Pine Bluff: Then and Now
We have shared with you our mission, vision, and hopes for Pine Bluff. Today, we are pleased to present you our architect’s views on the backstory behind this project. The incredible Jerry Gloss, from KGA, is a nationally recognized architect and housing industry speaker. Below you will learn about the team, design decisions, and most importantly the why behind our community.
That was then…
Many years ago, Reno hosted the Fall Board Meetings for the National Association of Home Builders. Home building industry leaders from across the country arrived in Reno to participate in business meetings that would guide the organization for the upcoming year. Walking out of one of the meetings I ran into a longtime friend and builder who expressed the desire to explore Reno and its housing communities. I told her, “I know the area very well from our design work here”, and offered a tour. She expressed the desire to see something special, something well executed…something that was flat out different. We drove to Caughlin Ranch. After driving through Caughlin Ranch, experiencing its amazing planning and landscaping, taking in the vistas, and walking numerous models and custom homes under construction, her comments were of amazement. In her years as a developer and builder, she thought that Caughlin Ranch may well have been the finest execution of planning, development and home design that she had ever seen in one community.
For numerous years prior to that impromptu tour, I had worked extensively with Al Means in Caughlin Ranch, designing multiple neighborhoods and dozens of custom homes. Working with Al was a pleasure – and a challenge. Like any visionary, he challenged everyone who worked at the Ranch to share the same vision he had and to raise the bar even higher. That is what I appreciated most about the process of working on the Ranch…the challenge to always raise the bar.
Over the years we have had the opportunity to work on projects across the country, gaining the firm national recognition. Caughlin Ranch is special and always will be.
This is now…
Last year I got a call from Al. After catching up and laughing about the events of the past, he told me that his sons Troy and Travis would follow up with me about designing the last community in the Ranch. “You were here at the beginning, it makes sense that you design the last piece” he said. How special is the opportunity to work with multiple generations? As they say, the apples haven’t fallen far from the tree. Troy and Travis were seeking design work that was distinctive, supportive of their vision, and fitting for the last project in Caughlin Ranch.
We designed 5 new plans for Pine Bluff. Like Caughlin Ranch itself, the new models are special. Before designing them, we talked about market trends, buyer demographics and expectations, and design approaches that would create “a stir”. The goal: to have prospective buyers enter the model and exclaim, “now that is what we have been looking for!”. We visited other markets, walked models, and talked about what I had seen nationally while judging housing award competitions.
After seeing some of our recent projects we talked about the teamwork that made them successful. Not just the teamwork between the architect and the builder, but the inclusion of an interior designer, a colorist to create exterior pallets, and how to get the word out that the project is special. Homecrafters put together a team that included an all-star group of consultants that we get the pleasure of working with often:
- Angela Harris and Trio Environments – interiors
- Rick Overby and Stella Color – exterior pallets
- Barb Anderson and Anderson Marketing – website and marketing materials
- Frank Rod and Group 4 Inc. – sales office design
Design Trends and the Pine Bluff Models
Design trends are always evolving. We spend a great deal of time anticipating design trends and market shifts. Here are the top design trends that influenced the homes at Pine Bluff:
Ease of Living: creating floor plans that make a home more efficient and easier to live in. We paid special attention to “task” spaces…kitchens, laundries and owner’s entries. You don’t have to be of retirement age to appreciate a home that functions logically or is easy to move around in.
I Deserve it Features: master baths have become luxurious retreats. Spa-like is the buzz word. I deserve it features have evolved as today’s buyers look for and appreciate value, and at the same time wish to “spoil” themselves with something indulgent.
Zoning for Privacy: ranch plans often suffer from poor visual privatization layouts. Zoning the homes at Pine Bluff was a priority. There are well-planned transition spaces and connectors that preserve privacy where privacy is expected. One test? You shouldn’t be able to throw a dinner roll from the dining room and hit the bed in the master bedroom (though it might be fun to try!).
Contemporized Exteriors: since the recession we’ve seen a seismic shift in buyer expectations from the ‘same old exterior styles’ to a much cleaner look. The exterior elevations at Pine Bluff are a blend of a contemporary aesthetics with a rusticated soul…perfect for Caughlin Ranch.
About the Author: Jerry is often called upon to address topics of industry design trends, market-driven design, builder/architect relationships, the design-build process, and cost-effective design methods.