When it comes to building a home, many potential homebuyers think of freshly razed land, barren of trees and years away from the charm and character of an older neighborhood. More and more buyers are rethinking that idea and choosing their forever home based on neighborhood first.
Right now, the hottest address is in Prairie Village, known for its charm, community feel and classic architecture. And while the existing homes tend to be cozy and quaint, sacrificing space for character, clients of Lambie Custom Homes Inc., know that that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead, younger buyers are buying lots with existing homes on them, tearing them down and rebuilding their dream homes to their specifications with the help of Lambie Custom.
The company, founded 38 years ago by Jim Lambie, has worked primarily in southern Johnson County, building ranches, maintenance-free villas, 1.5 stories, reverse ranches and two-story options. Within each model there is plenty of room for customization. Seldom do they build any one of their designs without making alterations to suit the client’s needs. In the case of buyers in Prairie Village, the team at Lambie Custom works with Katie Trenkle of Architect It, LLC. Trenkle is a Prairie Village resident herself and has a strong commitment to keeping the Prairie Village aesthetic strong and consistent.
Although many love the look and feel of older homes, project manager Steve Lambie says that construction science has improved exponentially since the majority of Prairie Village was planned and built.
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“Some existing homes have really gone their lifespan and are just done. There are foundation issues and drainage issues that modern construction science can really address. A lot of the younger people love Prairie Village because of the atmosphere. It’s a very close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. A lot of younger people want to build their dream home, and they want the look of a Prairie Village Cape Cod style but they want to do that in a home that will last 100 years,” says Steve.
Both Jim and Steve Lambie are committed to building homes in the Prairie Village area that fit with the rest of the neighborhood, which means departing from the style popular in southern Johnson County and focusing on a more traditional Cape Cod style home. Their designs are just as innovating while working within the established style.
“Our goal with the tear down and rebuilds is to create homes that look seamless in their neighborhoods. No one wants to have a mansion go in next door that makes his or her home look like a carriage house. We aim to have happy neighbors as well as happy clients,” says Jim.
And through advances in construction science, that’s possible. While the average square footage of an existing Prairie Village home is around 1,200 square feet, Lambie Custom is able to create custom homes that are in keeping with the overall style of the neighborhood but that have nearly 2,800 square feet instead, without looking overly large in comparison to current houses. Steve says that while the footprint on each lot is larger, they still try to conserve enough land on each lot that each resident has adequate privacy as well.
One way that Lambie Custom is making the process of tearing down and rebuilding easier is connecting with the neighbors of each lot.
“I like to introduce myself to the neighbors at the start, let them know what will be happening and assure them of what is going on. I give them my cell number and let them know that they can contact me with questions morning, noon or night, even on weekends. Despite putting much larger houses on the same size lots, we try to leave enough side yard for mowers, etc. so that their neighbors don’t feel overwhelmed. Establishing those lines of communication is really important to us,” says Steve.
In each of their projects, Lambie Custom focuses on the individual needs of the client, and the Prairie Village projects are no exception. Steve says that no two projects are alike, despite fitting into a specific exterior aesthetic. And since Steve himself is a Prairie Village resident, he has a vested interest in keeping the neighborhood as the cozy, community-minded area that he first fell in love with.
Prairie Village is sought after for the exact same reasons that Lambie Custom is in demand – they focus on maintaining a happy community. Under the tutelage of Lambie Custom, they can do that for a century to come.
For more information or to see available floor plans, visit www.lambiecustom.com or visit their office at 8712 W. 151st St. in Overland Park, 913-897-0040.
Lambie Custom Homes, Inc.
On the web: www.lambiecustom.com