We invite you to take a 720º virtual tour through the beautiful American Spirit on the 2014 Street of Dreams in Happy Valley, Oregon.
Click below to explore the two-story home we at Westlake Development designed. Clicking the blue dots will take you to the welcoming great room, expansive kitchen, plush master bedroom, upstairs rec room, and spacious patio (which features beautiful Cascade Coil wire fabric). What do you think?
Have you visited the 2014 Street of Dreams? Will we see you there?
For many, building a custom home is as exciting as it is scary. It’s a commitment that requires time, money and patience. A common fear for homeowners is that by the end of the process, the home will be more reflective of the builder’s style than their own. The truth is, this can happen! That’s why it is so important to explore your options before deciding on the design team that will build your dream home.
Start with an Interview
In a previous blog post, we gave advice on how to research and narrow down your options for builders. Once you’re down to that select few, set up an interview with each of your top choices. Through this process, you will be able to more easily identify who you feel most comfortable working with. In many cases, the builder will have a trusted team of people, such as interior designs, who should be involved in the interview as well. It’s important to determine the knowledge and experience of the team, as well as their ability and willingness to help you make decisions that will best meet your design needs.
Put another way, it’s important that you feel really comfortable with your builder, because he or she will be finding out more about how you live than your friends even know!
Set the Standards
One of the many benefits of a custom home should be that it is completely unique to you, with modern-day conveniences that align with your lifestyle. Your builder should be interested in the way you live on a day-to-day basis, the rooms you spend most of your time in, whether you have kids or pets, whether you like to entertain, and everything else in between. This is why it is so important to find a builder who you feel comfortable building a personal relationship with. When a builder takes the time to learn this information, he or she will be able to give you options and recommendations that will best fit your lifestyle.
My biggest question for clients is: How do you live? What’s important to you? What do you like? What do you not like? It’s important for us to wrap our heads around these answers, because this will likely be the biggest decision you will ever make.
Continue to Communicate
Early on in the process, you want to establish guidelines around how often you will communicate and when it is appropriate for you to attend design team meetings. Clients are often not allowed on-site as it can be a safety concern. Having set meetings guarantees the opportunity for you to be involved in decisions being made at the time it is relevant. The design team is able to show you options based on your preferences that you may not have known about otherwise, such as advanced forms of technology and eco-friendly products. When you have strong design preferences, it is important to speak up sooner rather than later because unexpected changes midway through the process are likely to take you outside of your initial budget and off schedule.
In the end, nothing is more important than the client’s satisfaction with their home. Westlake Development strongly values the relationships with their clients from start to finish and beyond.
Selecting a lot is an incredibly important step, and one of the first steps you’ll take in the process of building your custom home. Different lots are suitable for different designs and may come with rules and regulations that limit your options. Collaborating with an expert builder during this phase can help guide you through these hoops and explain the design possibilities so that you can easily choose the perfect lot for your dream home.
While searching for your lot, here are a some key features to consider and some helpful tips to help you along the way.
1. Location – One of the most amazing parts about building a custom home is the ability to have your dream home in your dream location. It’s often the easiest decision to make since it stems from the lifestyle you want to live – do you prefer the country, suburbs or city? Choose a lot in the location that has the view you’ll enjoy most when you walk out your door and look out your window every day.
2. Commute – Once you know your ideal location, consider the ease and distance of your commute to places you visit frequently – work, the grocery store, shopping malls, school, church, healthcare, etc. If you are selecting a location you’re not familiar with, take a drive during the times you’d make your commutes to experience the traffic and time it takes to get to and from your destination.
3. Size, Shape, & Slope – The type of lot you choose within your desired area will have an impact on the overall design of your home. The lot size should be big enough for the home square footage you desire, in addition to yard space. Also think about the setback of the home, especially if it’s off of a busier street. It’s also important to consider the level of slope. Both flat and steep slope lots come with challenges. It’s beneficial to include your builder in the site selection process to understand what is possible.
4. Cost – As always, it’s important to consider the cost of your ideal lot. In addition to the initial cost of the lot, you need to factor in the cost of building the house as well as long-term costs such as property tax.
5. Landscape & Position – A lush view is often a priority for people investing in a custom home and may be the deciding factor in choosing a lot. When visiting lots, take a good look around you and consider the topography: the arrangement of the natural elements of the space. Also think about the direction of your house in relation to the sun. A house facing south will get sun most of the day and therefore a lot of natural light, while a house facing north will be darker and stay cool.
6. Building Essentials – Wherever you decide to build your home, take the time to learn about the area. There are numerous permits and regulations that come with building your dream home, but working with experts makes the process seamless!
Westlake Development Group has over 25 years of experience placing and constructing homes in the most structurally sound and cost-effective way, while also gaining all of the benefits the home site has to offer. By coming on board with clients as early as lot selection, Westlake can provide expert advice that can help in the decision-making process.
Westlake works closely with our architectural and engineering partners in the preparation and design of your dream home, from groundbreaking to completion.
Owner of Westlake Development Group, LLC, Gerald Rowlett, has a passion for buying local and building local, which he promotes through his nonprofit organization,Building A Better America Council. He has adopted a strategy known as SEE, which stands for: Social, Economic and Environmental Impact.
In celebration of Made in America Month this July 2014, we invite you to make a commitment to support our community by buying local!
Below we explain why we choose American Made products for our homes and how it positively impacts the SEE values.
WHY USE AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS
Quality – Building a Home to Last a Lifetime
When you commit to building a custom home, you want it to last a lifetime. One way to ensure that, is to select high quality products for your home. According to the United States Department of Commerce, inputs from a foreign supply chain may lead to lower product quality and costly returns.
Westlake development has built strong relationships with local manufacturers who stand behind their products and consistently produce innovative products that are built to last.
Social Impact – Building a Better Community
Building relationships with manufacturers and vendors of local and American made products forms a greater sense of community and pride in our country. These relationships with local vendors also create better experiences for clients who can be trusted to provide reliable and superior customer service.
Economic Impact – Building a Stronger Economy
Did you know that if all builders committed to using 5% more American made materials it would create 220,000 more construction jobs? As a member of the Building A Better America Council, Westlake Development Group LLC commits to using at least 90% American Made products in all of their homes, which supports our community and boosts our economy.
Environmental Impact – Building a Sustainable Future
Choosing local and American made products reduces the carbon footprint from shipping goods overseas, which improves the long-term condition of our environment. Shipping locally also reduces delivery costs and may help to prevent miscommunication and delays in the process. Together we can create a cleaner, more sustainable future by buying local!
This year’s Street of Dreams home, the American Spirit, built by Westlake Development and designed by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, has created 6 new direct jobs and 9 new indirect jobs, just by choosing to use American made products. It also boasts one of the lowest carbon footprints in the country! Westlake Development’s buy local, build local mentality makes dreams come true for not only the homeowner, but for individuals in our community, too!
Building your dream home can be one of the most important and rewarding things that you do in life. Finding the perfect place to live and constructing a home that fits you perfectly can be a dream come true.
But the builder you choose can make or break you custom home project. There are many different custom home builders out there and not all of them will be the right fit for you.
There are several things you can do to prepare yourself and help narrow your options. So that you can make the best decision possible and ensure that you have a wonderful custom home building process.
We will teach you what you need to do to find the best custom home builder for you. Giving you the tools you need to build the home of your dreams.
Commit To Your Project
Before you begin your search for the perfect builder, make sure that you are 100% committed to your project.
Set your investment amount, ideal start and finish date, and create a must-have list of your expectations for the finished home. It’s also important to know the level of involvement you want in the project – whether you want the builder to select materials and finishes, or you want to make those decisions.
Before you put in too much time and effort, you will want to be sure that you are ready to build your dream home from start to finish.
Tip: If you have a tight budget, put your money towards quality materials rather than more square footage. It will pay in the long run.
Requirements To Look For
Finding the custom builder that is right for you rests on a lot of different details.
There are many important things to consider about the builder who you will be working with, including the following:
Experience & Credentials
Licenses & Insurance
Working with Allowances
Flexibility with Floor Plans
Specialty & Expertise
Awards & Recognition
Management & Team Support
Communication with Clients
All of these vary from builder to builder and can have a large impact on your custom home building process.
Take Notes & Ask Questions
Start by compiling a list of local builders in your area. You can find custom builders on the HBA website, newspaper, or from local real estate agents.
Now, start your research. Luckily, several resources are available for you to find the answers you need.
Online Reviews & Research - Reviews are powerful and are noted to have a strong influence on people’s buying decisions. Keep an eye out for positive comments that refer to the reliability, communication, and long-term satisfaction that past clients experienced.
Check the company’s website and social media sites to see their portfolios and read more about the company’s values. When a builder has an up-to-date website and is moderately active on social media, it’s a sign that they care about their business and are upstanding members of the building community.
Online research can help narrow down your list of local builders. Identifying the top rated companies that you’ll want to find out more about.
References – Don’t be afraid to ask builders for a list of references, they’re probably the best resource out there! The HBA may be able to connect you to references, as well.
Before reaching out to these people, prepare a list of questions you want to ask, and don’t forget to take notes!
Did the builder finish on time and on budget?
Were they knowledgeable and helpful in making decisions?
Was the quality of work and materials a priority?
Was there a relationship of trust and open line of communication?
If problems occurred, did they respond quickly?
Was it apparent that they work with a strong team?
Were the organized and timely?
Did they respect and understand your needs?
Did the builder have a vision for your home?
Overall, would you recommend this builder?
Inside View – After speaking with references, you might want to take it a step further and actually go to see their custom home, with their permission of course. Home Shows in your local area are also a good opportunity to see homes up close.
Making The Decision
You think you’ve found the builder that’s right for you, now what?
Contact the custom builder to get an estimate in writing that clearly outlines everything that will be achieved by the end of the project. Once you are given a contract, read it. It may be worth your time to go over it with a real estate lawyer so that you have a clear understanding of what can be expected.
Important things to look for include: dates, guarantees on estimates, performance goals, and warranties.
Working With Westlake Development
If you are looking for custom home builders in Portland Oregon, you will find that Westlake Development stands out above the rest.
We have a passion for improving our economy by adding to our local workforce, buying local, and building local.
Buying locally also has a positive impact on the environment as less energy is necessary to ship our products. Also, using local products ensures that the products are superior and manufactured in strict environmental conditions.
Gerald Rowlett, owner of Westlake Development Group LLC, is an advocate for his clients. He values the friendships that are formed throughout the custom building process and he begins every project by listening to the client’s needs. Fully understanding a client’s lifestyle so that he can build a home that is just for them.
“The builder should have a vision for the client’s home and be able to bring something more to the table than just building a house. I tell clients all the time, anyone could have built this house off of a plan – it’s really about a good relationship. It’s important for the client to feel really comfortable with the builder and for the builder to grasp how they live – that’s when you can truly build a custom home for someone.” – Gerald Rowlett Westlake Development Group LLC
Here’s a look back building the American Dream home in the 2013 Street of Dreams.
Westlake’s Made in America home, the first ever to be featured on a Street of Dreams, The American Dream, won 5 prestigious People’s Choice Awards including Best in Show, Best Outdoor Space, Best Landscaping, Best Master Suite, Best Interior Design!
The American Dream, Westlake Development’s 1st American made home to ever be showcased on a Street of Dreams is featured on KGW – Channel 8 News
Related Street of Dreams Articles
NW Natural Street of Dreams showcases all things local and all things made in America
By Jon Bell HBA Home Builders News
Garrison Hullinger of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design speaks with Janice Bangs about the Portland Home & Garden show’s first Made in America model home for a Channel 2 AM Northwest segment
Portland Home & Garden Show video featuring Alison of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design
Gerald Rowlett of Westlake with Holly Resnick for a Portland Home & Garden Show segment
In just 36 short hours, we took our Portland Home & Garden Show model home from this…
August 13, 2012 Well our Made in America Homes project went Global today when the Official Central News Agency of Taiwan’s US correspondent Ling-Ju interviewed me for their Asian Affiliates. Within a couple hours over 22 thousand likes were reported on Chinese Yahoo. It has now been viewed across the globe from Europe to Asia. New Tang Dynasty Television, a major Chinese TV station headquarters in New York, picked up the story almost immediately.
View the article on their site. Hit translate at the top of the page, to translate the text to English.
August 7, 2012
Westlake Development is getting ready to break ground on our 2nd Made in America home! Check out this video to see the new site at Edge Cliff Estates in Carver, Oregon.
May 25, 2012
On May 25, 2012, Westlake Development Group sponsored a roundtable on the first Made in America home built in the Northwest with special guest, Senator Jeff Merkley. In addition to homeowners, Larry Kitchen and Toniya Villalobos, attendees included various business owners and associates directly involved with the success of the Made in America project.
May 14th, 2012
What a crazy few weeks it has been! After being highlighted on a few of our local channels — we have now hit national news! Being featured on Channel 2 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer! Check out the video below to see the segment, as well as an article we have been mentioned in.
‘This Can Be Done’: Builders Take Up American Made Home Pledge
May 10, 2012
Westlake Development Group received a letter from Governor Kitzhaber congratulating us on our first Made in America home build in the Northwest!
Read Letter from Governor Kitzhaber here.
April 28th, 2012
Westlake Development received over 1,000 visitors as the premier home in the Home Builder Association of Metro Portland’s Ultimate Open House event!
April 26th, 2012
Ribbon Cutting of our 1st Made in America House in Lake Oswego, Oregon
Here’s our Made in America ribbon cutting segment that was aired on KGW New Channel 8 by business reporter Joe Smith.
April 25, 2012
Westlake Development Group received a letter from Senator Ron Wyden congratulating us on our first Made in America home build in the Northwest!
Read Senator Wyden’s Letter here.
April 10th, 2012
Here’s a little update on the progress of the house and how it’s all coming together!
April 3rd, 2012
Headed down to KEX Radio 1190AM today to do another interview with Mark and Dave! Check out the article, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to listen to the full interview. KEX 1190AM | Our House is 100% Made in America
March 30th, 2012
KATU Channel 2 News with Melanie Wingo aired our Made in America segment last night! If you missed it you can check out the video and article here- KATU Channel 2 News | Made in America
March 28th, 2012
Headed into the KXL studio today to do a radio commercial for LP Building Products. While I was there, I stopped in to discuss our Made in America Home project with Lars Larson! Check out the clip below the picture for the interview-
March 19th, 2012
We’re onsite with reporter Melanie Wingo and her cameraman Paul from KATU Channel 2 News, doing an interview for our Made in America project. Be sure to watch the Channel 2 News segment!
March 7th, 2012
Bob Strong from KXL Radio’s “Around the House with Handyman Bob” stopped by our site today as we are working to meet our deadline for The Ultimate Open House show in April. Listen to what he has to say!-
February 29th, 2012
Finally getting caught up on paper work after a successful week at Portland Home and Garden Show! What a great to way to get the word out about Westlake Development Group LLC and our Made in America Home. Now, on to getting ready for the Ultimate Open House that starts April 28th. Watch for advertising on TV and radio where you will get an opportunity to come see it, fully furnished with Made in America products as well.
February 22nd, 2012
We’re going to be in the Portland Home & Garden Show February 22nd to the 26th at the Portland Expo Center in Hall D. Make sure you stop by this weekend to check out our booth and learn more about our Made in America Home! We’re underneath the big American Flag, so you can’t miss us!
February 1st, 2012
It the first of the month! A beautiful day and everyone was still hard at work- preparing to side the home, framers finishing up the interior, installing windows and the electricians finishing up the wiring. We’re all excited and getting ready for the Portland Home and Garden show at the end of this month!
January 28th, 2012
Stopped in the studio today to sit down and talk with Handyman Bob from FM 101 KXL about our Made in America project. We are excited to continue getting the word out there! Tune in here-
January 12th, 2012
Today another article was released and featured in the Lake Oswego Review and the West Linn Tidings about our home! Check out the story here-Close to home.
January 10th, 2012
Our project received more attention today from Victoria Taft on 860AM this afternoon! Listen here for the full interview-
January 6th, 2012
After completing the mechanical and plumbing under the floor, we are currently decking the floor ready for the exterior walls on Monday. We’re very proud to have our project presented on a channel KOIN 6 News segment tonight. Also had an interview with Bob Miller on 860AM this morning about our project! If you missed it, tune in here to hear the full interview-
November 27th, 2011
This week we have begun the demolition of the Lake Grove house for the ‘Made in America’ project. The existing structure has been donated to the Lake Oswego Fire Department for valuable training exercises. Westlake Development Group is in the process of removing the remains of the old structure and plans to begin construction on the new home next week.