The Invisibly Universal House

Two sisters—a builder and an academic specializing in universal design—have built a gold standard for accessible housing.

By:  Claire Easley,

View the article and see a slideshow of pictures by clicking here.

The industry would be hard pressed to find a duo better suited to the task of creating the poster child for universally designed homes than the Tauke sisters. Susanne Tauke, owner of Hawthorn Woods, Ill.–based New American Homes, has been a home builder for 30 years. Her sister, Beth, is a professor of architecture at SUNY Buffalo and works with the university’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center), a premier research center on universal design in the built environment.

So when they got the opportunity to team up on a universal design project house, they jumped at the chance. Their resulting brain child, the LIFEhouse—a 1,992-square-foot, ranch-style home near Antioch, Ill., that recently won the National Association of Home Builders’ Best of 50+ Housing Award—is a trifecta of beauty, brains, and accessibility.

Read more

The Taylor Family is thrilled with their new custom home, Dreambuilder Ten

“Best home buying experience imaginable!” was the first thing Barry and Pam Taylor had to say after they purchased Dreambuilder Ten.  The Taylors and their three children have settled in and are now enjoying their new custom home in The Sanctuary, located in south Jacksonville Beach.

Together with Dreambuilder Eleven, Dreambuilder Custom Homes listed Dreambuilder Ten when it went into the drywall phase of construction.  Just five weeks later, the Taylors contracted to purchase the home.  This allowed the Taylors to customize the home with additional tile on the first floor, a screened in porch and the conversion of the upstairs loft into a fifth bedroom.  “Working with Shawn [Starr, Dreambuilder president] was nothing like my past experiences with new construction homes,” said Barry Taylor.  “Shawn made it a stress free and fun experience that we actually enjoyed.”

Read more

Six questions to ask when shopping for homeowners insurance

NEW YORK – Feb. 21, 2012 – Homeowners should work with experts to determine the type of homeowners insurance they need and the amount of coverage.

“Besides knowing the basics of what a standard homeowners insurance policy covers, consumers should ask a series of questions – and receive satisfactory answers to each of them – before buying a new policy or renewing an existing one,” says Michael Barry, vice president, media relations, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). I.I.I. is a nonprofit, communications organization supported by the insurance industry.

According to I.I.I., there are six basic questions everyone should ask before buying or renewing a homeowners insurance policy:

Read more

30-year mortgage rates are still at record 3.87%

Interest rates on the 30-year fixed mortage remain at records lows, currently at 3.87%.  This is the lowest level the rate has ever been since record-keeping began in the 1950s. Every $100,000 financed would have a payment of $470.  This makes the payment on a $500,000 mortgage only $2,350.  By comparison, a few years ago…

Read more

More testimonials from delighted Dreambuilder clients!

Here are some great testimonials from our buyers on Dreambuilder Ten and Eleven, our houses in The Sanctuary.  Both closed in December and are enjoying life in their new custom homes! “It was indeed a fortunate day for my husband and me when our Realtor called and said that she had learned of new construction in…

Read more