Schlock.  What a crazy word.  Yiddish, I think.  The dictionary has it as:  – noun – Something of cheap or inferior quality; junk.  Or – adjective – Cheap, trashy; a schlock store.  I came across this term while reading The Elegant Solution by Matthew May.  I became hooked on his work after reading “In Pursuit of Elegance”  If you are the least bit interested in design at all then this book absolutely needs to be on your shelf.  Fascinating Read!

     Anyway, this fun, simple and descriptive word has spurred some considerable thought and conversation about the emerging direction of our remodeling, homebuilding and real estate community.  The world has certainly changed and what is taking shape is very refreshing.  We’ve all heard the debate and I know I’ve spoken a ton about the events that led to our downfall.  Of course, everything becomes a lot clearer when looking back upon it.  But what is Cool is that today’s homeowner’s are starting to ask for more.  As a builder and one who has put out a fair amount of Spec Inventory, I have been well aware of the mantra preached within the homebuilding realm that you should never build what you want, but rather, what the client is asking for.  The trouble with this approach is that most clients were following the wrong direction.  They had been convinced that their homes had better match or “compare” well with all of their neighbors and this became the primary motivator.  So the focus was set on acquiring the correct amount of options.  Items on the checklist that will bring the greatest ROI.  From the builders perspective, in order to introduce these new features, and stay price competitive, another area would need to be cut.  Things like HVAC systems, floor coverings and windows were all on the cutting room floor.  We looked anywhere and everywhere to trim costs.  Just ask the poor painter or framer what he felt about those days.  It was not uncommon for some of these guys to actually lose money to have the privilege of working for certain contractors.  Check out the latest blog post by our friends at Energy Vanguard to hear their take on the topic.

     But today is a New Day.  Buyers are customizing their homes.  Actually making them a reflection of their true identities rather than that of the bulk of generic housing shoppers of the past.  They are also becoming highly educated.  They want to know that they are making quality decisions.  They want to know that the design will remain satisfying for years to come.   And, they want to know that the project will provide them pleasure.  Ultimately, it needs to be sustainable. 

     One way to know for sure that this is actually taking hold is to look at what the major product manufacturers are doing.  Let me shine the spotlight on Marvin Windows for a second.  They have developed, and patented, the most amazing new manufacturing process that will enable these windows to virtually last forever.  The tensile strength of the material used for the frames is actually greater than that of steel.  The expansion and contraction rate is equal to that of glass.  That is 833% less than vinyl; and for that matter PVC.  Because the material is so stable, they are able to apply the most durable finish on the planet to them.    

This technology is so revolutionary, that Marvin is planning on converting all of their lines over to this type of construction, including their highest architectural series, in the very near future.  That is where the true testimony begins.  That is where aesthetics and sustainability come together.  I absolutely love this approach because now one of the most beautiful lines of windows out there is being built to the highest standards of performance available on the market today.  To learn more about Marvin and this technology, please visit the good people at www.avimarvin.com.

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