Family Embraces Life in the Calysta

In April 2020, Joe, Julia, and their four daughters moved into Gallagher and Henry’s Farmingdale Village community in Woodridge – the second time the family has inhabited a Gallagher and Henry-built home.

With four girls under age 12, Joe and Julia had outgrown their previous three-bedroom home in Woodridge. “We were at the point where we needed to spread out and find a bigger home,” Joe says.

Focused on staying in the same school district, the family began by exploring the resale market in and around Woodridge. “We were finding homes that either didn’t suit our needs or required a lot of work,” Julia says.

Then, Joe and Julia remembered Farmingdale Village, Gallagher and Henry’s new home community located in the southeast corner of Woodridge. Not only would a home in Farmingdale Village enable the family to remain in Center Cass School District 66, but it would also enable them to build a home that suited their needs. “We could get the space we needed and also have the ability to pick and choose what we wanted,” Julia says. “There wouldn’t be a need for a kitchen remodel because the kitchen was built the way we wanted it.”

The family also stood confident that Gallagher and Henry would deliver a quality-built home. “The home we were living in was built by Gallagher and Henry in the 1980s and we were the second owners,” Joe says. “Everything in the original home was great. The only area that we had a problem with was the addition, which was completed by a different company. When you look at Gallagher and Henry homes, you can tell the quality and durability is high, and we experienced as much.”

Touring different two-story models in Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series lineup, the family quickly selected the four-bedroom Calysta. “The first time we went through the Calysta, the girls were already claiming their bedrooms,” Julia recalls. The family then selected a cul-de-sac lot that bordered a wooded area.

Gallagher and Henry sales manager Sandie Kanakes guided the family through the construction process, moving from exterior selections to interior selections in an orderly manner over many weeks. “Sandie took us step by step and kept us on pace, which was great because we didn’t know anything about building a new home,” Julia says. “She would tell us what was next and encourage us to think about what we wanted, whether by looking online, sending us photos, or making recommendations. She got to know us and made thoughtful suggestions that simplified the entire process.”

Gallagher and Henry also accommodated the family’s request for custom changes to the Calysta floor plan. Specifically, the homebuilder installed a closet pantry in the kitchen, while a deeper pour in the basement provided higher ceilings. “I loved how we could adjust the floor plan to work for us,” Julia says.

Though unnerving to move amid a pandemic, the family has quickly settled into their new home. They enjoy the Calysta’s open floor plan, the family room’s electric fireplace, and a second-floor laundry room that has added ease and convenience to a necessary household chore. Most of all, the family appreciates having more than 3,300 square feet, which has been especially appreciated in the era of remote learning. “We don’t feel crunched at all,” Joe says. “We all have space we need and then some to spread out.”

And the gourmet kitchen already has Julia excited for the 2021 holidays. A longstanding family tradition brings extended family to her house every other December for multiple days of baking. “One year, we did 17 different varieties of cookies over the weekend, many using my grandmother’s recipes,” Julia says. “I’m on the schedule to host in 2021 and we’re going to enjoy it in this big, open kitchen with a large island.”

Home for the Holidays: 4 Tips to Cozy Up Your Home This Winter

The cold temperatures and gray skies consuming the outdoors this winter need not invade the inside of your home, too. With some thoughtful design and well-placed holiday cheer, you can create a comfortable, festive atmosphere in your home that delivers warmth and joy throughout the season.

Gallagher and Henry sales staff offer these four tips to cozy up your home this winter:

Tip #1: Add Texture
Texture serves a few important purposes in home design. It can add visual weight and contribute to the mood of a room, while the mere presence of different textural elements also prevents a room from feeling sterile. During the winter months, texture gains added importance to balance outside conditions. Use texture to create warmth and coziness by laying a plush rug over the family room’s hardwood floor, adding pillows to couches, or draping a rustic wooden ladder with throws.

Tip #2: Bring the Outdoors In
The holidays can be a stressful time of year and the winter blues are a real annual phenomenon for many among us. While greenery – whether real or faux – serves a design benefit in that it brings color, interest, and texture to any room, various research studies have also linked greenery to reduced stress, sharper focus, and improved mood. While the traditional holiday tree is the simple solution, wreaths, garland, and other seasonal arrangements also fit the bill.

Tip #3: Tickle Your Nose
Scent is often overlooked, but given the sense’s ability to evoke certain emotions or memories, it shouldn’t be. Scientific studies have linked the smell of pine to decreased stress, peppermint to improved energy and concentration, and vanilla, one of the most universally beloved scents, to happiness and relaxation. Baked goods are one simple – and tasty – way to bring pleasant scents into the home, while aromatic candles can do that while also adding soft light to the home. (It is worth noting that more summery scents such as citrus or coconut can help counter winter’s doldrums, especially during the lengthy post-holidays march to spring.)

Tip #4: Light the Night
With limited daylight available, lighting plays a practical role during the winter months. Quite literally, it lights our way through dark hours while it also provides us comfort and warmth. Light also serves an important emotional role, too, as it increases energy. The presence of holiday lights, candles, and other illumination in the home ensures that a safe, snug environment dominates the season.

The Affordable Luxury of G&H

With Gallagher and Henry’s new single-family homes, luxury is baked into the base price.

Of the seven most desirable luxury home features cited in Coldwell Banker’s 2020 Global Luxury Report, four come as standard offerings in Gallagher and Henry Lifestyle Series home plans, while two others can be easily accommodated.

It’s a strong reminder of the value inherent in a Gallagher and Henry home as well as the company’s responsiveness to contemporary buyers.

The Top Luxury Must-Have: Outdoor Space

The Coldwell Banker report identified outdoor living spaces as the top necessity for today’s affluent homebuyers. “The popularity of outdoor living spaces reflects a growing movement toward indoor/outdoor living, as people not only want to be closer to nature but also to maximize their homes’ usable space,” the report said. The novel coronavirus, of course, has only intensified the desire for outdoor spaces, as residents seek safe places to work, relax, or gather with others.

Large suburban lots are a given in every current Gallagher and Henry community, which provides homebuyers ample opportunity to extend living space into the great outdoors. More specific, both the Amberwood and the Fremont, the Gallagher and Henry’s two Lifestyle Series ranch plans, call for dedicated covered patios.

Next on the List: Multipurpose Space

After outdoor spaces, flex rooms or home offices ranked second in demand among luxury homebuyers, according to the Coldwell Banker report. “I think we’re seeing more of these multifunctional spaces because people want ease of living. With everyone working on laptops and being so mobile, I’ve found that many of my luxury listings must have a component that is multipurpose and multifunctional,” one agent said in the report.

All four two-story plans in Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series feature a dedicated office/study or flex room on the first floor. In some plans, such as the Calysta and Eden, a formal living room or dining room can be turned into a second multifunctional space as well. That added versatility and customization is something more and more buyers are beginning to prioritize.

Luxury Buyers’ Other Must-Haves

Vehicle storage, home gyms, and eco-friendly features were three additional must-have features identified in the Coldwell Banker report. Here again, Lifestyle Series homes answer the bell.

A three-car garage is standard in every Lifestyle Series home plan as is a basement, which can easily accommodate an assortment of workout and fitness equipment. In addition, all new Gallagher and Henry construction carries the ENERGY STAR label. Designed, built, and independently tested to meet strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR-certified homes use upwards of 30 percent less energy per year, which decreases utility costs and environmental impact.

Even an au pair suite, another one of the seven most desirable amenities among luxury homebuyers, can exist in a Lifestyle Series home. The second floor of the Calysta, for example, features three full bathrooms – one for the master suite, a Jack-and-Jill bath shared by two bedrooms, and a third full bathroom that, rather than opening to the hallway, can become an en suite for the home’s fourth bedroom.

Luxury Buyers Favoring New Construction

Luxury buyers are showing heightened interest in “turnkey properties where they can envision the luxurious lifestyle they are seeking,” said one Coldwell Banker agent. That’s ignited interest in new construction, as more than two-thirds of luxury buyers report heightened interest in a new build over a resale property.

In addition, nearly four out of five luxury buyers prefer open-concept floor plans, which remain a staple of every Lifestyle Series home plan. “Informal, casual, and luxurious are the key words describing the home they are looking for,” one agent said of today’s luxury buyers.

By offering quality-built new construction featuring open-concept floor plans and today’s most desirable home amenities as standard features, Gallagher and Henry ensures luxury living is attainable for more homebuyers and maximizes value for its homeowners