Builders identify four-seasons rooms as emerging new home trend
Epcon Communities’ four-season room is included in the base prices of the ranch villa homes being offered in Maples at the Sonatas in Woodstock. These 1,718- to 1,816-square-foot, maintenance free homes are priced from $179,990 to $229,990. | SUPPLIED P
Four seasons contacts
Gerstad Builders: (815) 385-4495, www.gerstadbuilders.com
Rock Creek Builders: (847) 338-3821, www.henningestates.com
Epcon Communities: (815) 334-0340, www.EpconCommunities.com.
With new home construction just starting to show signs of re-awakening, several local homebuilders have started to notice they have something in common.
Although they offer new homes in different price ranges and in different locations, they have each discovered that in 2011 and 2012, homebuyers are requesting the construction of four-season rooms.
Whether recognized by that name, or as verandas or sun rooms, homebuyers are putting money down with Gerstad Builders, Rock Creek Homes and Epcon Communities to build their new homes with this desirable feature.
Gerstad Builders constructs single-family homes in McHenry, Poplar Grove, Richmond and Williams Bay, Wis., that start as low as $150,000, and it attracts a range of first- and second-time buyers searching for value.
On the other hand, Rock Creek Homes builds luxury semi-custom ranch homes priced from $367,900 that are placed located in a rural, nature preserve-like environment. Rock Creek clients tend to be higher-income, move-up buyers, with teens close to leaving or having left the nest.
Epcon Communities is recognized as a builder that specializes in building ranch-style villas set in a maintenance-free environment that are attractive to retired people looking for a stair-free lifestyle. Constructed as four units per building, arranged in a pinwheel formation, each home shares only one common wall with its neighbor, and it is typically a garage wall to maximize privacy. Homes at Maples at the Sonatas in Woodstock have base prices from $179,990 to $229,990.
Though they fulfill the needs of different market segments, these builders are noticing that their respective customers are requesting that four-season rooms be added to their home while it is under construction.
Roger Gerstad, president of his namesake company, said at least four of his most recent closings have included the optional four-season room. This $15,000-dollar option is offered at Pheasant Ridge in Poplar Grove, Liberty Trails in McHenry, Dawson Creek in Richmond, and Bailey Estates in Williams Bay.
“Our four-season rooms typically add 168 square feet of sun-filled living space to an average home. In addition to adding space to the first floor, we also make our basement larger as well to accommodate the room. Thus for a small percentage increase on the base price of a home, the family is getting a total of 336 square feet of usable space,” emphasized Gerstad.
Panoramic vistas are also cited by Ryan VanLue of Rock Creek Builders at Henning Estates in Huntley as one of the reasons his buyers are requesting four-season rooms in his community.
“Our community has generously-sized homesites set in a rural environment that has the feel of a nature preserve because of its numerous lakes, ponds and tall grass prairies,” said VanLue. “Our buyers wish to bring a little bit of that feeling into their homes, and the only way to do that is to create a room with expansive walls of windows on several sides that allow great sitelines to the vistas outside.”
Every home that Rock Creek has built in Henning Estates has included an optional four-season room. According to the builder these rooms are usually 12-by-12 and 12-by-14 feet in size, placed toward the rear of the home. Floors are typically finished with hardwood or ceramic tile. With the natural light that fills these spaces, Rock Creek has discovered that the Henning Estates homeowner uses these rooms as a quiet place for reading or other relaxation.
Though four-season rooms typically appear in the rear of a home, Epcon Communities has placed these in the front of its homes. These two- or three-bedroom ranch villas with attached two-car garages offer 1,718 to 1,816 square feet of living space. For a limited time, the $9,700 cost to construct a four-season room is included in the base price of each villa ranch home.
Even in the past, before it was an included feature, every homebuyer who purchased a home in the community opted to install this popular amenity. These light-filled rooms with cathedral ceilings, French doors, ceiling fans and carpeting have three walls that are filled with large expanses of thermopane window glass. Dimensions for these rooms run from 14 feet 2 inches by 12 feet, to 15 feet 8 inches by 12 feet.
“We have discovered that our customers love to sit in their four-season rooms and read the newspaper, play crossword puzzles or watch TV,” said Carol Lyons, sales director at Maples at the Sonatas. “They also liked our idea of placing the room near the front of the home because it allows them to easily see what’s going on in the neighborhood and who’s coming to visit.”