Home Again

After a six-year absence, I'm back and couldn't be happier about the opportunity to once again serve this wonderful industry.

March 01, 2007

Greetings! Perhaps my name is familiar to some of you. After a six-year absence, I'm back and couldn't be happier about the opportunity to once again serve this wonderful industry.

I've been writing about home building for 20 years and have covered everything from design, building technology and new products to management, finance and marketing. I've walked many a model home and construction site and spent countless hours talking to builders about their achievements, goals and frustrations. I've pored over architectural drawings and site plans for projects yet to be built and listened to interior designers share their vision for turning unfurnished rooms into living spaces that are compatible with clients' needs and tastes. I've also had the honor of judging several design competitions, including the Best in American Living Awards.

While I pursued different opportunities during my six-year hiatus, I realized how much I missed the housing industry. It isn't just a job for me; it's a passion. Even while driving around on my days off I enjoy looking at houses to identify their architectural heritage and see how they fit into the neighborhood. I'm fortunate to live within a short drive of Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Oak Park, Ill., a number of residences he built for clients in the Chicago suburbs, and Taliesin, his estate in Spring Green, Wis. The imagination behind Frank Lloyd Wright's work never fails to amaze me.

Of course, custom building is about more than creative design and fine craftsmanship. Certainly a custom home ought to be something that delights and endures. But this is also a tough, competitive business that requires staying on top of market trends, building practices and products; finding and retaining top talent; keeping an eye on the budget; generating new business; and most importantly, continuously improving customer satisfaction. As often as not, innovation starts at the high end of the housing market; customers demand it, therefore builders must embrace it and keep setting the bar higher and higher with every project.

That's why custom builders deserve a magazine that offers the best of both worlds: cutting-edge ideas to inspire them and expert advice about the complex issues they face every day. My role in the magazine will be to provide the insight necessary to execute great design from a business perspective.

I hope every issue of Custom Builder delivers on those promises, but as good as our staff is, we can't do it without your help. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Call me at 630/288-8194 or write to susan.bady@reedbusiness.com. I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with old friends and making new ones, whether it's in the field, in the office or on the trade-show floor.

Susan Bady, 630/288-8194, susan.bady@reedbusiness.com

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