Not many people will build a house, then tear down parts of it just to make it right. But longtime Carson City builder Jim Bawden said he's done it a number of times.
"We tweak them a lot," he said. "We've shut down the models to redo portions that didn't meet our expectations. I don't mind doing that. I want what's best for our customers."
Wanting what's best is what drives Bawden to constantly improve his homes. Last month, Landmark Homes won the first Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy Efficient Design in New Home Construction.
"It's a nice thing to happen to Landmark," Bawden said. "We do take pride in what we do."
Bawden's latest project is also his largest - a 5,000-home planned community in Lyon County built on 2,000 acres adjacent to his Sutro properties east of Dayton.
"It's the biggest project I've done," he said. "I've planned for school sites, a 20-acre park with a swimming pool - a place for the community to gather like Mills Park. They really don't have that in Lyon. There's also a commercial corridor. I want to include the socioeconomic amenities so people want to go out and live in the community. It's a big undertaking, but I guarantee I'll pull it off. It will be something unique to Northern Nevada."
In addition to his proposed project in Lyon, Bawden recently remodeled the former Amerigas building on Highway 50 east for his new business Summit Metro Realty Group an industrial real estate company he hopes will add to the commercial/industrial market in the area.
"I think I can do a better job. I have a lot of inventory to list and sell, some things that have not been on the market before."
Energy efficiency is the keynote to what Landmark does, he said.
"Depending on lifestyle, a homeowner can save 10 percent to 35 percent (on heating and cooling bills) over a home not designed for energy efficiency."
Design includes the use of vinyl-clad or vinyl-constructed windows, the types of material used for insulation, where windows are placed and how houses sit on the property.
Heating registers in homes built for energy efficiency will be found on the ceilings instead of the floors so that ceiling fans can push the warm air through the house and so that home owners aren't limited by where they can place their furniture
Bawden uses vinyl windows, made with the same material used in PVC pipe. The plastic does not conduct the cold of winter or the heat of summer.
Bawden has challenged his subcontractors and suppliers to bring in their newest products and ideas. When he first began building homes full time in 1984 Bawden said it was difficult to find supplies.
"Look at the houses that are 20-years-old," he said. "Every builder was using the same materials. It was all you could get here. I decided to start building houses. I looked at what was there and said I think I can do a better job. I've been really successful.
"I look at what customers want. What do our California customers want in a house in Northern Nevada. We design for our clients. The designers are going to other areas and bringing back ideas. We try to design for a wide variety of people."
Though he couldn't name a favorite model, Bawden said "I get attached to all of them in the design process. Openings are always a real exciting time for me. It's then that people get a chance to see what we put on paper for themselves.
"I've always had a knack for good design. I want people to walk into our models and get a warm comfortable feeling. How you get that feeling is by what you put into it - the window treatments or maybe by moving the front door a little bit."
The early stages of the Pebbleridge model at Northridge is one example of how some minor adjustments can make a big difference.
"The problem was these large walls," he said walking through the front door of a vaulted entryway and living area that is two-stories tall. "Sometimes you walk into a house and know this isn't going to work."
To lessen the impact of the two-story walls, the green walls are changed to white about half way up and trim has been added to the fireplace wall. Windows were also added high on the walls.
"The difference in colors really makes it stand out," he said. "The banding helps break up the walls and we added the windows because we wanted the upper light.
"It's a combination of things. The kind of feeling you have to get when you walk in. I've been doing this for a long time, I pretty much know what it is and then I bounce it off the design team."
In addition to building homes, Bawden said it is more important that the home be livable.
"It has to function as a home," he said. "Kitchens are really important gathering areas for men and women. There is nothing worse than a good looking kitchen that doesn't work."
Bawden said they may begin selling backyard landscaping and window coverings as part of the home package.
"It's a neat concept," he said. "We have a lot of customers who are 40-45 years old and want complete scenarios."
Name: Jim Bawden
Home: Carson City
Career: Left the Carson City Assessors Office in 1984
Began building homes full time in 1989-90
Has built about 1,100 homes to date, 175 in Carson City this year.
Has plans to build 5,300 homes; 300 in Carson City, 5,000 on 2,000 acres in Lyon County.