Changing Communities – A Custom Builder’s Story

Why La Grange, Illinois?

A Builder’s Journey

Our Model Home at 1036 Ashland, La Grange

The Luxury Model we built at 1036 Ashland, La Grange

We’ve been building in the city of Chicago and the Southwest suburbs for over 30 years and we love it. But we’ve been itching to move a bit north to build a different style of home in a different type of community. Change is good and in the world of custom home building, it is necessary. Static builders attempting to maintain the “status quo” quickly find themselves out of sync with their buyers. Demographics change, building technology changes, desired features change and builders must be nimble to stay successful. The issue wasn’t why, the issue was where?

We wanted a town with “character”. Yet, character is hard to define… it is more of an aura or a vibe that is both subjective and elusive. Defining a community as having “character” is often a misused and misunderstood term given by Real Estate marketers to bring traffic to an area. Yet, a viable and concrete example of a real town with real character is found in the Village of La Grange.

This little piece of heaven values tradition, refinement, and actual down to earth An Aerial Photo of La Grange Train Stationpeople. It was incorporated in 1879 and somehow managed to modernize without losing its identity. The perfectly located gem is located just 20 miles west of Chicago and the central location gets you to either O’Hare or Midway airport in less than a half hour (20 minutes on a good traffic day) and 25 minutes on the Metra train can have you strolling the Chicago Loop in under 25 minutes. 25 minutes! Naturally, the access to Chicago can’t be undervalued, yet La Grange took the best the city has to offer and rolled it into the community.

The town boasts trendy eateries, mom and pop restaurants and long-established gourmet venues. There is no need for city congestion or valet parking (although the Village offers FREE Valet parking to visitors on Friday and Saturday nights if you don’t want to walk from the FREE parking garage) to sample some of the area’s best food, wine or craft beer. Many proprietors have roots in La Grange spanning generations and work hard to create not just great food, but an experience unique to La Grange. This is truly a place where parents can enjoy a glass of wine on an outdoor patio with their dog at their feet and their children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. Idyllic.

Even though La Grange definitely offers ample opportunities for shopping, socializing and eating, let us not forget the importance of a Target Run, easy access to the “Big Box” stores and a shopping mall. Well, fear not, a 5-15 minute hop in the car will take you anywhere from Target, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for family needs to Oak Brook Mall for luxury shopping and dining.

While the town, and especially the downtown Main Street (La Grange Road), maintain a “Mayberry” vibe, it stays current with trendy shops set alongside old-fashioned staples like the La Grange movie theater and the tried and true Ace Hardware. Where else, outside the city, can you browse Anderson Bookstore, purchase some artisanal olive oil, detox in a salt cave before taking in a Matinee in an old-time movie theater (showing current features) with low price tickets and fresh, popped popcorn that is actually POPPED at the theater?

With all of the amenities and walkability come some pretty outstanding statistics that make this little corner of perfection even better. The award winning, primary schools and the highly rated Lyons Township High School (one of the highest rated High Schools in Illinois) are hard to beat. The family friendly atmosphere continues with an exceptional Village run Park District boasting tons of sports programs complete with indoor AND outdoor fitness centers. The Village of La Grange library is both iconic and modern and now boasts a new digital media lab where patrons can make videos, record music and even arrange photo shoots. This town has a heart and its residents embrace it.

As builders, La Grange was an easy choice for us to branch out to the Western suburbs while staying true to our roots of building a home of exceptional quality without a shock inducing price. Property values in many of the surrounding communities are experiencing some steep land price increases as beautiful homes are razed for McMansions.

To us, this is not a trend we embrace. While La Grange also is victim to tear downs, the homes that are removed are usually too small and outdated to meet family needs. Many of these tear downs are 2-bedroom ranch homes or older framed structures that fell victim to owners who didn’t keep up with required maintenance. Most are replaced with a more family friendly home that is true to the community. New construction in La Grange blends seamlessly with existing homes and embraces the down to earth vibe of the residents. Think, front porches and welcome mats and not homes set back behind landscape berms and gates… Upscale, yes. Pretentious, not a chance.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit La Grange, it is a must. Stroll down La Grange Road and grab a coffee or green juice and browse. I promise you will find some treasures that you didn’t even know that you needed in a town that you will quickly find you love!

See the Full Portfolio of our Model Home (currently for sale) on FaceBook at Facebook/CoyleConstructionCompany

Interested in building? Give us a call at 708.590.6014 or visit us online at http://www.CoyleCustomHomes.com

Buying a home for Fido!?!?

At Coyle Construction Company, we love our dogs.  We have a 5 year old Westie named Duffy who loves to chase bunnies in our yard, bark at the UPS driver and has an odd habit of watching TV for hours waiting for animals.  Once any animal appears on the screen (cartoon, real, etc.) – he jumps on the nearest chair and stares intently at it waiting for it to play.  Odd.  We also have a stray that found her way to our driveway and into our hearts.  Lily is a 6 pound snuggler and perhaps the worst dog on the planet.  Even after 8 weeks of doggie Boot Camp – Lily will not go outside in inclement weather.  This is a real problem in Chicago.  However, we can’t imagine our lives without these furry friends and we are not alone.

American’s love their animals and they have no problem spending money on their companions.  In 2017, American’s spent $69.3 Billion dollars on their pets.  That is BILLION – with a “B”.  Now, the trend is picking up speed and pet owners are using their buying power on perhaps their most expensive pet purchase – a new home.

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A recent study by SunTrust Mortgage published in Money Magazine listed pet ownership as the 3rd most important reason a Millennials will purchase is a home.

While many Millennials stated they wanted room for Fido to roam, they also cited concerns over high rent for dog owners and a “stable home” for their dogs as a motivator to purchase a home.

The reason for the rise in pet ownership in this group is pretty easy to understand.  This “ME” generation is used to instant gratification and anyone who has ever owned a dog understands that the unconditional love that comes from every breed.  It makes you feel good when someone is happy to see you; consoles you when you are sad and keeps your bed warm.  Cats may be more temperamental – but they are a low maintenance source of love, affection and hours of smiles.

Another, and perhaps more compelling reason, is the Social Nature of pets.  Pet photos on Instagram and Facebook generate more likes than non-pet photos.  It is fun to pose them and pose with them.  YouTube is filled with hilarious cat videos, dog videos and even some reptile tricks – these social media forces drive Millennials.  We are, again, guilty and our rescued Lily has her own Instagram page (Duffy is camera shy and prefers to keep a low Social Media profile).

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Boo is a Pomeranian that became an Internet sensation. Known for his short haircut, he has a popular Facebook page and is the subject of four photo books. As of March 2016, Boo has over 17.5 million Likes on Facebook. Wikipedia

 

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This interesting cat has more Instagram followers than you and her own line of products bearing her likeness. (http://www.princessmonstertruck.com/. ) Impressive feat for a feline with unfortunate dental issues.

Whatever the reason for pet ownership, you cannot overlook the buying power of Millennials.  This generation spends close to $200 billion dollars a year and drives over 40% of the US Economy.  The housing industry is taking notice and catering to these buyers and their furry influencers.

In our experience, the majority of our home buyers own dogs or cats.  The needs of these animals have influenced selection decisions in housing.  Some of the more popular custom home features that cater to pet owners are:

Do Not Overlook the Importance of Pet-Friendly Flooring

  • Hardwood is a popular option for pet buyers due to the fact that it is easy to clean and can be re-finished to its original perfection.  Make sure that your hardwood floors can handle pet traffic.  Large, heavy breed and multiple large dogs racing around the floors can scratch the surfaces.  Make sure to opt for the extra coat of poly to provide extra protection from nails.  Also, watch the color of your hardwood stain.  With the trend of darker hardwood floors continuing, make sure that you are comfortable with the ever present pet hair that even the “non-shedding” breeds leave behind.
  • Tile floors are a great option for pet owners, and many of the new “wood look” tiles are durable, cleanable and hide pet hair.  However, tile is slippery when wet and this can cause a hazard to both pets and people.  If opting for tile flooring, place area rugs in high traffic areas and access areas for pets.
  • A new trend in residential carpeting is the use of Carpet Squares.  Carpet squares have long been a staple of commercial construction due to their ability to be changed out without replacing an entire room.  This design trend in residential construction allows for an incredibly durable surface that can be customized by color or pattern.  images-1.jpgimages.jpg

 

Dedicated Pet Spaces

Since people are actually buying homes for their pets, it makes sense that the pets have a special place to call their own!  Luxury dog beds are a popular product, but custom builders are also customizing rooms for pets.  Often times, a laundry room or mudroom is fitted with special pet friendly features such as:

Cabinetry Built Pet Enclosures

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Integrated food and water bowls

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Pet showers for large breeds

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Extra deep laundry sinks with faucet sprayers for bathing smaller breeds

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We’d love to see your pets and your ideas for pet-friendly spaces!  Please feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and make sure to follow _LilyCoyle_ on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

Oh coffee… come warm my hands and lie to me about all we are going to accomplish today

Coffee is serious business in home building.  Whether it is as simple as making sure there is adequate counter space and outlets for the Keurig to a full built in home brewing system – our clients are obsessed with the bean.  We get it!  We also start our day with a strong cup and truthfully indulge in several cups as the day progresses.

This daily habit is costly and time consuming and although Starbucks is trendy and “America Runs on Dunkin” many homeowners are seeking a cheaper more convenient way to get their fix than their daily coffee run.  New systems abound and we are profiling some of the more popular ones here:

http://www.subzero-wolf.com/wolf/coffee-systems/24-inch-coffee-system-stainless

Is it worth it?  Depends.

Built-In home brewing systems are a cool feature and one that might elicit a “wow” response from people visiting your home.  They also brew one heck of a good cup of coffee.  I was lucky to have the opportunity to try the Subzero-Wolf espresso at a local event and it was one of the best cups of espresso I’d ever had.  If you drink a lot of coffee or entertain – the system might be worth it.

Many of the systems allow you to brew two cups of coffee simultaneously, custom grind beans and another plus to built in systems is the automatic hot water features.  This feature is useful for a quick cup of tea, easy bowl of oatmeal or instant hot chocolate for an after school treat on a frigid day.  The manufacturers have their target audience in mind (busy, overwhelmed, slightly frazzled adults) most of the components are easy clean or dishwasher safe.

The issue with a built-in brewing systems is that, well, things change.  Anything built-in is a custom feature and will likely need to be exchanged sometime in the future.  The coffee systems of the past did not offer milk steamers or sensitive brew temperature settings and are now obsolete.  You need to ask yourself if you are willing to invest in a system and then be prepared to invest to switch it out.  Some built-in systems are connected to plumbing and  hard-wired for electrical so adapting the system would require a professional.  Although most systems have fillable reservoirs and do not require sophisticated plumbing, updating a system may require possible modifications to cabinetry.

Our advice?  Do the math.  If your family’s latte habit runs $5-$10/day (and many are even higher than that) you system will pay for itself in within 2 years.  It will also save time, eliminate distracting coffee runs and allow you to brew your own perfect cup of coffee, latte or espresso to your exact specifications.  Perfect coffee at home on a snowy Saturday while Netflix binging?  Yes, please!