Building Smart: A Guide to the Right-Sized Home

Posted: January 22, 2016 at 10:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Building your new home is a significant investment. The financial cost, time commitment and environmental impact resonate with everyone. From young Millennials drawing upon their nest egg for the first time, to Boomers looking to retire in their idyllic abode, the decisions surrounding the scale of your home’s design warrant both practical and emotional considerations.

The average home size in the United States has nearly doubled in the last 60 years. Because of this, “big and bland” has become commonplace, and the end result is a largely generic home market that reflects very little of the lifestyle of today’s homebuyer.

This poses an essential question for those building a new home: “What’s right for me?”

While the answers to are (and should be) personal, there are some general principles you can use in the design process to ensure your home meets your needs and suits your sensibility.

Know Yourself.
“The best way to begin a new project is for you — the owner — to reflect on what you bring to it: knowledge, needs, desires, aspirations and personal opinions. You provide the resources to realize your expectations.” — David Haviland, American Institute of Architects

The first step to envisioning your right-sized home is a thoughtful look at what defines you. By asking yourself the following questions, you can begin shaping the spaces of your new home all on your own:

  • What is a typical day like in your current home?
  • Where do you feel the most comfortable?
  • When do you find that your needs exceed the capacity of your home? (e.g. holidays, dinner parties, sleepovers, etc.)
  • What is the one space, element or feature you cannot live without?

You should never be inhibited by the size of your home. Your physical characteristics are as important, if not more, to your design considerations. Your stature and mobility should be reflected in both the scale and layout. Consider consolidating the main rooms (owner’s suite, living room, laundry, etc.) on one floor — this is one element in ranch and cottage styles that are popular among older homebuyers. Ceiling heights should vary between rooms based on their use (think: cabinet access).

Stair runs and landings can be configured to provide a comfortable place to rest between floors. Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

Stair runs and landings can be configured to provide a comfortable place to rest between floors. Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

If You Don’t Use It, Lose It.
A quick way to hone in on the right size for your home is to eliminate spaces and design elements that are under-utilized and excessive. Is a two-story foyer, jacuzzi tub or formal living room really essential to your lifestyle? The ultimate goal should be to have no spaces that are unused, unwanted or unconsidered.

Combine. Integrate. Diversify.
No matter which word you use to describe it, finding multiple uses for everything in your home is a way to maximize functionality and character. Movable partitions, like sliding barn and pocket doors, can unify or compartmentalize spaces.

Hall Seating_Allen Kennedy Photography

Hallways are notoriously boring. Why not integrate bookshelves or bank seating to make that walk from your kitchen to your bedroom something you actually embrace? Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

Combine the functions of your office, laundry, mud room and craft room into a single space for the perfect creative and operational hub. Photo Credit: Mike Miriello Photography

Combine the functions of your office, laundry, mud room and craft room into a single space for the perfect creative and operational hub. Photo Credit: Mike Miriello Photography

Family Room Built-ins_Allen Kennedy Photography

There are also wonderful opportunities within the structure of your home to accommodate storage. Bench seating, stairs and built-ins can claim typically overlooked spaces to hold your daily essentials in a beautiful way. Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

“Right” Doesn’t Have to Mean “Small.”
While many of the design strategies for right-size living suggest consolidating, there are plenty of incentives that come from “going big” with certain elements in your home.

Sliding Doors_Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Large openings can bring the outside in, making these spaces dynamic with framed views, abundant light and natural ventilation. Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

For today’s homeowners, kitchens are often the epicenter of family life and social gatherings. A kitchen island that can accommodate seating, storage and meal preparation is going to be large! Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

For today’s homeowners, kitchens are often the epicenter of family life and social gatherings. A kitchen island that can accommodate seating, storage and meal preparation is going to be large! Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Choose Wisely.
You know what you want, but designing a home often requires decisions you may not have considered. It is important that you find the right fit with your architect and builder — a team that will help guide you through the process and take care of you along the way. This will help you make sure your next home is one that you will not want to leave!


Guest blog courtesy of W.C. Ralston Architects, an architecture and planning firm that has built an enduring reputation for design excellence in homes, neighborhoods, and communities across the Mid-Atlantic region. Learn more at

Get a Fantastic New Home Without the Wait. Don’t Miss Our Move-In-Now Supplement.

Posted: January 15, 2016 at 10:59 am by: NewHomesGuide

15Jan_BlogAre you looking for a brand new home, but you’re not looking forward to waiting through months of construction? Choosing a Move-In-Now Home means that you can get a thoughtfully upgraded, perfectly located new home in a fraction of the time it would take to build from the ground up.

Our new Move-In-Now supplement is available as part of your free New Homes Guide subscription and will help you find hundreds of immediate delivery homes from the region’s top homebuilders. With the help of the latest edition of New Homes Guide, complemented by this FREE supplement, you can see which homebuilders have immediate delivery homes available. Finding the right home that’s ready now at the right price, right location and in the right school district just got even easier.

The Move-In-Now supplement is part of the latest New Homes Guide issue, so order your FREE guide today and get moving sooner!

From Resolution to Reality: New Homes Guide Can Help You Find Your Dream Home in 2016

Posted: December 30, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

For many new home shoppers, the list of New Year’s resolutions includes finding a dream home in the upcoming year. But like most resolutions, figuring out how to accomplish this goal can be difficult.

Friends girls

Fortunately, New Homes Guide has all the resources you’ll need to find the perfect place to call home in 2016. Here are the best ways to get started:

  • Order New Homes Guide and Supplements — Reserve your FREE copy of New Homes Guide, and you’ll get access to the most comprehensive resource for your home search. Featuring listings for every new single family home, townhome and condominium community in the area, this is the guide that has helped shoppers find their dream homes for 40 years. Enhance your search by including additional supplements with your order!
  • Subscribe to eAlerts— Stay connected with New Homes Guide with both monthly and targeted email alerts. Our monthly newsletter keeps you updated on the latest trends and introduces you to new, upcoming communities. Targeted email alerts inform you about new communities in your area of interest, grand openings, planned events, special incentives and more.
  • Utilize Search Tools on — features a powerful search function that allows you to filter results by home style, community type, available amenities, price range and more.
  • Access Resources on Our Blog — Our blog provides you with important insight, advice and information to help guide you during your home search and buying process.
  • Like Us on Facebook — Get the Mid-Atlantic’s only complete resource to every new home community right on your Facebook News Feed. Say hello or just stay connected with us by following our official Facebook page!
  • Find a Copy of New Homes Guide at Local Stores — Add New Homes Guide to your grocery list! Print editions of the guide are available at 30 local Safeway stores and 40 local Harris Teeter stores.

For even more resources for your new home search, including photo galleries, videos and more, visit our website today!


Showcasing the Area’s Best with Our ‘12 Days of Model Homes’

Posted: December 11, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Much like the carol that’s become a holiday favorite, our “12 Days of Model Homes” will be giving a look at one of the area’s most beautiful model homes each day for 12 days.

Beginning on Sunday, December 13, we’ll showcase a new model home from the region’s top homebuilders each day until December 24 on our Facebook page.


The Oxfordshire model at Willowsford Greens in Aldie, VA built by K. Hovnanian Homes. Image courtesy of Maxine Schnitzer Photography.

Each model home will give you a chance to get inspired for your new home and give you a look at what’s possible with New Homes Guide and the builders that are dedicated to making your dream home a reality.

Don’t miss any of our “12 Days of Model Homes” — Like New Homes Guide on Facebook today.


Partner with the Perfect Homebuilder to Build the Perfect Home

Posted: December 10, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

In today’s market, smart consumers are just as concerned with which builder they buy from as they are with the new home they ultimately buy.

To help our readers to be the most informed new home shoppers in the area, we offer this special supplement — the Building Leaders of 2016.

It contains informative profiles on the companies behind the communities, and the people behind the companies. Special sections highlight some of the best new Planned Communities and Active Adult Communities to watch in 2016.

All of the companies and communities featured in Building Leaders of 2016 are advertisers in New Homes Guide, so be sure to look for their ads in your current issue.

Take a minute to learn more about the Building Leaders of 2016!

Van Metre Homes

Building Leaders 2016

Arcadia Communities — A family-owned company that focuses on including features in its homes that other homebuilders offer only as upgrades.

Brookfield Residential — Building with families in mind, Brookfield Residential is committed to creating the best places to call home, near great schools and amenities.

CarrHomes — An 85-year tradition of excellence in community location and planning combines with an emphasis on design, environmental and historical sensitivity, craftsmanship and customer service.

Caruso Homes — Building custom homes for people who are unwilling to settle for standard, Caruso Homes offers distinctive home designs throughout Maryland.

Centex — Making the homebuying process easy and affordable, Cantex builds homes that fit the way you live.

Comstock Homes — A company that’s committed to providing its homebuyers with unparalleled quality and value in its new home while maintaining its award-winning customer service.

Craftmark Homes — Dedicated to quality construction, energy-efficient design and affordable luxury, Craftmark Homes is a conscientious homebuilder with communities throughout Maryland and Virginia.

Dan Ryan Builders — Privately owned and locally focused, Dan Ryan Builders is a regional homebuilder operating in six states with a mission to provide the best value in homeownership.

Drees Homes — One of today’s most respected homebuilders, the family-owned and operated company offers award-winning floorplans and innovative home designs.

EYA — Since 1992, EYA has built more than 4,000 homes with a commitment to design and innovation in urban neighborhoods throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

Greentree Homes — Creating distinctive communities throughout the greater Washington region, Greentree Homes has earned a reputation for delivering great value, timeless designs and long-term customer satisfaction.

Hazel Homes — Quality of life, amenity-rich community design and customer service-driven management define Hazel Homes communities, which are home to more than 15,000 families.

The Hylton Group — Standing behind the quality of the home it builds, The Hylton Group offers extended warranties so homeowners can enjoy peace of mind.

Integrity Homes — Taking a hands-on approach with every home they build, Integrity Homes is known for its award-winning architecture and design.

K. Hovnanian Homes — Since 1959, this nationally recognized homebuilder has provided buyers with exciting home designs that suit their tastes, budgets and lifestyles.

Lennar Maryland & Lennar Virginia — Dedicated to building excellent homes in some of the most desirable cities across the nation, Lennar has been one of America’s leading homebuilders since 1954.

M/I Homes — Since 1976, M/I Homes has served more than 77,000 customers with the promise that their homes are built with uncompromising quality, superior design and enduring value.

Mid-Atlantic Builders — Taking inspiration from the world’s finest custom living concepts, Mid-Atlantic Builders empowers architects to continually innovate and improve upon their award-winning designs.

Miller & Smith — They’re a passionate team that’s dedicated to bringing new ideas to life and creating extraordinary homes and communities for people who demand something different.

Pulte Homes — With operations in 25 states, Pulte Homes is one of America’s largest homebuilders, and since 1950, the company has delivered more than 500,000 new homes.

Richmond American Homes — For more than 35 years, Richmond American has built new homes with a commitment to customer service from start to finish.

Ryan Homes — Over the past 60 years, Ryan Homes has built new homes with the promise of unparalleled customer service, innovative design, quality construction and an affordable price.

Stanley Martin Homes — Utilizing a nine-step process, Stanley Martin Homes puts an emphasis on keeping its customers actively involved in the homebuilding process.

Toll Brothers — An unwavering commitment to customers can be seen in the more than 82,000 luxury homes built by Toll Brothers in prestigious locations throughout 19 states.

Van Metre Homes — Since 1955, locally based and family-owned Van Metre Homes has developed some of the area’s most sought-after planned communities.

Want to learn even more about these homebuilders and the communities they’ve created? Reserve your FREE copy of New Homes Guide and be sure to add our free Building Leaders 2016 supplement to your order.


‘Choices Galore’ From the Region’s Finest Homebuilders, Planned and Active Adult Communities

Posted: November 24, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

The Washington, D.C., area is home to more homebuilders than almost any other large metropolitan area. That’s critical for homeshoppers because it translates to choices, lots and lots of choices, as you prepare to make one of the biggest purchases of your life.


You’ll find builders and communities of every shape and size here. National homebuilders, regional builders, local and custom builders, each one offering something different for the diverse needs of today’s homebuyers. Some focus on price and square footage, and others on cutting-edge design and architecture. Some build 10 homes a year and others build 700 a year. You’ll find enclave communities with five homes and Master Planned Communities so expansive that they have their own schools and zip code. It’s all here for you – the right location, the right price, the right homestyle, the right lifestyle, the right community. Something for everyone.

To make sure you see all those choices, check out our annual supplement, Building Leaders of 2016 on page 241. It features profiles from the area’s finest Homebuilders, Planned and Active Adult Communities. Each profile lends insight into the building company’s mission or vision, awards won, charities they support, number of homes built, areas they build in, homestyles, prices, etc. You’ll also find beautiful photos of some of their best home designs, models and communities. Each homebuilder or developer featured has ads in this issue of New Homes Guide so you can shop and compare.

Building Leaders of 2016 – it’s our version of ‘The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’. It’s a ‘must read’ if you’re in the market for a new home in the DC metropolitan area.

Now, get out there and shop for a new home today. And don’t forget to tell the builders that the folks at New Homes Guide sent you!



Leslie Strittmatter, Publisher

New Homes Guide /


Building with the Best Just Got Easier with Our FREE Supplement

Posted: November 13, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

13Nov_BlogYou know that you’re ready to move, and you’ve picked out the perfect location, so the next step is to decide who is going to help you build your new home and turn your dream into reality.

With all of the homebuilders in the area, it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to deciding who you should work with. Fortunately, New Homes Guide has put together a comprehensive list of the area’s top homebuilders in the 2016 Building Leaders supplement.

Forget the guesswork—with the help of the latest edition of New Homes Guide, complemented by this FREE supplement, you can see which homebuilders are among the best in the industry, so you can make a more informed, confident decision.

Within the pages of this supplement, you’ll find information about builders that provide homebuyers with excellent design, high-quality construction and incredible amenities. We go over any awards the builder may have won, the areas they serve, the price ranges for their homes and more to help you find the perfect partner in your homebuilding process.

Order your FREE copy of our Building Leaders supplement today so that you can find the best homebuilder and be the best informed new home shopper in the area.

First Things First: K. Hovnanian Homes is Featured on the Cover of the New November/December Issue

Posted: November 6, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Cover_KHOV_withborderSometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Before you ever break open the November issue of New Homes Guide, the most comprehensive resource for your new home search, you’ll get a taste of what a commitment to quality looks like from our friends at K. Hovnanian Homes.

With a history of building communities of excellence that spans over seven decades, K. Hovnanian Homes offers homebuyers the value of years of award-winning standards in homebuilding quality and a commitment to customer satisfaction. The talented, experienced team at K. Hovnanian Homes has dedicated its legacy to hundreds of locations nationwide, including 40 communities in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, and we think they make a great addition to the timeline of New Homes Guide covers.

Order your free copy of New Homes Guide today, and you’ll get a look at the fantastic new homes and communities from K. Hovnanian Homes and dozens of other top builders.


What Are Mid-Atlantic Home Shoppers Looking For? The Numbers Tell the Story.

Posted: October 30, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

30OctAs the region’s leading new homes resource for more than 40 years, we’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about home shoppers.

It’s constantly evolving, but the information that visitors are searching for on paints the clearest, most up-to-date picture of what’s in demand in the Mid-Atlantic.

We recently crunched the numbers for a year’s worth of online home searches. Here are some of the highlights:

Top 5 County Searches Top 5 City Searches
1. Montgomery County, MD 1. Ashburn, VA
2. Loudoun County, VA 2. Bowie, MD
3. Prince George’s County, MD 3. Stafford, VA
4. Anne Arundel County, MD 4. Chantilly, VA
5. Howard County, MD 5. Upper Marlboro, MD


Top 5 Armed Forces Searches Top 5 Amenity Searches
1. Andrews Air Force Base, MD 1. Clubhouse
2. Fort Belvoir, VA 2. Swimming Pool
3. Walter Reed National Medical Center, MD 3. Park/Open Space
4. Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA 4. Tennis Courts
5. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, MD 5. Playground


Top 5 Option Searches
1. Immediate Delivery
2. Single-Family Home
3. 3-4 Bedrooms
4. 1st Floor Master Suite
5. Planned Community


The great thing about New Homes Guide is that no matter where you’re looking or what you want in your new home, you can find it with the help of New Homes Guide. Try it out. Start your search today!

Collect Your Free Gift Card Just for Shopping with New Homes Guide

Posted: October 23, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

23OctIt doesn’t cost a dime to use New Homes Guide, but it can pay off in so many ways.

When you join our New Homes Guide Rewards program, you’ll get a free $200 gift card once you’ve purchased your new home. And you can get a free $50 gift card just for shopping at any four new home communities.

Redeeming your rewards is a simple process. You’ll choose a gift card from among two dozen of the region’s most popular restaurants, home stores and retail outlets. It’s a small token of our appreciation for using New Homes Guide to assist in your search.

We take care of our Realtor friends, too. If you’re using an agent, remind them that they can get their own $50 gift card for bringing clients to visit four new home communities.

We’re glad you’ve chosen to include New Homes Guide in your search process. Make the most of it. Sign up today and start collecting your New Homes Guide Rewards!

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