The evolution of homes: the present


With advances in architecture and technology, houses look very different than they did 130 years ago. Homes from the past, present and future reveal the history of Lake and Sumter counties, modern homebuilding trends and smart home technology that will continue to evolve.


Parade of Homes showcases the latest designs

Your dream home is waiting to be discovered.

The public is invited to see builders’ craftsmanship, new home designs and the latest technology trends at the annual Parade of Homes to be hosted from 10am March 28 to 5pm April 5 by the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter.

The tour will showcase 23 homes—three as virtual designs—from Lake and Sumter’s custom and national builders. The lineup includes tiny houses and cottages that may be ideal for young couples starting out or retirees looking to downsize, as well as more spacious homes where families can raise their children.

“It’s always exciting to see what new ‘Wow!’ factors people come up with because of technology, different new materials to different colors,” says Lisa Templin-Rayborn, executive officer of HBA of Lake-Sumter. “I always look forward to seeing the homes.”

She believes some of the homes’ open floor plans and large kitchens will appeal to people who love to entertain. Double islands in the kitchen are becoming popular. One island can be used as a cook/prep area, and the other for eating or serving foods. Some of the new kitchens are being equipped with double ovens, which can make holiday cooking and entertaining easier, too. 

“One of the things people are focusing on is the outdoor living area,” Lisa adds of popular new building trends. “People are wanting the firepits, the relaxing and inviting outdoor living room. They want the outdoor living room area to have things that are really inviting.” 

Harbor Hills Country Club in Lady Lake will be in the spotlight as the Parade of Homes’ “Dream Community” for 2020. The gated community will showcase the latest amenities in two model homes: Royal Palm and Sabal. 

The tour also will feature homes throughout Lake and Sumter counties, from as far south as Clermont and north toward The Villages. Each home will be judged on its quality, solidity of craftsmanship and curb appeal from a panel of builders, architects and interior designers from outside communities.

The home with the highest total of points will win the Overall Grand Score (Best of Show). 

Mainsail Solutions Inc. was the top winner in 2019 for its Flagler model home in Green Key Village in Lady Lake. The homes in the community are solar-powered, colorful and feature Key West charm.

“It’s a wonderful thing to be recognized for what you’ve built,” says Kim Thomas, co-owner and developer of Green Key Village with her husband, Greg.

Regarding the appeal of the Flagler design, Kim recalls parade visitors commented on the nice floor plan, open concept and the big glass sliders across the back leading onto the lanai.

This year, Green Key Village is entering the Duval model, which is still under construction and will feature a gas fireplace.

“We try to improve our plan for energy efficiency in the homes and we have just a unique style about our homes,” Kim adds. “It’s easy, laid-back, Key West-style living with some really unique ceiling details.” 

Briana West, office manager/marketing coordinator of West Construction in Mount Dora, says the Parade of Homes is a great way to interact with potential clients.

“The parade provides a great setting for us to meet people who are looking to build their next home and also show off some of our work at the same time,” Briana says. “While we work hard to complete all of our projects to the highest standards possible, and have satisfied clientele to attest to that, it’s always nice to be recognized as meeting those standards by industry professionals through the judging in the parade.” 

Her company won two awards at the 2019 Parade of Homes: first place in the $275,000-$325,000 category and the Realtors Choice Award for Cottage on Clayton. This year, West Construction is entering a Mount Dora home close to town that is being judged at $264,000 while it has a base price of $219,000. 

“This project was particularly fun,” says Briana, adding it was a house built for her and her husband Joe, vice president of West Construction. “We both wanted something timeless and decided on a clean, somewhat modern craftsman feel that we think will appeal to a lot of potential clients.”  

All of the builders and locations of the homes will be published in a Parade of Homes tour guide that will be available at the end of March at several sites, including RoMac Building Supply Co., 700 E. Main St., Leesburg, and the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter office, 1100 N. Joanna Ave., Tavares. 

The tour guide will list times to see the different houses since some of the entries are owner-occupied and will be open only on weekends; others are model homes that may be toured anytime.

To learn more, call the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter at 352.343.7101.

About the Author

Originally from Anderson, Ind., Theresa worked for The Herald-Bulletin for many years. After experiencing a winter with 53 inches of snow, her late husband asked her to get a job in Florida, and they headed south. Well known in the area, Theresa worked with The Daily Sun and The Daily Commercial prior to joining Akers. “I finally have my dream job. I’ve wanted to work for a magazine since I was a teenager, and I’m very excited to be here,” Theresa says. “There is such positive energy at Akers that it’s infectious.” Theresa has three grown daughters—Julia lives in San Francisco, Emily is in Austin, Tex., and Maria is at the University of Central Florida.
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