How to Steal Architectural Ideas from Homearama

I was excited to have one of my designs featured in a past Dayton Homearama!  Since I started working in residential architecture, telling people “I design Homearama houses” has been the easiest way to explain what I do. It conveys the level of quality and detail that go into custom home building. Visiting these homes is a great way to get ideas for your own custom project.

In 2015, Homearama was a “touring edition.” The homes are in different neighborhoods, at different price points and represent several different styles of both architecture and life. 

I don’t like labeling architecture, but since they forced me to for the brochure, the home I designed for Radian Custom Homes at 2764 Scarborough Place in Beavercreek Township is “modern traditional.” Working with my friend Brian Moore from Radian, we made everything about this home traditional except the awesome, modern, gem of an entry that stands proudly on its traditional base.

Once inside the open floor plan you find the modern swath cuts straight through the open floor plan to a gorgeous wall of windows. I could go on and on, but in my world, words don't do the work justice. 

While you’re visiting a Homearama, make the most of your visit by collecting ideas for your own projects. Research shows that most people go on home tours to get decorating ideas. These homes are of course beautifully decorated, but if you are going to the show to scope out ideas for a new custom home, you will need to go deeper. You need to look past the pretty draperies and the cute baby rooms.

Here are a few ways to really get your money's worth out of the show and to get a great head start on your own project. And remember: you're looking for things you like AND things you don't like. They are both important.


Many times we fall in love with a design for reasons we don't really understand. It’s probably one of these factors: how the rooms are arranged, ceiling heights and treatments, room sizes and openness. Take your time and think about these things:

• Do you want the master bedroom on the first floor?
• Should it be next to the kitchen?
• How is the laundry situated in relation to the bedrooms?
• Where is the staircase placed?
• How open is the layout?

Outdoor Spaces

This is the hot item everyone is focused on at the moment. Take a little time to notice these details:
• What direction does the open space face (north, south, east, west)?
• How much is covered, enclosed, open?
• Sounds – can you hear the HVAC from the otherwise majestically quiet patio?
• How does the space feel? Is it big, quaint, cozy?

Notice Hard Materials

Look at things like flooring and tile, exterior siding or stone. Be the one who holds up the tour to study the bathroom faucets and built-in bookcases.

Talk to the Builder

Of course, ask who designed the house, but also ask what style the builder would call it. Did they build it for a specific client or as a speculative home to showcase their abilities? Ask budget questions. Were there any surprises? What would they do differently next time?

Most importantly, imagine your family and friends using the space. Of course it's beautiful but does it support the way you live and entertain? What things are so close, but not quite right?

Please remember to be kind. Every builder in a Homearama works hard and puts a lot of business risk into these homes. Tell them they did a good job and share with them one thing you really like about their house. 

- Sheri

As Founder and Principal Architect of Springhouse Architects, Sheri’s mission is to lead Clients through the building process with the Clients in control and Springhouse as their guide, advocate and ally.  With over twenty years experience in Residential Architecture, Sheri brings knowledge and confidence to your custom home project.

Lisa Saldivar