The 2016 Southern Living Idea House: Meet the Builder
The countdown to the opening of the 2016 Southern Living Idea House continues! Now just three months away from completion, this hotly anticipated showcase home is really coming together and generating excitement. This second installment of our behind-the-scenes interviews with the talented people working on the Idea House features builder and project manager Bryan Phillips of Town Builders, Inc. A key player in the development of The Town of Mt Laurel, home of the 2016 Idea House, Bryan is also a resident who takes great pride in his community and the work he does to further its growth.
ML: Given that it’s Southern Living’s 50th anniversary and the magazine’s offices are in Birmingham, this year’s Idea House seems extra-special. What’s it been like working with Southern Living?
Bryan Phillips: They’ve been great to work with. We’ve been introduced to a lot of new sponsors and are getting to use products that we haven’t been able to use in the past. We have a relationship with James Hardie, so we’ve got pre-colored siding and some other materials for the exterior that haven’t quite made it to this region yet, so it’s kind of neat.
ML: What makes the 2016 Idea house a Southern Living house?
Bryan Phillips: It’s a more traditional house that lends itself to outdoor living and a communal-type lifestyle with wraparound porches, which fits in with our concept here in Mt Laurel and also what Southern Living exudes.
ML: Describe the home’s location. Why was this the perfect site for the Idea House?
Bryan Phillips: We wanted a corner lot that people would see when they came in, so the site we chose was perfect. And it gave a certain type of street presence we were looking for. We were able to design the house around the lot, so it worked out well.
ML: How has architect Bill Ingram’s vision influenced your process?
Bryan Phillips: He’s brought a really unique design to the table, and he’s been great to work with. He’s very detailed and understands what customers like and knows trends. He’s really designed a great product, and we think that the public’s going to take to it as well. It’s a little bit different than what we would typically do, which is nice. He has a different flair, so it’s been a fun process.
ML: What has the response from the Mt Laurel community been like?
Bryan Phillips: Everybody’s responded really well. I think anything that brings a buzz to the community and brings outsiders in, it helps the community, it helps the businesses here, it helps the home values. And it also gives people a conversation piece to talk about with relatives and friends who live outside the area because it’s a national-level product rather than a regional one.
ML: You and your family live in Mt Laurel, which Town Builders, Inc. also built. What personal impact has this had on the project?
Bryan Phillips: I actually live five doors down, so I’m able to see the progress of it daily and keep a closer eye on the project. I have a great sense of pride living on the same street as the Idea House. Bill incorporated so many small details that draw interest, but each detail requires a lot of attention and creativity to build. Living so close allows me to ensure that all the details are executed precisely.
ML: What stage of construction are you currently in?
Bryan Phillips: We’re currently hanging drywall and about to move into the trim phase, and we’re finishing up the exterior siding and trim work. After the trim, we’ll move onto painting and tile work.
ML: What’s your favorite part of the Idea House?
Bryan Phillips: I like the implementation of Shiplap on the walls and the tall ceilings. And just the open floor plan. I like all those aspects of it. Shiplap is an interior siding that’s like wood wall versus Sheetrock. There are several rooms that have it. The 11-foot ceilings are also a neat feature and then the openness and grand feel of it. The house has a very grand presence because of the high ceilings.
ML: What do you think people will be most excited about?
Bryan Phillips: The kitchen is supposed to draw a lot of buzz because Thermador is sponsoring it, so we’ve got a lot of high-end appliances, along with Wellborn, who’s working with us on the cabinetry. It should be a very neat design and a gourmet kitchen that will draw people to it.
ML: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about the Idea House?
Bryan Phillips: We’re very excited about what this project will bring to our community. We’ve been given an opportunity to work with top designers from around the country and a local architect, collaborating on a project that will be seen on a national level. The details of the home are spectacular; it will be an impressive asset that really illustrates how special this community is.
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