Sweet spot: Builders offer flexible spaces for private retreats

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: April 25, 2017

With the popularity of open concept floor plans that provide large gathering areas for family and friends, both homebuyers and builders realize that it is more important than ever for homes to have flexible private spaces too.

Studies, home offices, toddlers’ play rooms, flat-screen TV viewing rooms, finished basements and other “sweet spots” can afford refreshing getaways from family togetherness when it is time for homework, office work or other quiet pursuits. These flexible spaces also offer the advantage of being adaptable to the evolving needs of family life.

Private flexible spaces are not only prized by busy families but by active adults as well. The Freedom Homes offered at Carillon at Cambridge Lakes in Pingree Grove and Wentworth in Gurnee offer one-level living with two bedrooms and a den as well as optional second floors that can be finished in a variety of ways from conditioned storage to another bedroom and bath plus a game room or loft.

“Whether it is comfortable, light-filled space for guests, children and grandchildren or just more room for hobbies, our 55-and-more buyers appreciate having space that they can use for their particular lifestyle needs,” Naatz says,

William Ryan Homes also offers flexible spaces in its many home designs, including flex rooms in both ranch and two-story plans, lofts, morning rooms and finished basements.

“Bartlett Ridge, our new community of single-family homes, includes luxury ranch and two-story homes that include flex rooms on the main levels, and many plans also have second-floor lofts,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes. “Other possibilities include the option of modifying the rear bay of a three-car tandem garage into a study, or finishing the basement which can include a large space for recreation as well as a bedroom and a full finished bath. Finished basements are very popular with parents of children of all ages as well as those who enjoy entertaining larger groups of people.

“Another flex space is the William Ryan Homes signature morning room which adjoins the main gathering area and offers another opportunity to expand dining or activity space,” Coleman says. “Buyers have never had so much opportunity to custom-tailor the spaces within their homes to make them versatile and comfortable for many years to come.”

For more information, visit

There’s more than meets the eye’ when buyers prioritize buying green construction

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: April 6, 2017

With the increased emphasis on preserving the environment and concern for the cost of operating the systems in a home, both homebuilders and buyers are placing a high priority on green construction.

Green construction may include building materials and energy-efficient components, and rating systems have been established to assist consumers in evaluating the energy efficiency of homes.

“We are totally committed to focusing on green building, and we express that by our attention to detail and by implementing quality products like the Panasonic Whisper Green exhaust fan,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes. “It has been a tradition with our 25-year old company to be a leader in using green building materials and striving to constantly improve the energy-efficiency of our homes.”

The company includes a “WOW House Exhibit” on its website that shows the green features of a William Ryan Homes home in an easy-to-see, consumer-friendly fashion.

“We believe that many of the features shown on the exhibit set us apart from typical industry standards, and enable us to offer a very comfortable, efficient and environmentally-friendly home,” Coleman says.

A sampling of the features on the exhibit include a 93 percent efficient furnace with programmable thermostat, sealed supply and multiple returns; 2-foot-by-6-foot exterior wall construction for an R-21 insulation value with weather barrier wrap that reduces energy use and air and moisture infiltration that increases energy efficiency and improves air quality; and Energy Heel Roof trusses with R-49 ceiling insulation for better attic insulation and reduction of the loss of conditioned air. William Ryan Homes have an impressive HERS Index rating of 63.

Homebuyers sensitive to green construction will soon become aware of the HERS rating system. The HERS index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). The HERS rating is established by the services’ contractors who test the components that affect the efficiency of a home. The lower the HERS Index rating, the more efficient the home is.

“One of the reasons why energy-conscious consumers should consider purchasing new construction is that today’s homes are approximately 40 percent more efficient than those built just 10 years ago,” says Anna Harmon, director of Marketing and Public Relations. “An energy-efficient new home is not only less costly to operate but it is also a more comfortable place to live.”

Building Science Principles (BSP) are foundational for those in the industry who build and certify homes, and they demonstrate how the various components of the home interact to affect the home’s overall performance. Relationships between the building envelope, heating, air conditioning, insulation, mechanicals, ventilation, lighting, appliances and other systems.

“New innovations in green building are constantly evolving, as homebuyers seek the greater comfort and affordability tighter, smarter homes provide,” Esperson says.

Pre-construction sales underway at Bartlett Ridge

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: April 6, 2017

Pre-construction sales are now underway at Bartlett Ridge, the new William Ryan Homes community in one of Chicagoland’s most popular suburbs.

Outstanding limited-time incentives are offered to the first few buyers in this highly anticipated neighborhood. In addition, buyers can take 30 percent off up to $100,000 in options, as part of the company’s 25th anniversary incentive.

Located across the street from Villa Olivia Recreation Center, Bartlett Ridge will include 45 single-family homes in a scenic setting. The neighborhood will feature an exciting variety of new home designs that have recently been introduced by William Ryan Homes. Base prices range from $334,990 to $399,990 for homes with full basements and two- or three-car garages.

“Bartlett Ridge has an inviting atmosphere, yet it is convenient to Route 20 (Lake Street), and offers quick access to a variety of stores and services,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president. “Bartlett’s Cook County location means it has a lower tax than some other areas of the village, and our exciting new home designs include a floor plan to appeal to virtually every buyer.”

In addition to its proximity to the Villa Olivia Recreation Center, Bartlett Ridge offers access to walking trails as well as a Bartlett Park District playground. The environment is inviting, yet the location is convenient.

“Buyers will appreciate the ability to personalize their preferred home designs with a larger than usual choice of optional features, and with the launch of our new plans, we have expanded the exterior choices to several different styles for each home, ensuring an attractive streetscape. In addition, William Ryan Homes has traditionally been committed to building with superior products, and our new home designs include 2-foot-by-6-foot structural engineering on exterior walls for exceptionally sturdy, energy-efficient homes,” he says.

Ten home designs are offered at Bartlett Ridge, including two ranch plans, an innovative Cape Cod, a two-story home with a first-floor master bedroom and a variety of other two-story plans.

The ranches vary from 1,616 to 2,244 square feet, with three bedrooms or two bedrooms and a study, 2 or 2.5 baths and two-car attached garages. They are priced from $344,990 and $369,990.

The Cape Cod and other two-story plans range from 1,870 to 3,137 square feet with three or four bedrooms and lofts in some plans, 2.5 or 3 baths, and two- or three-car garages. Base prices range from $334,990 to $399,990, and the Cape Cod, a ranch plan with an optional second floor and 2,424 square feet of space, is priced from $374,990.

The Sulton, a brand new plan, is a 2,786-square-foot home with four bedrooms and a loft, 2.5 baths, basement and three-car tandem garage, priced from $379,990.

The main level features an open concept great room, big dining room, kitchen with pantry and island/breakfast bar as well as eat-in space. A living room or flex room is situated to the front of the home and the staircase is centrally located for convenience. Buyers will appreciate the practical mud room.

“The Sulton offers a large family gathering area plus flexible space in the front of the home as well as in the upstairs loft,” Coleman says. “These spaces can be used as home offices, theater rooms, music rooms or children’s play areas, and they can be adapted to the evolving needs of a family. In addition, the mud rooms provided by William Ryan Homes in all floor plans are very popular because they meet the practical needs of families with active children and pets.”

The homes include optional features that are trending with today’s buyers, such as chef’s kitchens, farmhouse sinks, sliding barn doors in master baths and freestanding tubs in some plans.

The Bartlett Ridge sales center is located at 1255 Lake Street (Route 20), west of Route 59. Hours are daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Wednesday, when hours are 2 to 5 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 847- 305-3927 or visit

Renwick Place – Happy Home Owners

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: April 4, 2017


Top-Rated Plainfield School District #202

Beautiful Ranch and Two-Story Single Family Home Plans

Floorplans starting at 2,000 square feet to over 3,000 square feet designed with flexibility and livability that makes your home the perfect gathering place for family and friends.

Easy access to I-55

Wonderful new home value in the southwest suburbs

Energy efficient homes built to save you money and the environment

1,2, and 10-year warranties included

Bartlett Ridge – Be one of the first homeowners in our friendly community

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: April 4, 2017


People move to Bartlett to experience small town charm while having convenient access to downtown Chicago at the same low Cook County tax rate.  William Ryan Homes offers quality 2 x 6 structural engineering on all our homes and “We make it Easy” to personalize your floor plan and design selections without the price tag of a custom builder.  Moving to Bartlett Ridge allows you to have the opportunity to be among the first homeowners in our friendly community and to invest in the value of your next home at pre-construction pricing.

8 Storage Tips to Help You Clean Better, Clean Faster

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix, New Homes Tampa | Posted: March 25, 2017

Organizing ideas to keep all your cleaning supplies handy.Though there may be a dozen other items on your to-do list, you can’t hide from the one you wrote in red at the top of the page in all caps and circled twice: “Clean the house.” It’s a drag, and the task always takes twice as long as you expect it to.

But it doesn’t have to be a drag. Not if you’re organized, that is.

When everything is accessible and ready to go, you’ll be motivated to get started — and you’ll finish faster, says Jan Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning.”

Try these ideas for a bit of motivation to grab your cleaning gloves:

#1 A $3 Tension Bar for Spray Bottles
The rooms that require the most cleaning accoutrements are the bathroom and kitchen. Fortunately, they both typically contain the gold standard for supply storage: the cupboard under the sink.

But this blank box can be a lot more efficient. Add a cheap and easy-to-install tension bar to hold your spray bottles where you can easily see and grab them.

Alternatively to a tension rod, Dougherty suggests installing a sliding rack at the bottom of the sink cabinet so you can easily pull out what’s under there without breaking your back to get it.

#2 Use S-Hooks to Convert Any Closet to a Broom Closet
Have just one broom closet, but three stories and nine rooms to clean? Or no broom closet at all? Turn any closet into an efficient space for cleaning supplies by using inexpensive S-hooks to hang mops and brooms right where you need them. And, wow, look at all that floor space for storing your buckets and other supplies!

#3 Use a Cart to Move With You
No closets? No problem. Do what hotel maids do — use a cart to haul your cleaning supplies around. The one pictured comes from IKEA (about $30), and does the job without taking up a ton of space.

#4 Build (or Buy) Shelves to Fit That Odd Corner
Your home is a special snowflake. Whether it’s small and open or huge and labyrinthine, locating your home’s unique opportunities for shelf space can be a great way to make cleaning supply storage more convenient. It could be that open area in the corner by the stairway, or that dead space at the end of the hall.

After all, you don’t want to run around looking for things.

Inexpensive shelving can be tucked anywhere, and you can configure units to fit your supplies. If you’d rather not look at your storage, you can always use a decorative curtain or screen to keep it out of view.

Can’t find room in the main house? Garage space — especially close to the door of an attached garage — can be an efficient spot for a set of shelves to live.

#5 Hang a Hook for Gloves
Below the sink is the natural spot for gloves, but finding them crumpled up and stuck to the side of a grimy spray bottle makes for a gross cleaning delay. Hanging them up makes rubber gloves easy to find, and keeps them clean and dry. Add some grommets to your gloves, or use a chip clip with a looped top for the same effect.

#6 Pull Out a Closet
This is the Cadillac of cleaning storage solutions — making a closet-sized pull-out rack. If you’ve got a foot or two of blank space between the right walls, you can have a pull-out closet custom fit for all your supplies. From the outside it looks like one of your cabinets. Inside, everything is visible and easily accessible.

#7 Hold It All in a Shoe Caddy
It’s cheap. It’s easy — and all those pockets! The beauty of using a behind-the-door shoe caddy is you can hang it in or on any closet or door depending on where you want your supplies. Clear plastic sections make products easy to see for grab-and-go cleaning. Drips and spills wipe right off. And to keep the cleaning product clutter out of sight, simply close the door.

#8 Pegboard the Lot
Pegboards are the Swiss Army knife of the organization world; they can do everything. You can hang small shelves, baskets and, of course, hooks of every shape and size on this baby — just need wall space. Pegboards keep cleaning products up off the floor and make them easy to locate.

The secret, says Dougherty, is the discipline to put everything back the same way every time.


Take a tour – Enjoy some wine!

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: March 23, 2017

Wine and Design – Take a tour of our design center and enjoy some wine.

Wednesday April 5th 5:30 to 7:30 PM. 945 N Suite G, Plum Grove Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173

Go Here to Make a Reservation.

Builder starts work on two new communities

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: March 16, 2017

Upon completion of his economics degree from Northwestern University, Chris Coleman accepted a job that determined the course of his professional life.

“I took a marketing job with the Zale Group and quickly discovered that I loved homebuilding,” Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes, recalled recently. “I found homebuilding to be one of the most exciting industries out there because it touched on everything.”
The career involves manufacturing (building homes), design (of both communities and houses), land acquisition (acquiring the right property is the most important thing, Coleman said), marketing a product and then selling it, too.

“I also loved forming close partnerships with buyers during one of the most intimate experiences of their lives — building a home — and helping make their dreams come true. That was really the best part of it for me,” he said.

So Coleman was hooked on building homes. He stayed with Zale from 1988 through 1992.

Coleman then moved to Orlando, Florida, where he worked for Morrison Homes, then on to Atlanta to work for John Weiland Homes, before returning to Chicago in 1997.

That is when the Park Ridge native started his own homebuilding company, Buckingham Properties, based in Glenview. Over the next 18 years he constructed both single-family homes and townhouses on small infill properties around the North Shore.

In the fall of 2015, Coleman heard through his many contacts in the homebuilding business that William Ryan Homes was looking for a new Chicago Division president and felt it would be a good match. So he moved to the larger company, which is headquartered in Glenview and has divisions in Chicago, Milwaukee; Madison, Wisconsin; Phoenix and Tampa.

“William Ryan currently has eight active single-family projects in the Chicago area and plans to open models within the next few months at Stonebridge in Hawthorn Woods and Bartlett Ridge in Bartlett,” Coleman said. He expects to sell 120 homes in the Chicago area during 2017.

William Ryan’s homes, which are aimed primarily at first-time move-up buyers, Coleman said, range in price from the mid-$200,000s to the mid-$600,000s.

“The many things we include in our homes may make us a little more expensive than some other builders, but we feel we still offer the best value,” he said. “And we try to make the whole process of building a home as easy as possible for our clients in every way — even making it easy for them to customize anything from flooring materials to making structural changes.”

A longtime veteran of the business, Coleman said the way the industry has changed during his career has been amazing.

“People often talk about homes not being built the way they used to be, but I am happy about that. Homes are built much better today in terms of both design and building efficiencies. The use of roof trusses and even panelized wall construction is much more efficient than the way homes were built in the past. And there is much more of an emphasis on design today,” Coleman said.

“Unlike in years past when builders concentrated on providing shelter, today’s builders who are most successful are those who concentrate on creating environments that will become the focal point for people’s lives,” he continued.

“Today’s buyers are smarter, too. Instead of focusing on room count, the way buyers did in the past, they are focusing on square footage in the areas of a home where their families actually live. In particular, they are very concerned about the interaction between the kitchen and the family room,” Coleman said.

William Ryan Homes is building communities in Hampshire, Elgin, Romeoville, Algonquin, Island Lake and Plainfield. For more information, visit

No more stairs: Homebuyers opt for one-level living

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: March 9, 2017

The desire of many homebuyers to do away with stairs in major areas of their homes has led to the popularity of today’s ranch plans and other variations on the one-level living theme.

New Homes Construction

“Today’s ranch plans are surging in popularity, not only with active adults but also with families, especially those with small children,” says Chris Naatz. “These homes are architecturally attractive, with luxurious features, open concept floor plans, higher ceilings, plentiful windows and flex spaces that can accommodate a variety of additional interests and needs.

“In addition, one-level living is being expanded in creative ways that include two-story plans with first-floor master suites and one-level plans that have available second floors to provide additional space for guests, live-in adult children and storage. The main levels of these homes are self-contained for everyday living, yet the homes allow for light, sunny extra spaces for additional needs,” he says.

The Freedom Series includes six floor plans ranging in size from 1,661 to 2,162 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and studies, two full baths, covered patios and two-car attached garages. The optional upstairs level can be finished to contain a bedroom, full bath and game room, conditioned storage space and a loft or just conditioned storage space.

“The Freedom Series ranches are designed for the way people live today. They are open and free-flowing, and in many plans, the kitchen, great room and dining area are one large space, making it more conducive to family time, entertaining and everyday living. Typically, one-level living floor plans separate the master suite in the rear of the home from the secondary bedroom(s), in the front. The plans maximize living space while balancing privacy and livability. With their exciting optional second-story spaces, they are ideal for those buyers who want one-level living with space for guests.

The Freedom Series homes are offered at Carillon at Cambridge Lakes in Pingree Grove, a pool and clubhouse community for active adults 55 and more, and at Wentworth, a Gurnee community that is open to all age groups and offers low maintenance living.

Most new home communities today offer at least one ranch plan as well as a popular variation, the two-story home with a first-floor master suite. William Ryan Homes, a company that has just unveiled new floor plans for 2017, offers two ranch plans, a Cape Cod and a two-story with a first-floor master bedroom.

“Some families who may have frequent out-of-town visitors or a live-in parent like the clear division of spaces that a two-story home provides, yet may want to have a master bedroom on the first floor, either for a live-in parent or for the owners to enjoy one-level living,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president. “Buyers have the choice to eliminate stairs with our two ranch plans, our Cape Cod plan that offers one-level living with added space upstairs and our two-story home with a first-floor master bedroom.”

The ranch plans offered by William Ryan Homes include the 1,616-square-foot Camden, and the 2,244-square-foot Coventry II. Both offer open concept living areas, large mud rooms, a master bedroom to the rear of the home and a guest bedroom and study or third bedroom to the front. All of the new floor plans are available in six different exterior elevations.

The Cape May, a 2,424-square-foot Cape Cod, offers up to four bedrooms and three baths, with the master bedroom and a second bedroom on the main floor. In addition, buyers may add two large bedrooms, a third bath and a loft on the optional second floor.

The Jensen, a 3,927-square-foot two-story home, offers yet another possibility for one-level living plus. The Jensen offers up to six bedrooms and 3.5 baths, with a first-floor master suite and another master suite upstairs.

“Homebuilders are responding to the needs and preferences of buyers with a creative approach to plans that offer one-level living,” Coleman says. “These homes can be as compact or as expansive as buyers desire, while incorporating the popular trend of no more stairs.

For more information,

William Ryan Homes celebrates 25th Anniversary

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: March 9, 2017

For 25 years, national homebuilder, William Ryan Homes, has been a leader in single-family home design, quality construction and customer service.

Founded in 1992 in Chicago by William J. Ryan, the company celebrates its anniversary with the same passion, dedication and vision it had 25 years ago.

“When I started this company 25 years ago the vision was to build a successful Top-10 national homebuilder,” says Ryan, founder and CEO for William Ryan Homes. “While the 2007 recession set the clock back a bit for the real estate market as a whole, our hard work and dedication to quality, customer satisfaction and a close-knit company infrastructure have remained the cornerstones of our growth and success and our vision remains the same.”

Ryan, a native of Pittsburgh and family homebuilding, grew up in Cincinnati and attended Marquette University.

“My grandfather built his first home in Pittsburgh in 1925,” says Ryan. “My dad and uncles eventually became part of that business, with my dad taking on the role of opening up new cities for the company. That’s how we ended up in Cincinnati. Having gone to school at Marquette in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I spent some time in Chicago and fell in love with it. By 1990, I had an overwhelming urge to start my own homebuilding company and, at that time, Chicago was picked to be the country’s leading home building market. So that made the decision pretty easy and I packed up my family and headed to Chicago.”

Ryan’s move paid off as the still privately-held company has built-more than 10,000 single-family homes and branched beyond Chicago to markets in Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona.

“While we are definitely a production builder, it is imperative that we give each of our homebuyers a higher level of customer service throughout the building process. That’s what sets us apart.” Ryan says.

In addition to the company motto “We Make it Easy,” referring to building, personalizing and living in a William Ryan Home with ease, Ryan takes pride in the company’s industry-leading My 24/7 Home program.

My Home 24/7 is a private, personal website that gives each William Ryan Homes customer access to their home throughout the building process. Real-time scheduling and photos allow them to watch their home’s progress from the ground up and anticipate construction milestones and delivery dates. Buyers can also make selections and manage A Wiwarranty requests through the website.

In the Chicago area, William Ryan Homes is currently building single-family homes at The Coves in Algonquin, Bartlett Ridge in Bartlett, Stonebridge in Hawthorn Woods, Hampshire Highlands in Hampshire, Walnut Glen in Island Lake, White Ash Farm in Plainfield and Renwick Place in Romeoville. The company also offers single-family homes at communities in Phoenix, Arizona; Tampa, Florida; and Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ryan emphasizes the core principals and business processes remain the same company-wide. “Whether it’s a new plan or improving a process, we always start with ‘what would the customer want?’ If you get that part right, you’re half way home. The other part is work hard toward the goal of building employee and vendor teams that will follow that thinking, and like to win.”

Ryan says what really makes the company unique is it people. “Each of our markets is treated as an individual profit center and entrepreneurial entity. While I’m involved in every community purchase, it’s the local team of employees that drive home plan designs, growth and customer service. I try to know every employee, and I love seeing employees reach levels of responsibility and compensation they’ve never seen before. The success of these teams are the building blocks for the success of the company overall.”

And what does the future hold for William Ryan Homes?

“I am very excited about William Ryan’s future and the new construction market in general as we begin 2017,” Ryan says. “Sales and buyer interest are increasing across the board. The Phoenix and Tampa markets are really starting to pop and Chicago and Wisconsin are definitely seeing an uptick. 2017 is the year to buy a new home.”

In celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary, new homebuyers can enjoy 25 percent off up to $100,000 in option purchases for a limited time at new home communities in the Chicagoland market.

For more information on building a home with William Ryan Homes, visit

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