Residential Design Services for Builders

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June 21, 2019

Thank You for Five Years (and here’s to the next five!)

July 1st will be Housing Design Matters’ 5th anniversary, and I wanted to share some thoughts.

Who leaves a great job and starts their own business at age 57? A crazy person, right? At a time when I should have been counting the days until I got a “retirement watch”, I instead struck out on my own. Housing Design Matters was born July 1st, 2014. We started with just four amazingly talented (and brave) people; Tony Lynch, Gene Santos, Tobi Saunders and me.

We have now grown to ten people in three locations working in 22 states!


They always say getting liftoff is one of the hardest parts in starting a business, and let me tell you… Those first six months were not easy! We started with only a name for the company and a vision. Gene Santos created our award-winning logo – which we continue to have fun with, especially around holidays.


Who would’ve thought – websites are hard! Several mis-steps later, we tasked Kevin DeClerk with building our website on Squarespace (He was on vacation at the time we took a vote – surprise!). That website served us for several years until we decided to step up our game and let Meredith and Allen Oliver create the one we have today.

Early in our first year, PlyGem asked me to do a monthly blog for them. Are you kidding – you want me to write? A blog EVERY month? No way. But when you’re new, hungry and need to get your name out, you make it happen. Thank you, Ply Gem, for getting me started on blogging. Little did I know that I’d be making this a weekly habit. Thank you, Tobi, for pushing me to do it weekly and thank you Kevin for helping me make the blogs fun and lucid (You have no idea).

In five short years, many of our projects have received regional and national recognition:

  • Two Nationals – one for this blog series. 😉
  • Three Best in American Living Awards – including a Platinum
  • Two 55+ Design Awards
  • One Pro Builder Award
  • Six Aurora Awards
  • Three Laurel Awards – including our logo

Thank you, Builder Magazine and Taylor Morrison, for trusting us to design the NEXTadventure Show House, which gave us the exposure to take our business to the next level. I will always look back fondly on that wonderful project and collaboration between rock star folks like Lita Dirks and her team of designers.


Then there’s the wonderful speaking opportunities over the past five years including the International Builder Show, Housing Leadership Summit, Custom Builder Symposium, AIA Convention, Southeastern Builder Conference, the Northeast Builder Association and multiple webinars. I love sharing my passion for design and helping builders and developers design better product.

My Takeways on the Past 5 Years

If there is one piece of advice that I can share with my beloved readers, it’s this: If you are presented with an exciting opportunity, just take it! Even if it’s something you’ve never done, jump in with both feet, make it happen and see where it takes you. You may surprise yourself when you look back at what you’ve accomplished.

On behalf of our team at Housing Design Matters, thanks for making the first five years terrific. You have made this an awesome ride, and we are not slowing down any time soon!

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters