear foyer also presents a drop zone storage and recharging center just inside the door from the garage. Designed to liberate the kitchen from clutter, Heritage Homes embellished the drop zone idea by adding mail slots and in the base cabinet—a pull-out wastebasket accompanied by a paper shredder to dispose of unwanted junk mail!


The kitchen unveils a subtle, but overwhelmingly embraced storage amenity of its own—soft touch drawers in the toe-kick area under the base cabinets! Designed for pie plates, cutting boards, cookie sheets and similar horizontal items, these innovative drawers, which pop out with a gentle nudge from your toe, are a testimony to eliminating wasted space in the home.

Then there’s the upstairs storage—oh my! There’s two big linen closets and each of the three secondary bedrooms present their own walk-in closets. What would life be like with closets big enough to swallow not only the clothes but games and other assorted little treasures? And what about the walk-in closets in the owner’s suite? That’s right—closets. Plural. According to Leslie, “The closets were a big deal with visitors to our Parade home. We’ve never designed a home with too much closet space, but this one might come close!”


Wake up and smell the…A coffee bar is ideally located within the master suite, but thoughtfully positioned between the bedroom and bathroom.

above: Wake up and smell the…A coffee bar is ideally located within the master suite, but thoughtfully positioned between the bedroom and bathroom.

top right: The Baking Center—for the gourmet cook and grandkids’ creations!

bottom right: The open floor plan was well-received.

The Baking Center—for the gourmet cook and grandkids’ creations!
The open floor plan was well-received.


As a nation, stress is one of the most pervasive issues we face. Therefore, Heritage Homes focused on de-stressing aspects in their Idea Home. Like entering into a rear foyer transition space when coming into the home from the garage—not walking into a laundry room with piles of ‘aromatic’ laundry to be washed! Then it’s a few quick steps and you’re in the kitchen, keeping distances carrying heavy grocery sacks to a minimum.


Recognizing the fact that most laundry comes from, and is returned to the bedrooms, the Georgetown’s upstairs laundry room eliminates the hassles of lugging laundry baskets up and down stairs. Again, Heritage Homes took the concept to the next level by insulating the laundry room walls, creating a more serene environment for all! That same priority—peace and quiet—is the reason behind certain product selections in the Idea Home, such as the choice of a belt-drive garage door opener, considerably more quiet and vibration-free than typical chain-drive openers.


A window seat was added to bedroom 4, what could be more relaxing than curling up with a good book warmed by the sunlight? Well, it just might be waking up to the aroma of coffee brewing in the master suite coffee bar, situated just outside the owner’s bathroom! In that bathroom, a half-wall helps create “my space” at each of the sinks…there’s a large shower…and a private water closet complete with Heritage Homes’ “toilet buddy”—in-wall storage for extra toilet paper, hygiene products and magazines. Even the shared hall bathroom is a stress-reducing design, with two sinks separated from the toilet and tub area, decreasing scheduling conflicts and helping get everyone out the door on time.


Love to entertain? Then you’ll appreciate the free-flowing layout of the kitchen, dining and family rooms. The staggered height cabinetry and vertically-oriented tile backsplash create a stunning visual backdrop! At the heart of the socializing space is the island with its angled eating bar and sink conveniently located for all. And the pies de resistance—a baking center was added at one end for memorable afternoons with the kids or grandkids.


The angled island plays visually with the corner fireplace opposite it. Situating the fireplace in the corner allows for a wall of windows out the back of the family room, creating dreamy, uninterrupted views from the front entry. Because people are naturally drawn to daylight and sunny spaces, the 14-foot eating area showcases windows flanking the glass patio doors. Homeowners would also appreciate the secluded location of the powder bath—in that it does not share a wall with entertaining areas providing desirable privacy.


Flexible Areas

Flexible areas in the home received rave reviews from Parade-goers, too. One of the most popular was the optional pet center in the rear foyer, complete with doggie shower which was raised to avoid having to constantly bend over while washing the dog! Alongside the pet shower is built-in cabinetry including a roll-out pet food storage bin and even a discrete pop-out drawer in the toe-kick that offers the food and water dish when needed and otherwise makes them go away. Gardeners and other hobbyists touring the home talked about the desirability of the pet shower for their favorite pursuits, too.


To the front of the Gerogetown, a flex space presents multiple uses such as a den, music room or even a quaint parlor. Walls as well as twin doors leading into the space can be added or deleted to suit the homebuyers’ desire for openness or privacy.


Another flex favorite was the travel center in the home’s larger master suite closet, an amenity inspired by a desire for a convenient place to store the suitcase when not being used and then pack the suitcase without having to load it on the bed! Leslie commented, “The travel center really hit home with Parade visitors! It eliminates the annoyance of constantly running into the luggage when getting ready for your trip, which is also a great stress reliever.”



Pets are part of your family, too, and the Idea Home’s Pet Center in the rear foyer was one of the most popular ideas of all!

Technology was another hot button with people touring the Idea Home. Right now, do you have an AC adaptor for recharging your cell phone or tablet plugged in, but it’s not in use? At the drop zone,

Heritage Homes provided a recharging center with combination AC and USB wall outlets. The USB charging ports eliminate the need for bulky AC adaptors and each USB port can charge up to four devices simultaneously. Even better, when not in use, leaving a charging cord plugged into a USB port does not consume any electricity. AC adaptors left plugged in drain a small amount of electricity (up to about $20 per year) when not in use.


Then there’s Heritage’s home automation package, combining video cameras, security plus heating and cooling all from a smart phone or tablet. Cameras in a nursery or at the front door provide peace of mind. Remote control of lighting and security systems can suggest people are in the home and help take the worry out of traveling. Then there’s industry estimates suggesting as many as 90% of programmable thermostats are not being used or are not programmed correctly. So adjusting your home thermostat while you’re at work can pay big dividends in terms of utility bills.


Over and over in touring the Idea Home it was “What a great idea!” At $349,000, the 2,612 square foot (finished space) Georgetown was not the biggest home in the Parade, nor was it anywhere near the most expensive Parade home. Yet this was the home everyone was talking about, including comments such as “Why don’t all builders build homes like this?” According to Leslie, the answer’s rather simple. “We embraced a woman-centric approach in our home building company and teamed up with Design Basics. For the last several years we’ve been keenly involved in listening to what our buyers want. The feedback we’ve received, mostly from women, inspired us to design our homes differently and gave us a new appreciation for products included in our homes as well as options we suggest. We’ve also revamped how we work with our clients to take the entire process from stressful to delightful. Our customer satisfaction survey scores have soared!”



43013: Heritage Homes Georgetown is based on Design Basics “Moss Bluff” plan, tailored to their specific market preferences.

Related Links


More HER Home Magzine articles


HER Home Magazine



Updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 8:20 AM

"Design Basics values our intellectual property and that of its many collaborative partnerships. We, therefore, protect our 1,900+ plan design copyrights from illegal infringements. This preserves and maximizes customers’ investments, while also protecting our assets, our team members’ employment position, and our shareholders." 
We are a memeber of the American Institute of Building Design