STL Life

Blog Archive for September, 2010

Homebuilders Named Edward Lott as New Home Sales Manager of the Year

Categories: Ashton Woods, Bordeaux Condominiums, Buying a New Home, Living In St. Charles, Living in St. Louis, Missouri Housing Market, News & Announcements, Specials & Incentives, The Enclave at Heritage, The Meadows at Ohmes Farm, The Pointe at Heritage Crossing, The Townhomes at Belleau Creek, Tuscany, Uncategorized | Posted: September 28, 2010

The Sales & Marketing Council of the Home Builders Association of Greater St. Louis & Eastern Missouri has chosen Edward G. Lott of Payne Family Homes as New Home Sales Manager of the Year.  Lott has served as Payne’s Vice President-Sales & Marketing for the past two years.

Under Lott’s leadership, Payne Family Homes will triple revenues in calendar year 2010. The company grew year over year building permits in 2009 over 2008 more than any other home builder in St Charles County. The homebuilder also projects another increase in building permits of 25 percent for 2011.

According to Payne Family Homes President Ken Kruse, “Ed Lott’s knowledge and expertise in new-home sales and marketing have been key contributors to the rapid growth and success of our company.  He has assembled one of the finest sales teams in our area, and he continues to motivate and guide them to even greater levels of success.  We are proud to have a new-home professional of his outstanding caliber at Payne Family Homes.”

In addition to managing Payne Family Homes’ sales team, Lott also coordinates the company’s marketing activities for its nine communities in prime locations throughout St. Charles County and most recently St. Louis County.

Lott also has been a consistent stand-out and award winner from the HBA’s Sales & Marketing Council.  In addition to chairing the SMC, he twice received its prestigious Hugh L. Pettus Award for the SMC builder member who does the most to further the council’s goals.

A member of the HBA’s Board of Directors, Lott is a lifetime member of the Seven Figure Sales Circle of the National Association of Homebuilders and an NAHB Certified Instructor.  He also earned his Certified Sales Professional (CSP) designation from the NAHB and is a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI) of the National Association of Realtors.

Prior to joining Payne Family Homes, Lott was Vice President-Sales and Marketing for several well-known St. Louis-area homebuilders.

A resident of Eureka, Lott received his B.S. degree in business administration, accounting and finance from St. Louis University.  He earned his M.A. degree in management from Webster University, where he is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Applied Management.

Payne Family Homes crafts distinctive homes that are built to stand the test of time, with eight well-located communities in St. Louis County, St. Charles, St. Peters and Cottleville.  Their communities include Ashton Woods, Bella Vista, Bordeaux Condominiums, The Enclave at Heritage, The Meadows at Ohme Farm, The Pointe at Heritage Crossing, The Townes at Belleau Creek and Tuscany.  All Payne Family Homes neighborhoods are served by an AAA-rated school district, and all of its St. Charles County communities are located in one of Money magazine’s “100 Best Places to Live in America.”

For information, call 314-477-1218, or visit www.paynefamilyhomes.com.

How to Decorate a Home on a Budget

Categories: Buying a New Home, Uncategorized | Posted: September 24, 2010

Decorate a room on a budget. All it takes is a bit of creative thinking and some elbow grease to create an inexpensive but lively decorating job. Ellen Wortham, ASID, of JE Design Group, LLC, offers some tips on how to decorate on a budget. Ellen’s interior design expertise is utilized in many ways at Payne Family Homes to help Payne achieve their mission to craft distinctive homes built to stand the test of time.  Here is Ellen’s advice…

When starting with new construction you have a lot of material selections to make.  Of course everyone wants it all and it becomes a dilemma as to how to prioritize upgrades on your wish list…

Tip #1:  Always consider structural selections first. Ceiling heights, tray ceilings, bay windows, walk-outs, service doors, etc … these are not easy or inexpensive changes to make down the road.  The “wow factor” of architecture alone can make a huge impression.

Tip #2:  When making exterior material selections consider the “life” of each item.  Brick and stone will always be on the house.  This would be a wise upgrade if necessary.  Roof and siding colors are only changed as maintenance dictates.  Consider “classic” material selections that will stand the test of time and not an immediate clue to tell the age of your home.

Tip #3:  Don’t discount natural light.  It is inexpensive and a beautiful highlight to your home.   There are a few spaces in hallways or lower levels where it becomes necessary to add artificial light, so pay close attention to “shadowing”.

Tip #4:  Minimize flooring changes.  Multiple floors can make a big house look small.  When making a flooring change in an open area, blend the colors (i.e.  carpet and tile).  A doorway is a natural transition point to make a flooring change.

Tip #5:  Choose cabinetry wisely… you can always embellish the counters, backsplash, and hardware later.

How do I furnish my new home with limited decorating dollars?

Tip #1:  Paint!  Paint is the biggest bang for your buck.  Paint is an inexpensive finish and a do-it-yourself item.  Most people limit the paint to walls, but don’t forget your ceiling.  Consider it “the fifth wall”.  White ceilings can often visually lower a ceiling.  If you want to “heighten” your ceiling, go a couple shades lighter than the wall.  This will eliminate the high contrast horizontal line where the wall and ceiling meet.  The biggest fear I hear among my clients when choosing paint colors is “oh, that’s too dark…!”  Always go a shade or so darker than what you think you want in order to get the look you are expecting.  Typically this is the 3rd-5th color on the paint swatch.  Also, if you are in doubt don’t be afraid to hire a professional to help you pick the colors.  This will save you money because you will only have to paint once!  The paint tip also extends to furniture, lighting and accessories.   Updating the finish on basics and adding a few new items can go a long way in updating the look of your home.

Tip #2:  Edit your existing items.  Take inventory of what you have and what will help you achieve the look you want.  If it does not… consider repurposing or donating.  Also take a “less is more approach”.  The trend today is simplicity through clean and simple lines.  This goes for furniture and accessories.  When accessorizing, go with fewer and bigger items, as these create more of a focal point and impact.

Tip #3:  When shopping for furnishings for your home, don’t take things at face value.  For example, if you find pillows you really like, build your bedding ensemble from that by adding additional prints or solids to coordinate.  You do not have to purchase the entire set… in fact, “mixing it up” creates more of a custom look.

Tip #4:  Add architecture where there is none.  Adding millwork can enhance a space and give a room personality.  Often times people will try to add furnishings and accessories to a room trying to fill a void.  Crown molding, baseboards and wainscoting can accomplish what furnishings cannot.  Extra hint:  Beware of chair rails!  They can divide a room in half.  Opt for a chair rail height at about 60” off of the floor.  Then, following through with paint on walls and ceiling in high contrast can create a lot of drama in a space.

So, have no fear, you can decorate your new home on a very limited budget. For additional ideas, feel free to visit JE Design Group at http://www.jedesigngroupstl.com/. From everyone at Payne Family Homes and JE Design Group, Happy Decorating!



"Payne Family Homes Expands During Slump”

Categories: Ashton Woods, Bordeaux Condominiums, Buying a New Home, Living In St. Charles, Living in St. Louis, Missouri Housing Market, St. Charles, St. Louis, St. Peters, Uncategorized | Posted: September 22, 2010


The Post Dispatch posted an article entitled, “Payne Family Homes Expands during Slump,” in their Friday edition. Robert Kelly, reporter from the Post Dispatch, describes how Payne Family Homes continues to flourish, even during these economic hard times.

“As home builders throughout the area hold steady or continue to scale back on construction during the lingering housing slump, a few are bucking that trend.

Some are even venturing into new territory. Payne Family Homes, a successful St. Charles County builder, is developing its first new subdivision outside that county.

Payne has started building its Ashton Woods subdivision, with 65 single-family detached sites at Eureka in southwestern St. Louis County. Simultaneously, it has added another new subdivision in St. Charles County by opening with 50 sites at Bella Vista in St. Peters.

The new properties have a combined completion value of more than $25 million, based on Payne’s intent to price the homes from the high $100,000s to the low $200,000s at both new subdivisions.

The company has gone to eight from six subdivisions in one year, and it also tripled its work force to 27 employees from nine.

Ken Kruse, president of Payne Family Homes, said he had no real magic formula for success in building and selling new homes during a recession.

‘The main thing we focus on it that we make sure we meet market demand,’ Kruse said. ‘Previously, we were overbuilt. But right now there are so few housing starts in our market that it’s unsustainable. Demand is increasing.’

Sean Flower, president of the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri, agreed that demand for new housing was slowly increasing.

‘It’s a much more stable environment now,’ Flower said. ‘Demand hasn’t skyrocketed through the clouds. But you can sit down and reasonably plan for the future now.’

But he said few area builders were expanding their business like Payne Family Homes.

Flower’s company, Flower & Fendler Inc., has built higher end houses in the $400,000 and up range in the Fenton and Columbia, Ill., areas. He said demand for those homes plummeted in late 2008 and early 2009 but has been slowly rising this year.

Payne Family Homes primarily builds houses starting in the low $100,000 range up through the $300,000s. Demand for those houses is picking up steadily in much of the St. Louis area, Flower said.

Kruse acknowledged that Payne, like most builders, had lowered prices on several of its new homes over the last two years. And he said that was working to the benefit of the company this year.

‘Only get better’

Payne closed on 35 new homes in all of 2009 and already has closed on 55 new homes this year, he said, adding that the company could increase its business by 25 percent or more next year over this year.

‘There’s no question that we are bouncing along the bottom of the housing market, and it can only get better,’ he predicted.

Payne Family Homes was formed in March 2009 after its owners bought the assets of the former Manlin Homes. David Payne was managing partner of Manlin Homes for three years, and he remains a co-owner of Payne Family Homes. Allan Schroer, a former executive with Manlin, is the other co-owner.

Kruse, a former executive with the Jones Co., has headed the financial end of the business since the formation of Payne Family Homes. He said his training as a certified public accountant helped him maintain a healthy bottom line for the company.

‘Operationally, we need to execute at every level and run our financial model to compete during these difficult times,’ he said. ‘By researching our neighborhoods, offering a product to meet today’s lifestyle needs and providing our customers a great experience, we have been very successful.’

This year, the company began offering two new basic home styles, which Kruse said had helped spur sales.

One comprises 12 floor plans base-priced from the high $100,000s to low $300,000s. Its premise is to provide owners with a choice of space and design elements. The second is base-priced in the low $100,000s and will allow the company to sell to those who can’t afford Payne’s larger houses but still want new homes, Kruse said.

He said large kitchens and dining areas, spacious family rooms and high ceilings were popular features in most of Payne’s house plans.

Without giving specifics, he said that the company was studying potential new subdivision sites in St. Charles and Jefferson counties, and that it also might move into the Metro East area in the near future.

Kruse said he learned through genealogical research only after getting involved in home building that his great-grandfather, Henry Grote, also was a noted homebuilder more than a century ago.

Grote’s Beetz and Grote Co. built houses in south St. Louis in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Kruse said his job destiny might have been in his blood, although he didn’t know it until recently.”

Payne Family Homes incorporates features that bridge the gap between affordability and luxury-new-look exteriors, flexible floor plans and cutting-edge design elements, which can all be personalized to meet the design and budget needs of the buyer. Anyone in this economy can buy a Payne Family Home that they deserve.

Advantages of Buying an Inventory Home

Categories: Bordeaux Condominiums, Buying a New Home, Living In St. Charles, Living in St. Louis, Missouri Housing Market, Uncategorized | Posted: September 20, 2010


Buying a new inventory home may not be the first thing you think of when buying a new home. The truth is that buying a new home builders inventory home is one of the best values around.

If you have never considered buying an inventory home, here are some reasons why looking into one may prove to be very beneficial.

When you decide it’s time for a new home, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to wait? So, an inventory home may fit best into your home-buying schedule. You will never have to endure the building waits and heart aches with an inventory home. It is finished and move-in ready with simple upgrades available! Payne Family Homes knows that life is busy, why wait any longer? At Payne Family Homes, we understand that your time is precious and life moves quickly. So, an inventory home may fit best into your home-buying schedule. Also, you can still chose a home with the look and style that is right for you but you can also visualize exactly what it looks like. Is a Ranch style home right for you? Perhaps a low-maintenance lifestyle cottage home or a traditional condominium suits you best. Then, Payne Family Homes can make that happen. We have several select inventory homes in many design styles, offering a wide range of homes with the look and value that you deserve.

Want to pick your community and school district? We encourage you to. That is why Payne Family Homes offer our homes in communities that are located in excellent school districts and parts of the Greater St. Louis area that can offer safety, convenience and booming communities. We value that family needs are number one in choosing the right home and community.

Our inventory homes are professionally coordinated and there are also financing specials available for inventory homes. Payne Family Homes can answer all your needs, concerns and questions regarding one of our select inventory homes. We look forwarding to working with you. Visit our contact page so that one of our unique sales representatives can assist you.

Grand Opening at Ashton Woods in Eureka on September 26

Categories: Ashton Woods, Buying a New Home, News & Announcements, Uncategorized | Posted: September 20, 2010



Excitement is in the air as Payne Family Homes prepares for the official debut of its first residential community to be built in St. Louis County.  Payne will grand open at Ashton Woods in Eureka on Sunday, September 26, introducing County homebuyers to the firm’s wildly popular new “Lifestyle” design collection.

The gala event is scheduled from noon to 5:00, and plans include food and beverages, a coloring contest and various other activities for children – and a $20,000 price reduction for customers who make their purchase during the grand opening period!

Area homebuyers – from newlyweds to downsizers – have given Payne Family Homes a warm welcome, and 11 of the firm’s 65 homesites in Ashton Woods have already been sold or reserved. 

Headlining the Grand Opening celebration is the professionally decorated “Bristol” display, one of 12 innovative Lifestyle Series designs created by Chicago-based architect Paul Knitter.  This 4-bedroom two-story features a switchback side staircase, flex room, formal dining room, loft, and an expansive great room that is completely open to the island kitchen and café area for family meals. 

The Bristol is shown with a 3-car front-entry garage, deluxe kitchen, extensive hardwood flooring, designer ceilings in the master bedroom and dining room, and a “princess” bedroom suite, which adds a third full bath and moves the standard second-floor laundry to the main level.

Numerous other floorplan variations are available but, with these few exceptions, Payne has chosen to display the Bristol with minimal upgrades in order to emphasize the impressive list of standards built into every Lifestyle Series home.

Designed to be highly functional, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable to a wide range of buyers, plans start from $199,900 and encompass 1627 to 3388 square feet.  Each is offered with a choice of four or five architecturally distinctive elevations, and 3-car tandem garages are price-included with half of the homes in the collection.

Grand Opening visitors hoping to move promptly won’t be disappointed either.  Nearing completion at Ashton Woods is an inventory version of Payne’s “San Marino” ranch.  This gorgeous EstateSeries plan is one of the firm’s most requested homestyles and sale-priced at $299,999.

Community sales manager Donna Cusumano stresses Ashton Woods’ many unique attractions, noting, “Our homesites here are phenomenal!  They vary from 9600 to more than 14,000 square feet, and virtually all back to trees or common ground.” 

In addition, the scenic property is commuter-friendly, located just south of Interstate 44 and adjacent to The Legends.  Public education is provided by the acclaimed Rockwood School District, and the City of Eureka has recently purchased 15 nearby acres and initiated plans for an exciting new municipal recreation center.

Grand opening details, comprehensive descriptions of the Lifestyle Series, and driving directions are posted on the company website, www.PayneFamilyHomes.com.  Ashton Woods is open daily, and Cusumano invites questions at 314-565-8465.




A Day at the Spa

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 10, 2010

From the16th century to the 21st – people enjoy the pleasures that a day at the spa has to offer.

Centuries ago, spas typically offered health treatments – the belief was that the mineral waters in these treatments had curative powers. Dating back to prehistoric times, these practices have remain prevalent and are as widespread as Europe and Japan.
In medieval times, spas were used to clean and beautify the body, and mange stress and increase relaxation. The same can still be said for its practices today. It is said that this type of bathing not only helps to provide relaxation but helps manage blood pressure related issues.

Payne Family Homes wants to provide YOU with the same relaxation that’s dated back so many centuries!
Prepare to pamper yourself at Payne Family Homes Bordeaux Condominiums.bordeaux-entry
Sunday September 12th, we will be providing complimentary pedicures, caviar facials, age rejuvenation treatments, and cosmetic tops from Mary Kay professional consultants.
After the pampering, clear your mind with a tranquil yoga session hosted by a personal trainer and don’t forget to relax your muscles with a complementary massage from a massage therap

ist!  St. Louis Bread Company will be catering this Day at the Spa with sandwiches and snacks, and attendees will be registered to win $50 Visa Gift Cards!
Bordeaux residents, feel free to bring family and friends! We will take those interested in the Bordeaux lifestyle on a


personal guided tour of New Building 4, due for completion in November!
Mortgage Specialist, Traci Everman from Cherry Creek Mortage Company will be available to answer any of your financial questions and pre-qualify you on the spot!

Come experience the life at Bordeaux Condominiums – a small community with a big lifestyle!

Welcome to Eureka!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 8, 2010

Welcome to the beautiful City of Eureka.  Located along highway 44 in St. Louis County, this city is adorned with beautiful trees and rolling hills that are especially breathtaking near fall.

Award-Winning Schools
Eureka is located within the award-winning Rockwood School District.  The Rockwood School District has been awarded the “Distinction in Performance” award by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and a “Gold Medal” rating from Expansion Management Magazine.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has given Rockwood School an Accreditation Rating of “Distinction in Performance with High Achievement.”

They have separate campuses for gifted, early childhood and alternative high school education.

Going Green
Not only does Rockwood School District strive to be the best in the area, they are strive to make a difference in the environment.
With Rockwood’s “Smarter Supplies” program, classrooms are provided with environmentally-friendly alternatives whenever possible.  All plastic cups used for science have now been replaced by 100% biodegradable corn cups.  Styrofoam is not an option for science supplies anymore- items are purchased in bulk and split up to save on packaging.  The food service department is working to convert Styrofoam cups, plates and trays to biodegradable paper products.

Custom Homes for Every Lifestyle
Payne Family Homes’ community Ashton Woods is located in Eureka’s Rockwood School District.
At Ashton Woods, Payne Family Homes introduces their new Lifestyle Series of 12 floor plans that include opulent master baths, 9-foot ceilings, see-through fireplaces that can open from the family room to a screened porch or to the living room, princess suites with their own private bath, kitchen center islands, three-car tandem garages for hobbyists and more.   Ranch models offer pre-designed finished lower levels, and prices start in the $190’s!

Eureka Days 2010

The City of Eureka will be hosting Eureka Days 2010 on September 9th – 11th.  The event will include carnival rides, a parade, car show/cruise, 5K Run, Cornhole Tournament, Kids’ Korner, live music and nearly 100 vendors.  Come visit Payne Family Homes and Melanie Cooper for giveaways and a drawing for St. Louis Blues Tickets!
Friday night will end with a high energy show by Smash Band, while Saturday will spotlight the Well Hungarians and a spectacular fireworks display

Come see all the City of Eureka has to offer this weekend!  It truly is the perfect city to live in!

Labor Day Weekend in St. Louis

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 2, 2010

The St. Louis area offers plenty of ways to enjoy the long weekend with family and friends!

Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden
September 4th, 5th, and 6th
Come celebrate the history, culture, and people of Japan at the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This festival is one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind in the U.S.
The Botanical Garden has been hosting the event for over 30 years – it boasts one of the largest Japanese gardens in North America. The festival includes a fruitful collaboration with several local Japanese-American organizations and showcases authentic Japanese music, art, dance, food, and entertainment!

Laclede’s Landing Big Muddy Blues Festival
Saturday, September 4, Sunday, September 5
Don’t miss St. Louis’ only blues festival featuring national, regional, and local blues acts. There will be a variety of choices for food and drinks at the outside booths or nearby restaurants and bars!

Greek Festival in the Central West End
September 4th, 5th, and 6th
The Greek Festival in the Central West End begins this Friday and is a must-see on Labor Day weekend! Each year, thousands of visitors enjoy music, dancing and some of the best Greek food you’ll find in the area. The weekend is packed with entertainment and all the Greek food you can eat!

Race for the Rivers in Frontier Park in St. Charles
September 4th, and 5th
All are welcome to come out and enjoy live music, great food and a family-friendly, hands-on environment this weekend! Activities include a custom canoe and kayak show. The festival is the perfect place to watch the race leader boards as you shop for outdoor gear from local vendors – and it’s a prime spot to watch the racers cross the flying finish line at the end of the day!

Labor Day Parade
September 6th
What better way to end Labor Day weekend than with the Labor Day Parade!
Sponsored by the St. Louis Labor Council, the Labor Day Festival and Parade begins at 9am on Monday at 13th & Olive and runs down Tucker Street, past St. Louis City Hall and west on Market Street to 15th Street!
Bring your lawn chair, grab a spot and enjoy Labor Day!