The seventh annual Parade of Homes show focuses on custom-built homes, designed to reflect the personality of their inhabitants.
The two-day event, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9 and 10 in homes throughout Northern Virginia, gives attendees a chance to speak with architects and developers and see the insides of some multi-million dollar dream homes.
“If they’ve ever thought about building a home, they can talk to experts and see the latest materials being used,” said Susannah Griffiths, a senior public relations account executive for The Bomstein Agency, which is coordinating the event.
CUSTOM HOMES are designed with input from the person buying the home, Griffiths said. “Everything is custom and hand picked by the buyer,” she said. “It’s something people look into, and the Custom Builders Council is trying to dispel the myth that it’s too expensive for the average home buyer.”
In most cases, a large chunk of the cost of a custom home is the land itself, she said.
In addition to seeing beautiful homes, the $10 ticket price goes to benefit the Ronald McDonald House at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
“Over the past few years, they’ve received $75,000 from the Parade,” Griffiths said.
Peter Tamburello is president of Keystone, LLC, a custom home building company and chairman of the CBC’s marketing committee. Keystone has one home on display this year, at 12312 Castle Branch Road in Fairfax.
“This home is approximately 4,500 square feet, has a glamorous family room and fabulous kitchen,” Tamburello said. The home is “98.7 percent finished at this point, we have some touch up and landscaping work to do.”
The Parade is a “perfect opportunity to display various types of custom buildings,” he said. For someone interested in building a custom home, the Parade allows for a display of ideas, options and how the “flair of personality of the home owner” can come through in the design.
“If you love to cook, you might want to make sure you have a large kitchen, lots of counter space, maybe two ovens,” he said. “Depending on the life a person, the general plan can be made to accommodate their needs and interests,” Tamburello said.
Having a custom-built home may be an excellent option for people in wheelchairs or with special needs.
“We can feature hallways, doors and bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs. Normal doorways are just too narrow,” he said.
PATRICK STACK, president of Jefferson Homes, has a home at 9745 Vale Road, Vienna, on display in this year’s parade.
Although he said the home is a 3,400 square foot colonial-style home, “the homeowner picked out a lot of interesting features for the inside of this home,” he said. “It shows you can take a regular house and make it personal to their specific tastes.”
The house is currently “90 percent completed,” with some final carpeting left to be installed, but “we hope we can generate some interest in two other homes we have built but not sold yet.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” Stack said of the Parade. “I meet a lot of people from Vienna, and I live and work here, so it’s nice to run a business close to home.”
“A lot of people just go to look at the homes, but we also get several potential buyers,” said Shannon Reese, office manager at Adrian Edwards Custom Homes Inc. They will have a home at 1034 Founders Ridge Lane, Great Falls, on display at the Parade.
“The house won’t be fully complete. It is fully dry-walled but there’s about four months of work left to do,” she said. “It’ll still give people the opportunity to see the workmanship of the house and our company through that phase and a feel of the size of the home.”
This is the fourth year Adrian Edwards has participated in the Parade, she said, and its participation in years past has proved profitable.
“If you look in respect of getting one sale from the two days for the Parade, it’s worth it,” she said. “Last year, the first day I think we had 300 people come through, so we get a lot of exposure from it.”
“We get people who just want to see a pretty home, what kind of cabinets and countertops people are getting,” Reese said. “But we also have people who ask a lot of questions, who are interested in building a custom home and what’s involved with that process.”
AS PRESIDENT of Chadsworth Homes, Tom Byrne said the home they have on display is a model home at 13120 Thompson Road in Fairfax.
“We’ll keep it on display for four or five months after its finished before we sell it,” he said. “It’s an all-brick house with a circular driveway and 10-feet-high ceilings on the first floor.”
The house is expected to be completed by the time of the show.
Having a model house on display is beneficial to those who attend the Parade, he said, because it “allows people to see what they’re getting and get a feel for the neighborhood the house is in,” he said. “It’s also a great way to get our name out there and it’s a nice thing to do, with all the money going to the Ronald McDonald House.”
Many people who will attend the Parade are looking for ideas for their own homes, Byrne said. “We might get one or two potential buyers, but probably 50 percent of people go on the Parade to see how they could remodel their own homes or look into their neighbor’s houses.”
As chairman of the Custom Builders Council’s marketing committee, Tamburello said it takes a year to find builders to participate in the Parade and to make sure there are homes to visit.
The easy part was selecting the Ronald McDonald House as the beneficiary of the event.
“We thought it would be the perfect charity to help because they do a lot of work in the housing area for sick kids and their families,” he said. “We wanted to provide assistance to people in the community.”
THE UNDERLYING LESSON from attending the Parade is that custom homes can be available in any price range.
“It’s all relative to their budget,” Tamburello said. “With an unlimited budget, you can have unlimited design control. Most people have something in mind they’ve seen somewhere they’d like to incorporate and we try to put it all together.”
“The bottom line is that you can alter the plans of the house and can create a plan to suit any budget.”