Super Times Three: Meet Our Crew At Gallery Park

Rob Hiltner, Dave Boyer and Danny Swanigan (pictured left to right) are three reasons Gallery Park is one of Clarksburg, Maryland’s most successful new townhome communities.

As Construction Superintendents for our Metropolitan Collection, National Gallery Collection and Cassatt MPDU homes, they’re responsible for managing day-to-day onsite operations and a team of craftsman and subcontractors that can number in the dozens at any given time.

We wanted to know their thoughts on what it takes to be an effective leader, so we asked them point blank: What are the character traits you need in order to be a great Construction Superintendent?

Danny, who’s been with Miller & Smith for 19 years said you have to be a decisive leader, fair with vendors, and really organized.

Especially at Gallery Park, where we have three construction superintendents building three different products, it’s critical that we’re all organized and on top of our specific tasks and timelines, said Danny.

Rob agreed, adding that being detail oriented is key. Being a good communicator is important as well, said Rob. The easiest way for me to keep on schedule and budget is to make sure everyone I’m overseeing has a thorough understanding of my needs and expectations.

A thorough understanding of the building process is absolutely mandatory, too, said Dave Boyer, who has been with Miller & Smith for nine years. One of the things that’s great about Miller & Smith is how organized we are as a group, from the main office to the team in the field, he added. Keeping everyone in the same loop helps us all do our jobs better, which ultimately results in better homes and happier customers.

To see the results of their collective efforts, we invite you to visit Gallery Park today. The community is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM or Monday from 1 PM to 6 PM. For details and directions, please click here.

Washington Post snaps Miller & Smith models for recent article

Recently, the Washington Post wrote an article entitled House hunters caught between new and existing homes.

We were thrilled to be featured front and center in the article with a photograph of our newest single family homes, the Downtown Collection of One Loudoun in Ashburn, Virginia.

Photo Source: Washington Post

The article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of buying a new home versus an existing home.

One of the reasons our homes were featured is they meet a distinct advantage to buying new. The Miller & Smith homebuyers interviewed for the article were downsizing but needed enough space to accommodate their college-age son.

They found exactly what they were looking for in our Tribeca Model, which offers a separate private studio space over the 2-car garage‚ the perfect getaway for in-laws or older children returning from college.

Finding a home that meets very specific needs is one of the major advantages to buying new.

The following are several other advantages to buying new, as discussed in the article:

  • Brand new warranty on all appliances and structural issues
  • Buyers get to choose all of the selections and finishes they want, including flooring, counter tops, lighting, hardware, etc.
  • The scale of new homes tends to be larger with taller windows, bigger closets and garages, and more storage
  • New homes appeal to today’s more casual lifestyle with fewer formal rooms and more open gathering places
  • New homes are considerably more energy efficient thanks to modern building techniques and appliances

The article also discussed some of the advantages to buying an existing home, including the following:

  • Buyers don’t have to wait as long to settle with an existing home, which means they can lock in today’s low interest rates sooner
  • Currently, there is a low inventory of immediately available new homes on the market so there can be more competition over new homes
  • Buying an existing home is potentially less overwhelming since all of the decisions are made in terms of flooring choices, finishes, paint, etc.
  • Existing homes in established communities tend to have more or all of their amenities and infrastructure in place
  • In some markets, existing homes are less expensive than new homes

In the end, there’s no clear winner between buying a new home versus an existing home because there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The good news is, no matter what you decide, now is a great time to be a buyer thanks to remarkably low interest rates.

And if you decide to go new, we know the perfect place to start your search.


I’m not a detached 2-story with a loft but I play one on TV

You know the opening scene of The Simpsons where Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie sprint into the family room and cluster on their sofa? Did you ever stop to think about how that family room was connected to the rest of their Springfield home? No? Well we did, and thanks to Spanish artist and interior designer, Inaki Aliste Lizarralde, we now know the answer.Mr. Lizarralde has a pretty unusual hobby. He creates detailed, hand-colored floorplans based on popular TV shows and movies. We assume his creations are based on his keen understanding of floorplan design, and more importantly, thousands of hours of highly perceptive TV watching.The artist was selling the floorplans through Etsy but they are currently sold out. If you are looking for a unique gift for that die-hard Seinfeld or I Love Lucy fan in your life, you can friend him on Facebook and stay tuned for future releases.


Is your home ready for spring?

Spring arrived on March 20, so naturally just five days later the Washington region was covered by three inches of snow. Hot chocolate season may be dragging on a bit, but make no mistake, spring is here and summer is fast approaching. Now is the time to prepare your home for the coming higher temperatures and famous Washington humidity with some basic home maintenance and upkeep. Follow these simple tips to help keep your home safer, more comfortable and, of course, more energy and cost efficient. 

Spring/Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Inspect the exterior of your home and examine caulking around windows and doors. Replace cracked caulk and weather stripping.
  • Inspect your roof and replace any broken or missing shingles.
  • Clean out all gutters and downspouts.
  • Rake away leaves, broken branches and other lawn debris.
  • Spring is one of the most important times to inspect your home’s HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
  • Ensure all air filters have been replaced or cleaned.
  • Check your air conditioner to ensure it is in good working condition. Remember, if it needs to be serviced, it’s better and less expensive to do it now than in the heat of summer.
  • Clean your dryer vents. A clogged dryer vent can actually cause warm air to blow back into your laundry room which ultimately makes your air conditioner work harder.
  • Test all emergency systems in your home, including fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and home security alarms.

Remember, it doesn’t take long and the little things you do today can minimize repair costs later, keeping more money in your pocket for lemonade and backyard BBQs. Happy spring!