Builder and Developer’s 2017 Builder of the Year is Atlanta-based Ashton Woods Homes who proves that personalization is key to the home buying experience
By Carina Calhoun
Photography Courtesy of Ashton Woods
The master of design-driven homes, Atlanta-based Ashton Woods Homes is one of the nation’s largest private homebuilders. With communities in six states, the award-winning homebuilder has a strong commitment to exceptional design and unrivaled personalization — so much so, they consider it part of their DNA. Ashton Woods is Builder and Developer magazine’s 2017 Builder of the Year.
“We are thrilled to be named Builder and Developer’s Builder of the Year,” said Ken Balogh, President and CEO of Ashton Woods. “As trailblazers in the industry, our mission is to redefine what it means to be a homebuilder by empowering our people and our homeowners to constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
The builder’s global view, combined with a local focus, translates to inspired homes for homebuyers. Balogh said, “Other builders may talk about having a focus on design, but we often hear that when people walk into one of our award-winning model homes, they don’t just see the difference, they literally feel it.”
Known for its commitment to personalized design, the builder has its own Studio in every market in which they build—state-of-the-art facilities for buyers to peruse design selections for their homes. “We like to say that The Studio is where design, personalization and possibilities come to life,” said Balogh. “Our homebuyers have the opportunity to visit The Studio to truly personalize their homes, and that’s where the magic really happens.”
In the award-winning, beautifully illuminated space, products are displayed as art as opposed to the typical design center that can often overwhelm the buyer. Visitors first walk through the “Hall of Inspiration,” featuring kitchen and bath vignettes spanning a variety of styles from traditional through contemporary, which demonstrate how large details like countertops and cabinets work together with smaller nuances such as hardware and textures, to create a cohesive look.
Designers are located at the Studios to guide buyers through the selection process. “Before our homebuyers ever start looking at samples, our designers really get to know them, digging to understand everything from their preferred style, to where they spend the most time in the house, to their favorite vacation spots, to their most loved piece of furniture,” explained Balogh.
The Studio creates a special personalized homebuilding experience. Ashton Woods has transformed the homebuilding process by offering new homebuyers countless ways to personalize their homes. With nearly 600 flexible floor plans designed with the wants and needs of the local buyer in mind, each floorplan has a variety of structural options that can be incorporated into the home to address the needs of each family based on how they want to live in the home.
As trailblazers in the industry, our mission is to redefine what it means to be a homebuilder by empowering our people and our homeowners to constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible. — Ken Balogh, President and CEO
Aria, located in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is one of Ashton Woods’ pinnacle projects of 2017. The community features an ambitious 600 homes, including single-family homes, townhomes and lofts. Reflecting the trend in new urbanism, Aria is a “live, work, play” community with walking and biking trails.
Southern Hills at Craig Ranch, located in McKinney, Texas, is a big investment for Ashton Woods in the Dallas market. This community is part of the Craig Ranch master plan, which was designed with a healthy, active lifestyle in mind. Ashton Woods’ presence at Craig Ranch includes three sections with three different lot sizes.
“These projects all represent the result of substantial collaboration up, down and across the organization,” said Balogh. “We decided to develop these communities because they presented an ideal opportunity to blend the strength of our brand, the expertise of our land teams, and our signature design leadership to deliver communities that are unique to the specific areas and the people who will inhabit them.”
Ashton Woods takes a thoughtful approach to tailoring their homes to local market preferences, identifying and developing in locations that will exceed the expectations of the market’s discerning homebuyer.
Earlier this year, Ashton Woods introduced Starlight Homes to address the growing needs of the entry-level buyer. “The entry level market is booming, powered by first-time homebuyers who have a good bit of anxiety about the process of buying a new home, and for that matter, don’t even necessarily believe that the notion of home ownership is attainable,” said Balogh.
Starlight’s mission is to help guide the home buying experience from selecting the right floor plan to supporting closing needs. These affordable homes are designed to fit a budget of a first-time buyer without sacrificing building quality. And how do they ensure quality isn’t being sacrificed? Well, despite the fact that Starlight targets a different consumer typical from the Ashton Woods brand, it’s the same team.
The same team is designing the floor plans that promote livability with comfortable spaces, and the same internal design team behind many of Ashton’s flagship model homes are involved in selecting the finishes for their Starlight inventory homes. “We believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to live in a beautifully appointed home, regardless of price point,” explained Balogh. “The same culture, quality, and customer focus that have led Ashton Woods to earn its position as one of America’s Most Trusted Builders is ever-present at Starlight Homes, and contributes to our ability to serve as a trusted guide throughout the homebuying process for our entry level buyers.”
Currently located in Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix and central Florida, Ashton Woods’ Starlight brand will be a strong focus for the homebuilder in 2018 as they look to expand to other markets.
Carina Calhoun is Editor-at-Large for Builder and Developer magazine. She may be reached at email@example.com.