Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. ( has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Todd welcomes your feedback at [email protected] or 248.446.1960.

Hot elevation + Lean = Fast sales

The overriding principle of Lean Design is marketability. The winning combo is to make the home simple and efficient to build while having an elevation that will blow your face off. Make the design current with all the hottest trends, but hold the complexity of multiple foundation jogs, improper building dimensions, and overuse of engineered lumber. A few weeks back I heard from Lloyd Poe, a great builder who owns Lifestyle Homes out of Richmond Virginia. He wrote:

“We are seeing strong evidence that 'better' elevations on our spec homes cause them to sell quicker even with higher prices. I think buyers want the 'new' look (the same with automobiles), and this is one way builders can distance themselves from both resales and foreclosures. As an architect, you have been preaching curb appeal your entire career. I think in hot market conditions, spec houses with blah elevations still sell. In tough markets, builders are hesitant to spend money on aesthetics and, instead, put the dollars into tangible square footage and interior features. In today’s market with cheap housing prices and cheap financing costs, maybe the buyers today can have both!”

Lean Design is the steak and the sizzle. Low cost current plans, combined with exterior design that melts hearts. Builders all over the country are using Lean Design to accelerate their way out of the housing slump. Don’t get left behind.

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