Mobile Home News
News / Industry

Mobile Home show looks at ultimate amenities for indoors and out

Candy Williams, www.pittsburghlive.com - Saturday, January 20, 2007

The mobile homes of yesterday are the mobile homes of today -- and how they've changed.

Mobile-home parks are now called manufactured-home communities, according to experts at Four Seasons Housing Inc. of Middlebury, Ind, one of the construction companies utilized by 422 Home Sales in their "422 Ultimate Street of Dreams Model Homes Tour" at the Pittsburgh Indoor/Outdoor Home Show.

Manufactured housing still promotes affordable homes, but the amenities offered with some models are far from ordinary. At the home show at the Pittsburgh Expo Mart next week, visitors will get a glimpse of what's new, inside and out. Five furnished and landscaped modular and mobile homes are being constructed in the first-floor exhibit area.

"Each year we try to bring in the newest designs in floor plans and the latest interior features," says Billy Hughes, general manager for 422 Home Sales, based in Indiana County. This year, the homes reflect current decorating trends toward more elaborate kitchens and bathrooms.

The 28-by-64-foot Four Seasons Spa modular home building plan has three bedrooms, two bath areas and standard features such as stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, including a smooth-top electric range, sensor-cooking microwave and dishwasher. The Master Bath Spa Package is all about being pampered, with a whirlpool tub, ceramic shower with glass door and rainfall shower head, ceramic backsplash, edging and flooring, double vanity, a fireplace and 20-inch flat-screen LCD TV.

"We took a home that had a high-end kitchen to begin with, and we focused on the master suite," Hughes says.

Another home on the "Ultimate Street of Dreams" is the rustic Colony, featuring a sunken family room, full stone fireplace, cedar beams, walls and trim and Shaker cabinets throughout the 28-by-68-foot home.

Hughes says that 422 Homes consultants, factory representatives and personnel from financial institutions will be on hand at the home show to help potential buyers discuss housing options. The homes on display are ranch models, but the plans can adapt to Cape Cod or two-story designs. Prices vary according to options.

Home-show visitors also will be able to check out new decorating ideas in a group of 20-by-20-foot "Ultimates" displays showcasing new products and design trends. Home Depot will offer "Ultimate At-Home Services," which include fencing and roofing materials, riding mowers, patio surfacing, kitchen cabinets and countertops. Home Depot also will provide "how-to" seminars and workshops each day of the show.

The "Ultimate Garage" will be displayed by Premier Garage of Pittsburgh, based in Greensburg Industrial Park and the Strip District. Ben Bennett owns the local franchise of the nationwide business dedicated to garage enhancement.

"We want to make the garage an extension of the home," Bennett says.

By working with homeowners to determine their needs, Bennett installs cabinets, workbenches, organizers and floor systems that best use available space. For a recent garage project in Unity Township, Westmoreland County, he added cabinets to store the homeowner's sporting equipment and tools and a workbench. The renovation cost about $6,000 to $7,000.

Bennett believes many families today need to get organized.

"Some people have too much stuff and nowhere to put it," he says. "We create places to put it."

Other "Ultimate" displays in the South Hall of the Expo Mart include Luxury Bath's Ultimate Bathroom, JPS Landscaping's Ultimate Patio and Backyard which includes a putting green for golfers, Renewal by Andersen's Ultimate Dream Windows and Innovative Building Concepts' Ultimate Kitchen.

Home-show manager Helen Renshaw says 350 vendors will offer visitors new products and services for their homes and gardens. In the Center Atrium, B.E.A.R. of Pennsylvania will be a new addition to the show, displaying its lineup of play sets, trampolines and basketball courts.

New this year will be "Animal Avenue," an area dedicated to pets and pet-care products.

There also will be a children's activity area.

"Another new feature last year that really took off' and will be repeated is a series of seminars and workshops being held each day of the show, says Renshaw, adding that presentations are scheduled by Home Depot, Home Design magazine interior designers, TomBoy Tools, United First Finance and Jane Nugent's "Garden Talk" radio show.

Some 40,000 visitors are expected during the show's four-day run, the show manager says.

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