Louisville New Construction Takes Flight at Homearama 2014 – Full Report

Since 2007, I’ve been covering Louisville’s new construction showcase, Homearama, and before that, my wife and I went… just for fun! In this piece, I’ll share my thoughts on the homes that were part of this year’s Homearama 2014 at Shake’s Run, as well as, highlight some of the trends I see as new construction changes and evolves.

Photo of Homearama 2014 Shakes Run
After a cloudy start, the sun showed brightly on Louisville’s 2014 Homearama.

Let’s begin by identifying why a builder would participate in Homearama because there are two very different motivations.

  1. Some builders use the annual event to make a statement and promote themselves. In years gone by, this appeared to be the most common reason as builders and designers worked hard to outdo one another with incredible designs, grand features, and over-the-top staging. Does anyone else remember the motorcycle in a glass case?
  2. Other builders use Homearama to sign-up new clients. This means homes aren’t built to “Wow!” as much as they are to present an attractive, Louisville new construction option, at a price more in line with today’s financial realm.

More builders this year chose this Option #2 this year. Sadly, flash is dead. Long live flash!

Louisville New Construction Showcase in 2014

As I walk through the homes, I heard several visitors share a similar theme.

“If we get a lot of money, we could just move.”

Tell me about it. There’s a lot to love about Louisville new construction and for many, it appears finances are what is holding people back.

Homearama 2014: Full Featured Homes

Joe and Rocky Pusateri are no strangers to Louisville new construction with not one, but two Extreme Home Makeover houses (Lampe Family and Hughes Family). Not always part of the Homearama event, but they did well this time out.

Photo of Louisville New Construction Homearama House #1

I thought the design was extremely tasteful, not over-the-top. It speaks to their gaining some new clients with this event. At least the built-in fish tank brought some whimsy you don’t see every day.

Having the great room open to the kitchen is now the pro-forma design for today’s new construction.

Certain homes are more memorable than others. That was certainly the case with this home by Landmark Custom Homes that combined a great deal of refined space on multiple levels all on a superior lot.

Wonderful curb appeal on House #2, The Pottery Playhouse, by Landmark Custom Homes.

Homearama 2014: Memorable Basements

In my opinion, the star of this year’s Homearama was the basement in House #2. Designers joined forces with the builder to produce two incredible spaces designed for two totally different groups—adults and children.

Instead of simply putting a standard door into the kids’ playroom, they built a smaller house in the basement complete with a roof line, a small window, and a doorbell. The kid’s loved it!

This house had the biggest “Wow!” moment with the incredible Irish Pub in the basement. It’s really something special and a place where adults could really enjoy themselves.

Even though people clamor for open-concept floorplans, it remains important for each space to have a dedicated purpose. Look at this cozy seating area nestled by a warm fireplace yet isn’t dark with so many windows bringing in the natural light.

Here is a photo of a well-staged, comfortable seating space that’s part of Provident’s House #7.

Basements still play a large role in today’s new construction in Louisville, especially with the trend toward Ranch floorplans. With no second story, it’s important that basements “pick up the slack” and provide space for entertaining, working out, and often a mother-in-law suite.

Large, open basements with bars, TVs, and entertaining activities have always been a mainstay at Homearama, this attractive basement is part of House #5 by Architectural Builders.

Homearama 2014: Ranches Rule

With the aging population looking to downsize, Louisville new construction is making a concerted effort to build attractive options for this demographic. Six of the eight homes in this year’s Homearama event were Ranch floorplans with basements to limit the number of stairs.

Wickcliffe Retreat, another Elite Homes entry, has that uber-popular, split-level Ranch layout that so many people love.
Photo of Louisville New Construction Homearama House #4
Homearama House #4, Caroline, by Welch Builders has a lot going for it with beautiful stonework highlighting several parts of its facade.

When you come inside on a Ranch home, you have the opportunity to vault the ceilings. This home really takes advantage of that opportunity with extra tall ceilings and tons of windows looking out over a nicely wooded lot.

This Homearama entry by Welch Builders has a great color scheme that gives the whole space a lighter feel that accentuates the extra-tall ceilings.

Front porches are not always present but there are still many home buyers that appreciate them.

The Wilburn, House #7, is built by Provident Homes and features a great deal of value for people looking for new construction in Louisville.

Homearama House #8 is a large, Ranch home with plenty of windows and modern finishes really stand out in Louisville, where Traditional homes rule the roost.

The final home, Stonehenge, also by Welch Builders, is an expansive Ranch with lots of modern flair.

Homearama 2014: Finishing Touches

The location, lot, and floorplan are always very important when designing a new home. But now more than ever, people are looking for finishing touches that speak to them. Below are some highlights from this year’s event.

Extra large, walk-in showers are grabbing the limelight with bathtubs taking the back seat. This beautiful shower looks so nice you may not want to use it and get it dirty.

Beautiful tile work is now the norm for new construction at this price point.

Maybe you’d like to combine your bath and shower activities?

Now here is something I had not seen before… the bathtub inside the shower. What do you think?

Both the planning and execution of this paver patio were very well done. It doesn’t hurt that we were able to see it on a bright, sunny day.

This patio is exceptionally well situated in its space behind Homearama #4. Well done!

Homearama 2014: Modern Styles

Modern has always been the minority here in Louisville. But perhaps it’s gaining ground?

Photo of built-in lighted flooring in Homearama House #8
How cool is this built-in floor lighting in House #8? Combined with the modern staircase railings with glass make a remarkable statement without being too cold.

Like most homes, the great room is open to the kitchen and eating areas but this floorplan squeezed as many windows on the rear wall as possible. Combining the modern kitchen cabinets, hardware, and light oak flooring makes quite a modern statement.

This photo shows the great room of House #8, Stonehenge, by Welch Builders. Its long width allows a large number of windows along the rear of the home which bring in so much natural light.

Modern finishes aren’t the norm in Louisville new construction so real estate professionals like myself love to see something new hit the market.

Photo of Louisville New Construction Homearama House #3
Modern light fixtures like this one are becoming more and more popular in Louisville with national shows like we see on HGTV using them so often.

Trends in Louisville New Construction

To sum up, here’s what I see that stood out in this year’s Homearama.

  • Fewer vaulted ceilings, but still many tall ceilings.
  • Newfound priority is given to the mud room. Whether as a part of the laundry or not, providing usable space for coats, backpacks, shoes, etc. is now part of today’s new construction model.
  • More Ranch floorplans, even though overall square footage hasn’t dropped a great deal, with almost all basement square footage being finished.
  • Despite the desire to be more energy-efficient, builders are putting in as many windows as possible.
  • Exercise rooms are perhaps not mainstream to all Louisville new construction but definitely in these Homearama homes where almost all had a dedicated workout room.
  • Louisville watches HGTV and more modern and craftsman styles are starting to make inroads into homeowner’s minds.

After visiting all these great new construction homes, one visitor summed it up like this:

“Well, I just have to win the Mega Millions Powerball.”

Until next year!

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