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

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 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.