Sometimes, it pays to do the unexpected. RT Urban Homes took a risk when the firm built 99 new homes with a clean, modern design to be sold in the Twin Cities area, which is known for its traditional design aesthetic. The firm planned to target millennial home buyers who generally gravitate to a more contemporary look, but as it turned out, the updated design appealed to people of all ages.
A big part of the homes’ success was the use of high-quality materials like the REHAU RAUVISIO House lines in noir, terra and brilliant, which were sourced for their clean look and durability. A variety of timely and elegant color palettes also contributed to the homes’ appeal, with options ranging from sophisticated dark cabinetry with a masculine feel to warm wood tones with gold to a very clean and stark white.
One of the challenges of building homes for unknown future buyers is that the design must work for a wide variety of people, families and lifestyles. Even with different models targeting different price points, it’s important that the design and products create an aesthetic that feels inviting and personal.
Cabinetry and Finishes Set the Homes Apart
In this case, RT Urban Homes handled the floor plans and layouts internally and then partnered with award-winning design firm Martha O’Hara Interiors to select cabinets and finishes, from flooring, lighting and paint colors, all the way down to door hardware. Together, they worked to create home spaces that would offer home buyers something different than what everyone else in the Twin Cities area was selling, with an aesthetic that felt clean and fresh.
According to Paige Radford, director of brand management and marketing for RT Urban Homes, “We were initially targeting millennials, as a lot of them are moving into the market right now. We wanted to appeal to a younger audience that wasn’t looking for the Shaker-style cabinetry anymore, but that wanted a flatter, cleaner look. However, with the clean, modern design, these homes also appealed to the masses.”
She believes that’s partly because the open concept remains popular: “These homes have a nice flow of space appealing to all demographics,” she explained – and partly because the sleek, high-quality materials and rich color palettes address both form and function needs.
Durability was also a priority, according to Jeremiah Flinck, president of Designed Cabinets Inc., who noted, “The goal of the product line was to get the modern look while keeping the flexibility to create the living spaces that our market expects in the unique areas of the home. REHAU’s RAUVISIO lines allow us access to a durable and dependable product that we can fabricate into the cabinets needed to last a lifetime.”
Home Collections Suit a Variety of Lifestyles
The project encompassed three sets of home collections: The Revival Collection in Lakeville, which includes 99 detached townhomes; the Revelation Collection, which is a series of attached three-story townhomes, also in Lakeville, and the Revere Collection of single-family homes in St. Michael and Victoria. All three of these use REHAU products to provide the desired clean aesthetic.
The Revival Collection involved detached townhomes with outdoor patios that benefit from a minimalist design packed full of features that showcase the cabinetry and what new buyers are looking for. These include floating shelves, built-in buffets and waterfall islands in the kitchen and floating cabinetry and built-in benches in the baths.
The attached townhomes in the Revelation Collection feature open gathering room layouts, luxurious owners’ suites, tuck-under garages and glass-railed roof-top decks for outdoor entertaining, while the Revere Collection offers single-family homes featuring welcoming front entries, open gathering room layouts and all the amenities desired by today’s families in floor plans ranging from 1,300 – 3,500+ square feet.
Contemporary Built-ins Appeal to All
Built-in cabinets are featured in the mudrooms, resource areas, bathrooms and throughout all three of the home collections. Radford noted, “We chose REHAU for the built-ins because of its sleek design and modern look. It’s a bit different from what you typically see in homes in this area, but that’s part of its appeal.”
Kelli Keith, new home consultant for RT Urban Homes agreed: “When potential buyers came, they really liked that it was different; they walked through all the other models in the Twin Cities and it was that same, traditional look, and then they walked in here and it was a breath of fresh air with these modern clean lines.”
Surprisingly, Keith found that age didn’t seem to matter when it came to the homes’ appeal. “It was all over the map, age wise, from first-time buyers to people retirement age and everything in between. It’s more the overall look that drew them in – they were drawn to the appearance of the clean lines and the colors, and just the overall aesthetic.”
Style Packages Lend Unique Personality
When building a home, a feeling of customization is important, which is why RT Urban Homes offered a choice of four distinct interior style packages designed by Martha O’Hara Interiors. The Metro package features rich hues and dark cabinetry that create a sophisticated feel, with RAUVISIO terra Loft Oak used in the kitchen, on the island, and on the optional cabinets and fireplace fronts, and RAUVISIO Grigio Antrim used in the bathrooms.
The Gold Coast package features warm wood cabinets that mix gold and natural finishes using RAUVISIO terra Mission Maple in the kitchen and RAUVISIO noir Casa Blanca on the island, as well as in the baths, optional cabinets and fireplace fronts. The Aspen package has a polished and fashionable feel, featuring RAUVISIO noir Casa Blanca or RAUVISIO brilliant Meringa in the kitchen, on the island, in the baths and in the optional cabinets and fireplace fronts. The Soho package – which Keith said was the most popular – combines both rich wood and bright white cabinetry, featuring RAUVISIO terra Craft Elm in the kitchen and on the island and RAUVISIO noir Casa Blanca in the bathrooms.
Project at a Glance:
Project: RT Urban Homes, Twin Cities, Minn.
Project type: New residential community, model homes built in 2021
Builder: RT Urban Homes
Designer: Martha O’Hara Interiors
Cabinet builder: Designed Cabinets Inc.
REHAU products used: RAUVISIO noir Casa Blanca, RAUVISIO terra Mission Maple, Loft Oak and Craft Elm, REHAU brilliant Meringa