At Miller & Smith, we know when it comes to building homes, design matters. We like to think it’s what sets us apart and gives us an edge. Let’s face it. Being surrounded by comfort and beauty simply makes our lives better. There’s nothing really gratuitous about beauty and certainly nothing mundane about functionality. In fact, making ordinary tasks satisfying and everyday surroundings enriching is the surest way to increase your life’s fulfillment. And when something is both beautiful and functional, it earns a place in our lives and becomes a part of our experience. That tall task of designing a home that becomes a part of an individual’s story is what we at Miller & Smith do best. Just ask our Vice-President of Marketing, Kim Ambrose, who recently was interviewed by Professional Builder Magazine.
Design inspiration is serious business at Miller & Smith, so much so that the design team travels the country looking for ideas to bring back to the market. “A couple of years ago we sent teams to Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Portland to look at the housing product in those markets,” says Kim. “Our team plans to go international for next year’s inspiration trip—Canada, where we’ve been seeing a lot of new exciting trends emerging.”
The materials gathered from those trips continue to provide inspiration for new and upcoming projects from designing new elevations and floorplans. “We just used an inspiration photo from a very upscale, single-family neighborhood that had a cluster land plan where four homes are situated around a common driveway for a new project we’re working on.”
To keep the home designs fresh and current, at Miller & Smith the product is continually evolving based on response received from homebuyers. “Our current floor plans are much more contemporary than even five years ago,” says Kim. “Wide-open interior spaces with expansive rooms and kitchens with modern finishes such as infinity islands dominate our portfolio.”
Take for instance rooms that once played an important role in the home now have been replaced with ones that are more functional and more in demand, according to the response from the homebuying public. “None of the homes in our nine active communities features a living room,” says Kim. “Comfortable, casual, yet spacious living areas have replaced traditional, formal spaces in all of our home collections.”
Besides traveling for inspiration and relying on internal and external market research, Miller & Smith also pays close attention to pop culture and the larger home design community for emerging trends. “Open floor plans are definitely a hot button right now,” says Kim. “You hear it all over HGTV, and Miller & Smith was one of the first builders in this market to offer open floor plans at every price range.”
The D.C. Metro area is heavily dominated by national homebuilders who offer the same product line time and again and in every one of their communities. Design becomes our competitive advantage, as we know the best way to offer our style-conscious homeowners what they’re seeking is through unique floorplans and elevations. “Our buyer values design and is not just buying on cost per square foot,” says Kim. “We are competitive in price, but our real point of differentiation is product design and the integration of that design into the land plan.”
We may be in the business of building homes, but we know it’s not just about sticks and bricks. We are world travelers and cool hunters. We are good listeners and researchers. We are designers and trend-setters. We love design and what we do. We build homes. We’re Miller & Smith and we know design matters.