Modern Home Builder - Winter 2016 - Volume 2 - 110
Arlington Designer Homes
Arlington Designer Homes attributes its success in part to a strong location and
access to an educated client base.
"When I find a good subcontractor, I try to be loyal to him,
and it gives me the possibility to offer great service at a fair price,
which is what these subcontractors can do for us once we know
how to work together," Moore says.
Arlington Designer Homes uses a rotating stable of architects
whom Moore recommends to specific customers based on which
architect he thinks can best realize a customer's desires. Moore
characterizes the company's homes as mid- to high-range but not
necessarily luxury. The company tends toward building a more
modern or contemporary version of traditional styles.
Arlington Designer Homes are built at least to Energy Star standards, but they also can be designed to qualify for LEED Silver,
Gold or Platinum certification if the customer desires. "It really
depends on what the customer wants," Moore says. "We did a
wonderful spec house and put in geothermal as well as minisplits,
which are a very efficient way of heating and cooling areas." The
split heat pumps are located in some separate rooms of the home
and can provide zoned temperature control.
Many energy-efficient construction techniques - such as using
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mastic instead of tape to seal ducts - are included in the base price
of Arlington homes because they cost only pennies on the dollar
more to do. "A lot of builders out there just do what is minimally
acceptable by codes," Moore maintains. "I really try to exceed that
in the areas that are important, which to me are areas where you're
going to see a return on investment. We average about two-anda-half air changes per hour for our houses - a normal code-built
house has five to 10 air changes per hour."
Moore attributes his company's success to several factors. "The
location and the client base is probably in a nutshell the secret to
our success," he declares. "An educated consumer is a good consumer. We were one of the first people to do a modern spec house
and energy-efficient ones within my recent memory. We have a
very educated class of people inside the Capital Beltway. Some of
the highest-income people in the country - if not the world - are
within five miles of me." He adds that his company was offering
energy-efficient features 15 years ago when his customers were
still learning about them.
He does not foresee Arlington Designer Homes ever building
more than eight houses annually.
"If you get over eight, you have to have a staff," Moore points
out. "We're at a crossroad. We have the ability to expand, but it's a
matter of whether I want to take on that pressure. I don't ever see
expanding beyond eight homes annually. I'm a true custom guy,
so these are all completely different homes. They all have different
subcontractors and challenges.
"I like being smaller and custom and interacting with clients,
educating them and having the ability to do what I want to do without having to kowtow to the machine that we create when we're
building 20 houses a year," he stresses. "I feel very passionate about
what I do, and I'm in a position that I very much enjoy doing what
I want to do and bringing and getting a lot of joy out of creating
these more efficient houses that might last for 100 years - you
never know." )