Look Out

You'll spy loads of luxury and innovation, several show-stopping houses still available for purchase plus plenty of ideas to steal for your own home at the Madison Area Builders Association's annual Parade of Homes June 9-24.

Watch Video With 21 houses, 91,457 square feet, 89 bedrooms, 52 full bathrooms and 14 half bathrooms in three Dane County neighborhoods, the Madison Area Builders Association Parade of Homes covers a lot of ground and a lot of house. Each home is packed with finishes, furnishings, accessories, landscaping and design ideas to inspire all kinds of residential building and remodeling projects. It’s the year’s biggest showcase—and temporary showroom—for housing ideas in town, and all the participants from the builders to the designers to the furniture suppliers pull out all the stops. So wear comfortable shoes. Grab a big bag to carry all of the cards and brochures you’ll gather. And bring an open mind ready to soak up a few great ideas for your own home: there will be a lot of the lavish looks you would expect along with a few novelties you might never have considered. Here’s a little sampling of what you’ll see:

International Style The 2007 Parade of Homes is a world tour of housing styles. Catch a glimpse of the Carolina Low Country (Design Shelters), the Mediterranean (Baker Homes and Hart DeNoble Builders) the French countryside (Loren Imhoff Homebuilder and NorthPointe Construction) and Southern Georgia (Pulvermacher Construction) without leaving Madison. Of course there are plenty of traditional and transitional designs, cottages and ranches, and one five-bedroom “Old World” home (Temple Construction), too. Casual Corner Expect to see fewer houses with compartmentalized formal spaces and more with multipurpose rooms for everyday living, says Denise Renz, an interior designer who styled Acker Builders’ Parade house in Southbridge. That’s not to say that luxury is dead. In fact, luxury is more livable than ever as granite countertops host as many cereal-bowl mornings as they do evening wine tastings, and silk window treatments hang in great rooms filled with toys, board games and comfortable couches. Renz calls it “casual elegance,” and what it means is that we’re not saving the fancy stuff for special occasions anymore; we’re living the good life every day.

Dressed to Impress In fact, chances are that you’ll leave the Parade feeling slightly overwhelmed. If so, you did things right—and so did the builders. While not all of the houses are over-the-top luxurious, many are. For the high-end showstoppers, the whole idea is to knock your socks off. Take Madison Homes’ Parade house in Blackhawk. It has 6,700 square feet of finished living space, six bedrooms and five and a half baths. It’s one of the largest of the Parade houses this year, but it’s not just about size. There are four fireplaces, a study, a library, a media and theater room, and a two-story great room. It also has the now-standard hardwood floors, granite countertops and tiled showers. In the master bathroom, the sunken Jacuzzi tub fills from a spout in the ceiling, and the walk-in shower has multiple showerheads and spray nozzles, including a ceiling fixture that mimics rainfall. Madison Homes’ president Jim Bourne says all of the creative and luxurious touches make it hard to pick a favorite feature. “Every room you go in is stunning,” he says.

Get Down and Bust a Move The Parade is also known for a few surprises, as builders and their clients try new ideas in design and décor. This year TimberLane Builders takes a television hit to its lowest level—literally. The basement in the three-bedroom, four-bath home in Wolf Hollow boasts a dance floor with a “Dancing with the Stars” theme. Complete with wall mirrors and dance-step displays, this space allows you to channel your inner Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Janet Jackson or John Travolta.

Take It Outside Outdoor living spaces, including pools, cabanas and kitchens, are growing more popular all over the country and even in Wisconsin despite our short summers. Hart DeNoble Builders has a pool, built-in grill and fireplace, along with an outdoor living room, in the back of its nearly 7,300-square-foot Mediterranean-style house in Blackhawk. Encore Construction also has a covered outdoor room attached to its 2,700-square foot cottage in Woods Hollow.

Product Preview The Parade is also a prime opportunity to show off new products. Far better than any gallery or showroom, a Parade house puts new things to use, which gives you a better idea of how the items or finishes will look once you take them home. Schwingle Builders’ four-bedroom transitional Parade house features faux iron from Stained Glass Overlay. Made from a blend of wood and resin, faux iron is much lighter than the real wrought iron it mimics. Stained Glass Overlay’s Linda Ewing says the new material is more affordable and versatile than the real thing. And TimberLane Builders’ three-bedroom Parade house in Wolf Hollow incorporates several green-building products, including a film covering the framing that will protect the house from moisture, fungus, mold and wood-eating insects, according to TimberLane’s Mike Vilstrup. The Madison Area Builders Association’s Parade of Homes runs from June 9–24 at three sites: Madison’s Blackhawk, Waunakee’s Southbridge and Windsor’s Wolf Hollow. Purchase tickets ($12 adults; $6 children and seniors; kids under 3 are free) at the gate. Buy before June 9 at any Dane County AnchorBank or paradeofhomesmadison.com and save $1. Houses are open from 3-8 p.m. Monday – Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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