Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. ( has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Todd welcomes your feedback at or 248.446.1960.

Lean Design Blog: The Lean 2,400-square-foot chameleon plan

April 10, 2012

My Aunt Janice (rest her soul) gave amazing Christmas gifts when I was a kid. One of my favorites was “Hugo the man with a thousand faces.” It was basically a bald plastic head with a case full of disguise equipment. Hugo had mustaches, glasses, eyebrows and wigs galore. Cool gift, wish they still made ‘em.

This week we will look at a Lean-designed, 2,400-square-foot home designed for a growing family. This home picks up on many current trends in housing and, like Hugo, it has the ability to morph into countless facades. Let’s take a closer look:

A. The Family entrance keeps things organized. With a separate Laundry room, and a bench with cubbies and a drop zonesports equipment, backpacks and clothing have a place of their own.

B.  The large corner pantry in the Kitchen combined with a generous cabinet layout provides plenty of storage.

C. The Dining room is eliminated; instead casual dining with a sitting bay ensures the home will be perfect for large family gatherings.

D. The Open Family room makes the home feel very large while supporting the concept of open entertaining.

E. The Powder room is tucked away in a private location away from the action.

F. The front door is centered on the homes massing which is the key to allowing the home to easily change its face.

A successful concept for developing outstanding communities is to create Lean-designed homes that are current and have the ability to take on several different looks. This goes beyond the shutters/no shutters approach to alternate elevations.

When building homes in a production setting where the same plan may be built over and over again designing homes that are adaptable and have the ability to transform will keep the development fresh. Take a tip from my dear Aunt Janice and go Hugo style with your designs. It will surprise your competition and delight your customers.

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