Home Design Concepts

What’s Wrong With This House?
Fast Houses, Slow Homes and How to Tell the Difference
by John Brown & Matthew North

Did you know the fast food epidemic is equally applied to new home building?  How often do you really use that extra living room, fondly remembered at grandma’s house with plastic over the seats?  Or have you figured out furniture placement around that weird corner of the house?  Apparently in the industry, this is called a Fast House.  In their book, Brown & North describe this epidemic, and more importantly, how to spot a Slow Home.  As I read to apprise myself of adopted Lexis values, I’ll detail the differences…

Chapter 1 | Fast Houses

In the 1940s, when the home-cooked meal saw its replacement by processed fast foods, so did the home building industry see the same effects: sprawl of standardized, cookie-cutter, suburban houses.  With growth in every corner of our Saskatoon, it is not surprising to see this effect catch up to us… but how healthy is it really?

The fundamental problems as we look at a new home to purchase are often masked; we do not discover the awkwardness until we’ve lived in it for a few months, at which point this industry tends not to have a return policy to fall back on.  Brown & North describe 20% of homebuyers move within the first three years of purchasing a new home, often due to dissatisfaction with the way the house functions.  This lack of functionality tells us the homeowner is in a Fast House, instead of a Slow Home.

Top Clues you’re in a Fast House:

Street of Dreams: model homes victoriously stand on the largest lots in a cookie-cutter land.  We are made to believe the optional features of a gourmet kitchen, hardwood, sport garage or spa bath are really customizing the home to suit our needs and creativity.  In reality, your house will look like your neighbours’ after choosing from the limited selection.

Redundant Spaces: we’ve got the family room and living room, dining room and kitchen eating nook.  How often do you really use all these spaces; they’re like the good dishes –they only get pulled out for Christmas.  Instead of multiple rooms, each concept could be properly set within a single space so as not to repeat functions within the home –after all, you can only use one at a time.

Colliding Geometries: the most grand of features, like the off set staircase, or the angled entertainment corner.  Although they catch our attention, these pieces often break up spaces in a floor plan and are difficult to work, move, and place furniture around.

Supersized Features: a study library (which is really just another room) or an oversized staircase (who hangs out there, anyway?).  Although the grandeur of these features gives the allure and lure of a high-end, fancy home, the builder usually ends up compromising quality for quantity; More usable rooms are compromised in space and features.

While these features can attract us to a house, none of this fills the longing we feel for a real sense of home.  There is a bright side, though, in a Slow Home.  I’m proud to discover the belief in this concept by the Lexis team, and look forward to helping build Homes, not houses.  Over the hurried holiday season, I’m off to read the next chapter, and analyze how slow my own home is… will report back.

Duane meets Mike Holmes in Toronto


Duane and Mike

Duane and I recently attended Canada’s largest home construction and design show in Toronto. We decided to take in the show to get some new ideas on home construction and materials that we may not see around Saskatoon.

At the show, Duane was lucky enough to meet up with Mike Holmes (www.makeitright.ca). Duane told Mike a bit about Lexis Homes and how we PROVE quality construction rather than just SAYING we build quality homes. He informed Mike about how we take videos of all areas of our homes prior to drywalling so that there are no secrets or concerns behind the walls. There will be no need to rip down the walls in our homes for Mike to figure out what is going on in there! Thumbs up!


New Lexis Website wins a SIMA award

Corner fireplace in modern home

Website Award

The Lexis website recently won an award for the best website in its category! The awards are handed out annually by the Saskatchewan Interactive Media Association (SIMA).

A big thanks goes out to Harley Rivet for developing the website strategy, Brett Ede for the website design and the team at Lexis Developments for the vision of creating something different in the realm of Saskatoon home builder websites.

For those of you interested in learning more about online marketing and social media check out Harley’s blog. It is full of great ideas.



Lexis mentioned in Mike Holmes article

A few months ago we were contacted by a journalist for the Mike Holmes magazine. She heard we were home builders in Saskatoon and requested our input on how to incorporate useful storage into new home designs.

We provided her with some of our ideas for keeping a home free from clutter and maintaining the “clean” look that you see in a show home. In this month’s issue, Lexis Developments is mentioned in the article! We thought that was pretty cool – especially since we are big fans of Mike Holmes and his philosophy to “make it right”.

Although not all of our ideas were incorporated into the article, there were a number of our tips that made the cut. Check out the Sept/Oct issue for details!


A look at some innovative designs

Modern home designed sit above a pool

Great views from this modern home

I just updated the “way beyond the ordinary” photo gallery so I thought I take the time to post and discuss the photos here as well. In the photo above, this house has some unbelievable views – from all 3 sides as well as below to the pool. The island in the pool is pretty cool as well.

The photo below is a great example of very generous use of windows. I think I would have tried to do something different with the fireplace vent but it is a good job nonetheless!

Large windows with a great view from the home

Generous front window allowance!

I would love to be a home builder that could create something like this in Saskatoon. Unfortunately, our climate may not be condusive to the sliding glass exterior walls shown below. It looks like these operate almost like garage doors. Very nice home.

Garage door walls

Not ideal for a Saskatoon home

Check out the Gallery page (under “way beyond the ordinary”) for a few more of the new photos. I really like the photo with the tree incorporated into the centre of the home!