Category Archives: News and Information

NAHB Federation Honors America’s Military Heroes

Monday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, and the NAHB federation salutes the sacrifices made by our nation’s military heroes as they risk their lives to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.

NAHB’s members and HBAs around the country are making sure that these military heroes have homes to come back to by working with military support groups such as Homes for Our TroopsOperation Finally Home, theMilitary Warriors Support FoundationOperation Coming Home and other organizations. They are helping these military heroes realize their own American Dream of homeownership by renovating, building and donating accessible homes designed specifically for the needs of a combat veteran. Two new videos show how NAHB members provide homes for injured veterans and how the Building Systems Council provided one veteran with a mortgage-free home. Contact: Gwyn Donohue (800-368-5242 x8447).

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Market Continues to Improve

Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market showed continued improvement in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter of last year, according to the most recent NAHB 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) analysis, which was released on Nov. 7. All segments of the market – single-family homes, multifamily condos and multifamily rental – recorded strong increases.

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two of the three market segments. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, traffic of prospective buyers and anticipated sales for the next six months are good, fair or poor. An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

The single-family 55+ HMI increased 14 points to a level of 50, the highest third-quarter number since the inception of the index in 2008 and the eighth consecutive quarter of year over year improvements. The multifamily condo 55+ HMI rose 14 points to 37, also the highest level since the inception of the index. Additionally, all of the 55+ multifamily rental components showed strong gains in the third quarter.

“We have seen steady improvement in the 55+ housing sector as buyers and renters are attracted to new homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire,” said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. “Although the market is significantly stronger than it has been in recent years, we still have a ways to go to get back to full production.”

According to NAHB Chief Economist Dave Crowe, “right now, the positive year over year increase in confidence by builders for the 55+ market is tracking right along with other segments of the home building industry. And like other segments of the industry, the 55+ market is improving in part because consumers are more likely to be able to sell their current homes, which allows them to buy a new home or move into an apartment that suits their specific needs.

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury Estate Plan, Essex House.

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Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house desgins offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Kitchen Decorating Ideas

Archival Designs‘ Luxury Mansion House Plan Monclay.

With winter upon us, here are some ideas to freshen up your kitchen!

Cozy Up

Outfit your banquette or breakfast nook with an ensemble of pillows. These pretty additions will decorate the eating space when it’s not in use and provide an extra layer of comfort when you are gathered around the table.

Display Stylish Artwork

Even though a kitchen is called upon to be highly functional, that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. Display artwork like you would in aliving room or bedroom. Consider vintage food or grocer signs to add collected flair, or a pretty painting for a more elegant vibe.

All Lit Up

Adequate lighting is a must for the functional aspect of a kitchen, but fortunately, this important element can also be highly decorative. With so many styles available, you can make a truly unique statement with light fixtures. In this kitchen, a large oblong lantern fixture crowns the island, while a matching, smaller fixture hangs over the sink.

Update Your Chairs

Give old chairs a boost by re-covering the seats or adding new cushions. Choose a fabric that goes with other elements within the kitchen so your new addition blends seamlessly.

Get Creative with Paint

Kitchens typically don’t have a lot of wall space, thanks to cabinetry, backsplashes, windows, and doorways. Use limited wall space as a chance to display a color you might not otherwise choose for a large wall or whole room. Here, a sable brown colors the space above the windows, which grounds the light kitchen. Also, look to the “fifth wall” of a room — the ceiling — as a place to add color with paint.

Shelf Space

Activate the space in front of a window as bonus storage. Mount shelves in front of the window by either anchoring them to the wall or along the sides of upper cabinets. This handy solution can also block a not-so-great outside view while allowing light to come in from the window.

Kitchen Gallery

Make your kitchen feel more like a living space by incorporating nonkitchen items into your decor. Oversize decorative letters put a signature on this kitchen, as does a collection of personal objects. This display is in a niche out of the kitchen’s main work core to keep it out of the way of splatters and leave space for kitchen essentials to be stored where they are used most often. Look to the top of your cabinets as another place to insert style.

Ceiling Star

Upgrade an existing light fixture by crowning it with a ceiling medallion. These affordable pieces are available at home centers in a variety of styles and sizes. Plus, they can be painted and are easy to install.

Archival Designs‘ Luxury Mansion House Plan Chateaubriand.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes,  English manor house plans, Tuscan-style villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans. Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!


Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs’ Luxury Mansion House Plan, Scarborough.


Call to Action: NAHB is asking members to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, (H.R. 3370 and S.1610), which was introduced in Congress last week to address problems stemming from implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.

Implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act has caused serious affordability concerns due to significant increases in flood insurance premiums. There are also concerns related to remapping of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps. If not corrected, these issues will severely impact the sale and construction of new homes as well as remodeling in many communities across the nation.

When the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act was introduced on Oct. 29, Rick Judson noted that “NAHB commends Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for championing identical bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House that will provide relief from soaring flood insurance premium rates for countless home owners across the nation.”

The provisions in the insurance reform bill, Judson said, “will prevent undue hardship on the recovering housing market, help current and future policyholders keep their premiums affordable, prevent home values from dropping, and make the National Flood Insurance Program more effective for years to come.”

Learn more about the legislation in the current issue of NAHB’s Washington Update. Go to BuilderLink to write your Senators and Representative to urge their support of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. Contact: Kedrin Simms Brachman (800-368-5342 x8413).

NAHB Weighs In on Proposed Credit Risk Retention Rule

NAHB scored an important victory for builders and home buyers in August when regulators withdrew a proposed qualified residential mortgage (QRM) standard that would have resulted in 20% downpayments becoming the market standard. At the time, the regulators set out a new proposal that would align the definitions of a qualified residential mortgage with the qualified mortgage (QM), a move that NAHB supports.

We followed up last week with extensive comments urging regulators to adopt a QRM standard that ensures safe mortgage lending and prudent underwriting standards and does not exclude large numbers of creditworthy borrowers from the opportunity to purchase a home. Specifically, we urged the federal agencies to adopt a revised definition of a QRM that equates with the definition of the QM that was included in the Ability to Repay standard scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 10, 2014. The QM provides sound underwriting criteria and excludes risky products such as negative amortization and no documentation loans, we noted in our comments. And importantly, the QM does not include a specific downpayment requirement.

NAHB also voiced strong opposition to a proposed alternative, called QM-plus, that would require a 30% downpayment and other more conservative underwriting criteria. In particular, NAHB is concerned that responsible consumers would be forced into more expensive mortgages simply because they do not have 30% or more for a downpayment.

Our comments also addressed commercial and multifamily real estate lending and urged the regulators to differentiate multifamily from other commercial real estate loans and to allow subordinate loans in order to ensure a stable and liquid market for multifamily financing. You can read NAHB’s extensive comments here. Contact:Jessica Lynch (800-368-5242 x8401).

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

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Fireplace Fillers

Archival Designs’ LuxuryCastle Chateau Melliant Fireplace.

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If you don’t use your fireplace for building cozy fires, or if you want to spruce up the space when it’s not in use, add a fun fireplace filler. Try these decorating ideas for fireplace displays.

Savvy Storage

Don’t let a nonworking fireplace become an unused area. A firebox is a small space that can be used for storage in a stylish way. Here, a simple wood box holding magazines fills the space, provides storage, and ties in the warm wood tone to the firebox. The rich finish of the wood floor is reflected in the same finish on the wooden box, which complements the natural brick on the hearth.

Plant and Grow

Place a large, leafy plant in front of your fireplace when it’s not in use to add a pop ofcolor to a dark firebox. The simple, chic white frame and mantel make the large black firebox stand out, but the green leaves and rattan basket add life to the area and prevent the firebox from overtaking the room.

Candlelit Elegance

Mimic the look of fire with a display of candles standing at attention in your firebox. Different height candlesticks inside the firebox give this dining room fireplace a different purpose. When choosing candleholders for a firebox, consider scale and the height of the fireplace to ensure your display looks balanced. Also, consider using battery operated candles for safety.

Light and Delicate

A birdcage is a unique filler that adds character to a simple fireplace. Its light and spindly frame brings a dainty, delicate look, which contrasts the solid, dignified mantel. The black firebox could stand out as a dark hole in the room, but the simple addition of a classic birdcage adds a lighter touch.

Translucent Color

Use fireplace fillers to complete a color scheme. This dining room boasts an aged, rustic palette of neutral colors, antique furniture, and worn materials. The tall fireplace is simple in color, but intricate in design. Round green and amber bottles inside the fireplace tie light tones together with the more natural, neutral tones of the room. The translucence of the bottles reflects the room’s natural light and adds subtle color to the room.

Framed Sculpture

A simple sculpture within a firebox adds a touch of personality to the design of a room. The dark backdrop of the firebox and the white surround perfectly frame a sculpture that complements the decor throughout the room. The light, neutral color palette could be interrupted by the black box, but a simple figure that follows the room’s color scheme prevents a break in the room.

White Spheres

Treat the firebox of a nonworking fireplace like you would any other display space. Consider using figurines and decorative orbs that fit with your room’s decor as fireplace fillers. A dark, black firebox interrupts the crisp whiteness of this living room and whitebrick fireplace. Rather than allow the gaping hole to stand out, an arrangement of white orbs guarded by two owl figurines adds lightness to the firebox to make its darkness less noticeable.

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Archival Designs’ LuxuryCastle Chateau Melliant Master Bedroom Fireplace.


Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Remodeling Market Index Rises for Second Consecutive Quarter

Today’s Luxury House Plan photos are those of Archival Designs‘ #1 Best Selling House Plan of all time, Westover.

NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI), which was released Oct. 24, continued to climb at a modest pace in the third quarter of 2013 rising two points to 57, the highest reading since the first quarter of 2004.

An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it is lower. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. The RMI’s current market conditions index rose from 54 in the previous quarter to 58, the highest reading since the creation of the RMI in 2001, driven partly by rising existing home sales.

All three major components of the RMI’s current market conditions index increased in the third quarter. Major additions and alterations increased from 51 to 55, minor additions and repairs from 55 to 58, and maintenance and repair from 57 to 59. The future market indicators component of the RMI remained even with the previous quarter reading of 56.

Regionally, the RMI has registered two consecutive quarters of gains in the Northeast, Midwest and West. In the South, the RMI edged down slightly in the third quarter after a five point gain the previous quarter. All four regions were above 50, and were higher in the third quarter than in the first quarter of 2013.

“In addition to existing home sales, which support remodeling activity as owners fix up their homes before and after a move, remodeling has benefitted from rising home values,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This boosts home equity that owners can tap to finance remodeling projects. We expect existing home sales and house prices to increase, but at a slower rate over the next year, so the demand for remodeling services should also increase, but more gradually over that period.”

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans. Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!