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Category Archives: New Construction

Top Features and Design Trends for 2021 in the Wake of COVID-19

NAHB Identifies Top Features and Design Trends for 2021 in the Wake of COVID-19
After declining for four years, a number of key trends — including the average size of the home and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms — reversed course in 2020 as a result of shifting buyer preferences in the wake of COVID-19. The average size home remained flat at 2,486 square feet, while the percentage of homes with four or more bedrooms and three or more bathrooms rose to 46% and 33%, respectively — rising closer to 2015 peaks.

“The primary reason is that COVID-19 has led a segment of home buyers to desire larger homes and to move out to the suburbs,” said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research.

An increased number of rooms within the same footprint means home owners are becoming more creative in how they use the space within their homes, and using features such as windows to help make these spaces feel larger.

“The space works harder rather than larger,” said Donald Ruthroff, AIA, principal at Dahlin Group Architecture Planning. “Open spaces are better defined, and spaces are flexible.”
“New homes are gaining popularity as well, with 60% of buyers preferring new homes — the highest level since 2007”. Quint attributes this increased interest in new homes to three key factors.

“One is the absolute lack of existing home inventory,” said Quint. “Two is buyers are concerned about touring other people’s homes. And last but not least, new homes are more likely to be located where buyers want to live.” She noted that outlying suburbs are the most popular geographic location, driven by increased interest among minority home buyers.

NAHB also examined preferences among buyers to help builders determine what features are most likely to resonate in the market in 2021.
The top features desired include:

  • Laundry rooms
  • Exterior lighting
  • Ceiling fans
  • ENERGY STAR windows and appliances
  • Patios and front porches
  • Kitchen double sink
  • Walk-in pantries


Outdoor spaces such as patios and front porches allow home owners to utilize more space, Ruthroff added, with the connection between indoors and outdoors continuing to become more seamless. Builders at every value level should consider how to integrate such connections into their homes, and incorporate detailing that helps to dress up these spaces.

NAHB also asked recent and prospective home buyers how COVID-19 may have impacted their housing preferences. Although the majority (67%) did not feel the pandemic had an impact, a quarter did feel their preferences had changed because of COVID-19, with households that have at least one teleworker and one virtual student being the most likely to feel an impact. Such households are also the most likely to desire a larger home.

Additional information will be available soon in NAHB’s latest edition of What Home Buyers Really Want.
Additional resources can be found under “NAHB Identifies Top Features and Design Trends for 2021 in the Wake of COVID-19” by the National Association of Home Builders


House Design Keeping Weather In Mind

Good house design takes climate into account

You’ve made the decision to build a new home – CONGRATULATIONS! Now comes the fun part – House Design! Building a home that will allow you to be comfortable in either cold or heat takes a little planning. When discussing the design elements of energy efficiency, keep a few things in mind to ensure maximum comfort and minimum bills (or at least as close to minimum as you can get).

Start by knowing the ins and outs of the weather in your area. House Design with weather in mind

We all know Michigan has a variable climate. It also varies dramatically from region to region. Someone building a home on the East side of the state will be experiencing different weather patterns than someone on the West side. You’ll see even broader swings if you’re building close to one of the “Great Lakes.” Prepare for harsh winters and hot summers by getting a general picture of the average rainfall, snowfall and temperature ranges for the region in which you intend to build.

Dig into the design from the ground up.

Your foundation can also experience damage from swings in weather patterns. If you intend to have a basement you’ll want to make sure it is properly poured. Winter is not the ideal time to get concrete work done. This can result in foundation weakness later if the temperature isn’t up to par when the foundation is poured. Your basement should also be well insulated. Consider “ICF” or insulated concrete forms when designing the basement. This will allow for a quality air and moisture barrier as well as reducing heat loss.

Landscaping should be properly graded. This means ensuring a slope extending out from a house foundation of about 6 inches for the first 10 feet (that’s about a 5% slope). The right landscape/grading slope means that water in all it’s forms will run AWAY from the foundation. This is not a lesson you want to learn from experience. Trust me when I tell you AWAY is IMPORTANT. Pay attention to the grade throughout the course of your home ownership. Should you find animals have burrowed down in the area close to your home, address the issue. Quickly.

And from the roof down

If snow is a major concern, consider a steeply pitched roof. The roof of your home is one of the most important factors in energy efficiency. It’s also one of the major contributors to the longevity of your home. If you develop roof leaks or other damage, the interior of your home will suffer – a lot. Snow can cause all kinds of trouble with a roof. It’s best just to ensure heavy snow loads never occur. A steeply pitched roof allows snow to slide off quickly. It also helps in preventing ice dams as there isn’t likely to be pooling and quick freezing of rain or snow melt.

If the region is prone to heavy rainfall, keep your roof line simple. It will help prevent water from backing up into your attic.

To get the most of out of your home, pay attention to window placement! Typically South facing windows are an excellent source for heat generation. In the winter months, you’ll appreciate the comfort of extra heat. In the summer, keeping the shades drawn during the day will combat a lot of the heat. Invest in thermally appropriate windows for your area. For the few North and East facing windows a home in Michigan should have, look for a window with a low U factor rating. The U factor is the rate at which a window is prone to heat loss.

Stand the test of time

The true test of a well built home is its durability. Make sure your home is designed and built by craftsmen, who understand your particular needs. Be sure to design you home to get the most benefit from the natural environment.

For more information on House Design with Watts Homes & Construction, visit our Home Building Process Page.

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A Great Home Building Experience


We loved working with Elaine and Bob! Providing a great home building experience for amazing people like these two,

is such a privilege!

Home building experience


“This is our 3rd experience building a home and I must say the easiest and most pleasant experience. From the owners to the secretaries, to the contractors they work with, the Watts team is the best!! They exceeded our expectations and we are now in our new home and loving it! From the first day that we met Matt to the finishing touches, we have been impressed with his care and professionalism in addressing our needs and concerns. We would not hesitate to highly recommend Watts Homes & Construction!”

Bob and Elaine were so gracious with their Facebook review! We never take our clients for granted. It’s always a very proud moment for Watts Homes & Construction when the people with whom we’ve been so fortunate to work are happy with the end result. These two folks were an absolute pleasure to build for. They loved the design ideas and modification options that working with Watts Homes & Construction provided them and the Cottage Pointe Condominium neighborhood, as well as the location of Richland, MI.

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It’s a New Construction Condo Event

New Construction Condos!

We’re hosting a new construction condo event this weekend! Come out to our open houses at this week’s featured neighborhoods! Cottage Pointe Condominiums and Hunters Creek Condominiums! As with all of our neighborhoods we have taken our homeowners safety and comfort and made them our first priority. Each of these neighborhoods feature homes with adaptable floor plans. They showcase great landscaping and superior care of the common areas.

Hunters Creek Condominiums features duplex designed, attached condominiums. The interiors are constructed with high-end amenities and options. We begin and end with your comfort and luxury in mind. Zero maintenance means you won’t ever have to concern yourself with yard work! You can opt to buy one of our existing condos or design one from the ground up. You’ll want to hurry though. This community is nearing completion! There are only a few sites left upon which to build a new condo.

Our Cottage Pointe Condominiums feature site condominiums. These are free standing homes within a condominium association. There are no adjoining walls between you and your neighbor. This provides homeowners in Cottage Pointe Condominiums a tremendous amount of privacy. The low exterior maintenance lifestyle means you won’t need to worry about yard work. You’re freed up to really enjoy your life. Imagine spending the time you would normally be mowing the lawn… golfing.

Whether you’re interested in Hunters Creek or Cottage Pointe, visit our New Construction Condo Event this weekend! A builder’s representative will be onsite in each of these communities. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or request a tour of any of our available condos. We will be happy to help you. Visit our Open House page for specific details on times and locations! We look forward to seeing you!


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6 Reasons To Build A New House

luxury custom built kitchen6 Reasons to build a new house

There could be countless, personal reasons you’d choose to build a new house over purchasing an existing “used home.” Here are 6 of the top reasons our clients have told us:

Reason 1

You choose EVERYTHING! From design to paint colors, to flooring and fixtures. A new/custom home is designed around YOU!

Reason 2

You choose a location where the views suit you. Whether you’re building a new house in one of our neighborhoods, or on land you already own you’re can select the view that’s right for you! Imagine waking up to a beautiful wooded scene. Maybe your dream includes lakefront property. It’s up to you!

Reason 3

Working with a designer/architect ensures you’ll get the most from both the land and the house design.You can let the architect help you find the best features of your new home site. Maybe there’s a natural slope to the land and you’d like to have a walk out lower level.

Reason 4

Building a new home means it will be built with the most up to date and efficient products. We’ll use the most energy efficient building techniques,  insulation and appliances as well as “smart home” options! Your home will save you money on heating and cooling costs! It will also be a very comfortable interior environment all year long.

Reason 5

Another reason s to build a new/custom house –  you won’t have to worry about repairs! A new house has NEW – EVERYTHING! Repairs to an existing “used house” typically are required for three reasons. A. The home is old enough that things are just wearing out. B. The house is old enough the systems are no longer up to code C. The previous home owner didn’t take very good care of the house and it’s beginning to show.

Reason 6

Building a custom home means you can have it be just as private or open as you desire. Are you the kind of homeowner who loves chatting with your neighbors? Does the idea of quiet seclusion appeal to you? When you’re building a new/custom house, you make the call!

Would you or someone you know like to build a custom home? Give Watts Homes & construction a call at 269-345-3859 today. We’ll be happy to help!


Low Maintenance New Construction

Low Maintenance Construction!

People building new construction homes have so many options available! One new construction trend that gaining momentum is the “Low Maintenance Movement.” This revolution started with people who’d rather spend time thinking about other things. Not – “Did I seal the counter tops last year, or the year before???” This makes a lot of sense. Consider all of the advances in construction materials and techniques, not to mention technology!

low maintenance new construction options

Beginning with the exterior

  1. Beginning with the exterior, one more popular “low maintenance” option isn’t “high -tech” or even new. Brick homes have recently increased in popularity. They are definitely low maintenance, particularly when compared to wood siding, which may eventually rot, or even vinyl siding, which can experience color fade over time. Brick maintains its integrity, color and has the added bonus of being difficult to blown down…
  2. Metal roofing is not only a very stylish option, but has become virtually maintenance free! Some metal roofing products are polymer coated to ensure their vibrant color and finish will hold up against the most harsh weather conditions and last, far longer than a traditional shingle roof.
    3. Composite decking is a very low maintenance option. Today’s composite materials have come a long way from their beginnings and now have a superior aesthetic as well as fantastic durability! It doesn’t rot, chip or fade and only needs minimal cleaning. In most cases, dirt can be removed with an average garden hose. This deck option can even be given an anti-microbial coating so mold doesn’t stand a chance!
  3. The latest low maintenance idea in landscaping is “weather sensing irrigation systems.” This technology actually waters the lawn like a regular sprinkler system, but does so without your needing to do anything. It gathers local weather data and adjusts itself to water just the right amount for your specific landscape needs! Weather sensing irrigation not only makes watering the lawn a “no-brainer,” but also helps to conserve water! The only maintenance issue is an annual drain of the irrigation lines, which you’d have to do with a regular system anyway.

Moving Inside

People are rethinking the idea of “low maintenance” inside the home too! Laminate flooring has recently been redesigned to resemble plank flooring, but is far less expensive and far more easily installed! It’s a great DIY project for most homeowners! Its realistic wood texture and appearance and its tough, water resistant clear-coat mean it requires virtually no maintenance after it’s in place. Just sweep and/or dust mop and you’re good to go!

6. Finishes that might take up too much time with cleaning are being altered to give the same long lasting durability and good looks, but with far less effort. Stainless steel for example, with its shiny finish is being eclipsed by “Black Stainless Steel.” It has a matte finish and doesn’t show fingerprints, but still has that high end feel of traditional stainless!
7. And of course, the counter tops… Quartz counter tops are surpassing granite in popularity. Granite needs to be sealed, and re-sealed every so often, Quartz doesn’t require sealing or even deep cleaning!


What You Really Want In A New House

Popular Features


Board and Batten exteriors are a very popular “new house” trend. It is frequently paired with a more standard looking horizontal vinyl siding. The mix provides a contemporary/cottage or farmhouse feel.

Patios & Decks have always been popular. Now they appear to be a new homeowner “must have!” With the majority of our “devices” being mobile, we’re spending more time with them, outside… Patios and decks are the perfect place to catch up on emails, text friends, relax with an e-book or even entertain.

Kitchens that include the out of doors. Having a kitchen/dining room with a view is great. Having a kitchen/dining room with access to the patio or deck is better. Much better! It is one of the most requested design elements of 2019.


So what’s popular on the inside of today’s new house?

Open concept floor plans are preferred to their more traditional, sectioned out counterparts.


Color in cabinets. White cabinetry is still the favorite of our clients. Recently, we’ve seen color incorporated into kitchens and baths with painted cabinets. Some folks select painted cabinets for an entire room. Others have opted for one cabinet (typically an island in the kitchen) to anchor and accent the room with color.

Stainless is still on top. Stainless steel is still the most requested finish for appliances.

Counter tops in quartz. Manufactured quartz countertops have become all the rage. Quartz is a great alternative to granite. It’s very durable and allows for endless color selections. We are also still seeing a lot of granite installed in our new house s.

Brass is back! We’ve seen a recent uptick in the selection of brass fixtures over the previously trending “silver and/or nickle” tones.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring  or “LVP.” This is an excellent option for areas of the home that would do well with water resistance. It is frequently selected for the kitchen and bathrooms. That being said, it has been well used as the flooring option throughout the entire house. It comes in a variety of widths, colors and finishes.

The “smart-house” effect.smart tech in a new houseThe rise of the smart house is not exactly new. It’s just that now it’s become the norm. People want their homes to be as connected and convenient as their devices. It’s no longer enough to have a programmable thermostat, it must also be capable of learning your personal routine, in order to better serve your needs. The refrigerator can now send you a note when you’re out of milk. The oven turns itself on and off; and everyone of them is in contact with your virtual assistant!

All that really matters when building a new house is what YOU need to be happy. Give us a call today at 269-345-3859. We’ll be happy to help.