Idea Whose Time Has Come
written by Paul
Foresman | photos courtesy of Heritage
“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!’”
Storing and Organization
“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
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
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
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
swallow not only the clothes but games and other assorted little
treasures? And what about the walk-in closets in the owner’s suite?
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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.”
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.
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
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
delightful. Our customer satisfaction survey scores have soared!”