Blog

Blog Category - New Homes Chicago

The only “constant” in this world is “change.”

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: May 18, 2017

By Jean Murphy (Daily Herald Correspondent)

The only “constant” in this world is “change.” That even applies to houses.

According to local builders, the new homes that first-time buyers are purchasing today are markedly different from the newly constructed homes their parents purchased 20 or 30 years ago. They still provide four walls and a roof, of course, but the nuances within the homes have evolved.

“We are seeing the de-formalization of the home among all buyers,” said Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes. “We need to design for the way that people live today. So, they want open floor plans and the rooms need to be flexible enough to be used for whatever the individual buyer’s needs are. But all of the buyers want a great relationship between the family room and the kitchen.”

“Interestingly, too, today’s first-time buyers don’t look at a home’s total square footage when purchasing. They look at how a home feels to them and whether it has square footage where they want it — specifically in the family room and maybe by adding a morning room off the kitchen,” he said.

“They have also seen a lot of home amenity options in the media, so they have very discriminating tastes. They want hardwood floors, particularly in the entryway where they can make a statement, and they want granite counter tops in the kitchen. Energy efficiency is also important — a feature which the older homes on the market cannot offer.”

People used to buy and sell a home every six or seven years. That is no longer the case, so we feel we need to put in from the beginning the 9-foot ceilings and the other structural things that are hard to change later.

First-time buyer homes typically average between 2,200 and 2,500 square feet (although some come in at 1,800) with a partial basement and crawl space and a two-car garage (or sometimes an extended tandem garage for added storage). They feature three bedrooms, vinyl siding with a little stone or wainscoting and a smaller yard than in the past because children are so involved today in organized sports and other activities that a large yard is no longer as important and their parents don’t want to maintain a lot of property.

Buyers generally choose an oversized shower with a bench seat and glass walls for the master bathroom and only install a tub in their secondary bathroom. The days of the large whirlpool tubs are gone.

Fireplaces are nice, but no longer highly sought after, he added. And when they are requested, buyers choose the much less expensive direct-vent fireplaces, not masonry ones with chimneys.

“In my experience recently, first-time buyers are looking for good neighborhoods, good schools, good park districts, bike paths and great communities. They want to live somewhere that offers a sense of community and nice local events. And they want to live where it is quiet but is still close to everything,” Harmon said.

“Young buyers are well-versed in the benefits of new construction, like its energy-efficiency, but even though we offer Nest thermostats to allow them to control their home temperature remotely, very few opt for that. They do, however, expect open floor plans, second-floor laundry rooms, 9-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and granite kitchen countertops,” she said. “Our full basements are also a selling point.”

Shodeen has one entry-level home now available for immediate delivery. It is located in Sycamore at its Reston Ponds community. The 1,868-square-foot home features three bedrooms and 2½ baths and lists for $249,921. Models of other Shodeen homes can be viewed at Squires Crossing in Maple Park.

William Ryan Homes has three communities that offer first-time buyer, single-family homes. There is Renwick Place in Romeoville that has homes starting the $240,000s, Hampshire Highlands with homes also starting in the $240,000s and Walnut Glen in Island Lake that has homes starting in the $250,000s.

When it comes to single-family home communities for first-time buyers, Homes now offers Somerset in Plainfield, which starts in the high $290,000s, Sagebrook in South Elgin, which starts in the $320,000s, and Hanover Estates in Manhattan, which starts in the $280,000s.

Bartlett Ridge Pre Construction Sales

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: May 4, 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, 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.”

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, two 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 three 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 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.

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 WilliamRyanHomes.com.

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 WilliamRyanHomes.com.

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.

Source: Houselogic.com

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 www.williamryanhomes.com.

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, WilliamRyanHomes.com.

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 www.williamryanhomes.com.

Specialty rooms can fill your heart’s desire

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: March 7, 2017

Remember when people prepared food in the kitchen, sat in the dining room for family meals, then retreated to the living room to read the newspaper or watch TV?

Main rooms in the home had a designated purpose. William Ryan Homes

With today’s more casual lifestyles, flex space, bonus rooms or multipurpose rooms — whatever you want to call them — make an appearance in new homes. This flexible space is offered outside of the great room, a large gathering area that has often replaced the formal, walled-off dining and living rooms.

Today, kids might grab a snack at the kitchen island, run on the treadmill in the exercise room on the lower level, and then dive into their homework at a tech niche in the loft.

Today, home builders feature the flex space concept because it’s — well, flexible — allowing buyers to determine how they will use the space. Homes reflect flex space in different areas of the home, depending on the floor plan and size of the house.

Many buyers expect flex space in their new homes, and builders strive to meet their needs. They also offer buyers the option of customizing homes to their specifications.

Every community offers a floor plan with flex space, but every floor plan doesn’t offer it, said Anna Harmon, director of marketing. “We work with all our buyers to determine what their needs are and offer customization to make a home exactly what they want.

“People have taken a fourth or fifth bedroom and repurposed it. It’s so individual; we’ve seen it all. A room can do double duty, for example, morph from a hobby room to a guest bedroom.”

“If we don’t have exactly what the buyer wants, we will go to work and make it happen,” said Trisha Houser, sales manager for the builder. “People want space outside the main living area to escape and focus on what is important to them.”

While location of flex space depends on the floor plan, Toll Brothers has seen homebuyers use it from top to bottom — outfitting an upstairs bonus room as a family room, using space on the main level for an office, and turning basement space into a custom hockey rink.

Kid space

Often homebuyers set up flex rooms as a place for kids or teenagers to have their own space. It might function as a playroom — a happy place with colorful decor where kids can get out the Play Doh or set up the train set. Or it might be a private space for teenagers to call their own where they can hang out with friends, order pizza and watch sports.

Homes offers a bonus room in all its floor plans that homebuyers often designate as space for kids or teenagers to hang out, said Cheryl Bonk, vice president of sales and marketing. “This is a popular feature for us.”

In its Fairways collection at Bowes Creek Country Club, two of the plans offer a finished attic option. “In our model, it’s furnished as a playroom, and we explain to buyers that it could morph for sleepovers in middle school, then be transformed for teenagers to hang out in high school,” Houser said. “The room can change with the family’s needs through life’s stages.”

A bonus room on the main level could also allow room for a family as it grows. For example, it could be a home office, or work hub while younger kids are in school and then turn into a college pad when kids are home from college and want their own space.

The space can be used as a first-floor bedroom for an in-law suite or a long-term visitor, which is a common request, said Brian Murphy, area vice president for the builder.

“Buyers like the bedroom and bath on the first floor. That’s been in demand,” Murphy said. And the formal living room people used to use a few times a year has evolved into more informal family rooms, great rooms or spaces buyers want. “Buyers like to have their kids in a room adjacent to where they’re working,” Murphy said.

Family space

William Ryan Homes features the loft as flex space in many of its two-story floor plans. Similar to use of the lower level, many buyers use the space as a family room, game room or they can add a bedroom, said Jennifer Mencias, director of sales for the builder. Toll Brothers’ customers often choose to have loft space on the upper level in lieu of the two-story, open family room to make the most of the home’s square footage.

…Planning centers are big in its single-family homes. “It’s a nice area near the main living area of the home where mom can do all the things that come with running a home,” Bonk said. William Ryan Homes also integrates a planning center into its floor plans conveniently situated off the back entry.

Also, William Ryan Homes features its signature 16-by-12-foot morning room in its floor plans, which has been well received by homebuyers. People have used the space to extend the kitchen, create a playroom, a TV room or office space.

Mud rooms have long been a signature feature for William Ryan Homes, and many buyers appreciate having the space off the garage entry. A mud room can be more than a utilitarian space. It can be a kid-friendly, cheery space with fun wallpaper and flooring.

“We offer a true mud room that’s not combined with a laundry room as all our laundry rooms are on the second level,” Mencias said.

With an uptick in multigenerational living, buyers are asking for in-law suites for a parent coming in either temporarily or permanently, Harmon said. “Our Donovan sales model at Mill Creek works well with that even though we don’t specifically market it for that purpose. With a first-floor master, buyers can turn the den into a full bath.”