This year’s Parade of Homes will give tour participants a taste of what life at home will be like in the 21st century.
There will be zero-clearance entries, wide doorways and lots of one-level living.
That’s aimed at baby boomers looking for their forever homes, said Sue Weidemann, executive director of the La Crosse Area Builders Association. But there are plenty of other spectacular details in the new builds, and there are also two remodels with great ideas.
You can see them all during the tour Aug. 17-19 and Aug. 23-26. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.
The 12 homes are spread around West Salem, St. Joseph Ridge, Holmen, La Crosse, and Onalaska.
One of the homes, located at W5011 Keil Coulee Road, has some interesting angles and levels and includes a round column that contains a spiral staircase. “I call it a silo, but I grew on on a farm,” said builder Doyle Pleggenkuhle of Golden View Homes.
This contemporary home also features tiger wood flooring, 67 windows, and a concrete sink in a kitchen that also features six levels in the ceiling.
“There are no straight lines in this house,” Pleggenkuhle said.
But it’s just what the customer ordered.
And that’s a trend in building, Weidemann said. Customers know what they want and builders are guiding them toward things that make sense for a population that wants to age in place.
“So much of it has to do with automation and security,” she said, but much also has to do with the age of the home buyers.
“They’re designing homes for forever homes, aging in place,” Weidemann said. “There’s wider doorways, they have better flow. They’re looking at they want to stay in their home, so they’re making those adjustments.”
Weidemann understands that. She’s in the process of putting together a design for her own new home and of primary interest to her is one-level living.
Because she has rheumatoid arthritis, she’s interested in all the things that make aging in place more comfortable — wide doorways, zero-clearance entries and a good flow to the house.
Customers want it and builders are adding good suggestions into the mix, Weidemann said.
“It’s a little of both — customers are asking for it and builders now are more in tune with where things should go. You find a builder doing a lot more education of their customer.”
Weidemann said it’s all about thinking ahead and being ready for what’s next. And it’s also about our expectations of aging, which are different from what our grandparents expected.
“Our grandparents seemed old at 50. But Babyboomers, we’re more active, we go after things more, we work longer. We’re not settling for just sitting around,” she said. “We go on bike rides, and we travel and run marathons.”
But boomers still want an ease to their lives because they want to be prepared for what may be just around the corner.
“You’re seeing more homes that are more practical size. I do not want to clean a 4,000- or 5,000- square foot house. I’d rather be cleaning an 1,800- to 2,400-square foot house.”