Monday, December 21, 2009

Trip to Japan resets perspectives

In October I had the opportunity to travel a very long distance to visit my daughter and son-in-law. My son-in-law is serving in the US military in northern Japan, a country to which I have traveled several times. It was great to be back in Japan - speaking the language, eating the food, enjoying the scenery. Of course the best part was spending time with family.

I emphasize 'long distance' because by being completely removed from Idaho and the busy day-to-day I was able to gain some respect for and perspective on the remarkable changes that have taken place in home building in Idaho. The most remarkable change is the reset in the cost of everything that makes up a new home. From lot prices to granite countertops to interest rates - everything costs less... a lot less.

The buzz seems to be all about REO, foreclosed, distressed, but the real story is how new homes are competitive with all of these! Take for example our Covington plan. This is a highly sought after plan we build that has evolved for over the past 15 years. The base price to build a Covington today is $117,879. Less than ever and with better technology (Energy Star, etc.). The smart buyers get it. We are signing contracts to build new homes for the smartest of the smart. They get it!

Reset. That's what came to me as I flew 10,000 miles to and from Japan. Dramatic changes in costs, resulting in new and better homes for Idahoans at dramatically reset prices, all MADE IN AMERICA!

Friday, November 27, 2009

We are pleased to be an Energy Star builder. We recently made this video with Aldis Garsvo of Mountain Post--Digital Imaging, LLC in Kuna and we think it came out well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Home Central offers greatest variety to buyers

Changing real estate market leads local builder to offer “lot shopping” to home buyers
Ted Mason Signature Home Central catalogs all vacant lots in Ada and Canyon counties, allowing buyers to have a Ted Mason home in the site of their choosing

Ever find the exact home you want, but wish you could put it somewhere else?

Ted Mason Signature Homes thinks it’s found the answer. At its new Home Central, the company has mapped the location of every buildable vacant lot in Ada and Canyon counties. If you find a lot you like, there’s a good chance Mason will be able to build you a home there.

“Home Central allows us to bring the combination of location and builder that the buyer most wants,” said Dan Clark, development director for Ted Mason Signature Homes. “We want to give people the ability to customize the location of their home and pick the location that appeals to them most.”

It’s always been common for builders to build in different subdivisions, but Home Central is intended to shift the decision-making process by to customers by allowing them to put the house they want on the lot they want.

Upheaval in the real estate markets is also opening opportunities. While construction costs stay fairly constant between builders, land prices have been falling, making it easier for people to shop for lots.

“More than ever, people have opportunity to choose their lot, because land is negotiable and many of the lots are in a distressed situation,” Clark said.

Home Central consists of three homes next to each other in Ted Mason’s Hightower subdivision. The main office, at 6150 Saguaro Hills Way, is a sales office, staffed between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., while the two homes next door are models to give people an idea of how Ted Mason homes can look and feel. All the floor plans are on display, along with photos, drawings and pricing information. The floor plans are exclusive to the company, designed by Ted himself.

But the key feature is a 3-foot-by-6-foot map of the valley showing where available lots are located. While the information on the map isn’t proprietary, it is assembled with considerable effort and must be updated regularly. The map includes a list of the characteristics of the lots, including dimensions.

Some developers won’t allow other builders to build on their lots, but Clark thinks there’s a chance the current economy will pressure them to open up, which will add to the attraction of Home Central.

“In this economy, a lot of developers would be happy just to sell a lot and get it out of their inventory, even if they’re not chosen to build on it,” Clark said. “There is a huge oversupply of lots and that opens up opportunities for all builders.”

Clark estimated that as of early July, there were about 4,000 buildable lots in Ada and Canyon counties – enough for at least a couple of years.

“The Ted Mason name and brand is driving the potential for Home Central,” Clark said. “Many people want the quality, reputation and three-year warranty of a Ted Mason home, but they want it in a non-Ted Mason subdivision.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ted Mason Signature Homes to host live music, singles get-together at Ambleside in Boise Saturday

July 22, 2009

For more information:
Barbara Johncox, 407-0759
Twitter: @tedmasonhomes

The Fleet Street Klezmer Band will perform this Saturday, July 25th from 7:00pm until 10:00pm at Ambleside Townhouse Community, off Fairview at Steelwood Dr. Look for the cool two story English -styled townhouses.

Music Under the Stars is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ted Mason Signature Homes, and Ambleside, a English Village townhouse community in the heart of Boise, doff Fairview at Steelwood. TMSH invites listeners to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and food and drinks (no alcohol please) and listen to this exciting music.

This is part of another project at Ambleside. From 4pm-6:30pm Ambleside is hosting Singles Play date where there will be access to the clubhouse, the swimming pool, and the village green area with badminton set up. Singles are invited to stay for Music Under the Stars, which is open to everyone.

Klezmer music drawing on centuries-old Jewish traditions, also incorporates various sounds of music from European and international traditions, including Roma (gypsy) music, Eastern European folk music (particularly Russian music), French Cafe music and early jazz. In different regions of Eastern and Central Europe, klezmer developed slightly differently, leading to an exciting range of subgenres.

Klezmer music also is intended to replicate the human voice, including sounds of crying, wailing and laughing. It is generally the violin's job to do this imitation. Often, a klezmer band will include a fiddle, a bass or cello, a clarinet and a drum.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't miss family movie night in Kuna Friday, July 17

Kuna is a great town and we are happy to be there with our Walnut Creek development. Hoping to start a new tradition, we are hosting the Kuna Family Movie Night starting Friday, July 17.

The first movie, “Journey to the Center of The Earth” in 3-D, will be shown at 9:15 p.m. at Kuna City Park, following live music. Free 3-D glasses will be available to the first 300 people. Another movie is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15 and other dates in August, September and October will be announced. All events are free to the public.

The idea for Kuna Family Movie Night began when I realized there were other valley movie nights, but none in Kuna and I thought it would be good to bring people together on nice evenings to enjoy a family event in Kuna. I like holding community events.

On June 20, we held a grand opening garden party for the Ambleside townhome development in Boise that attracted about 500 people over the course of the day. Last September, we held Family Fun Day at Walnut Creek, complete with bouncy jumps, kids games, live music, prizes, hosted ice cream truck and lunch. The down turn in the housing market has affected us, but we have never stopped thinking about Kuna.

From 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. there will be live music. Parents or guardians must attend with young children and they are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, sleeping bags, pillows and ice chests for food.

I am also inviting local non-profits, clubs, school groups and restaurants to set up concession or other tables to fund raise during the event. Food vendors will need to get permits via City Hall. We are also offering sponsorship opportunities for local businesses. Businesses would get their name on the movie screen, in newspaper ads, and any other marketing in association with the Kuna Family Movie Night. For more information call Barbara Miller Johncox at 407-0759.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ambleside grand opening a big success!

The forecast called for rain all day, but it turned out to be a beautiful day for the Ambleside Grand Opening Garden Party on Saturday, June 20. We had about 500 people show up during the course of the day. The Boise Hawks ballplayers and Humphrey the Hawk were there from 10 4 p.m. handing out free game tickets, while the Garden Party want from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thanks to everyone who came out to see Ambleside. Designing a townhome development along the lines of an English village is a new concept for Boise and we are pleased at its reception so far.

Just imagine how this will look when lined with rows of townhomes with rural English design.

So far, just one townhome building and the clubhouse have been built, but we're working on it.

The Glory Brass Band provided music.

Parking assistants were eager to help.

Coleen Hall was hired to class the place up and show how much fun it is to live at Ambleside. A tough job, but someone's got to do it!

No doubt about it, Ambleside is great for relaxing.

More people enjoying the great food of Chef Cordel Knight.

Myself and Sherry McKibben, the architect who designed Ambleside

A number of dignitaries came to the grand opening. At the ribbon cutting, L to R: two bankers involved in Ambleside; Boise City Councilmember Marianne Jordan; Sherry McKibben and Dave Cooper; Boise City Councilmember Elaine Clegg.

Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre and his wife also came to the grand opening.

Interior designers also did a great job.

We specialize in smaller, high-amenity homes and this Ambleside kitchen shows it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ambleside, an English Village in Boise, holds open house June 20
Food, music, dignitaries to attend events marking neo-traditional development off Fairview Avenue

June 8, 2009
For more information, contact
Ted Mason, 338-0420
Martin Johncox, 658-9100
Facebook: and
Twitter: @tedmasonhomes

Fairview Avenue is a great place for shopping, services and food and, increasingly, for upscale developments. Just 1,000 feet away from Fairview, a traditionally-designed, European themed development called Ambleside is now under construction.

“It is a different kind of development, especially for this location, but we have built our reputation on doing things a bit differently than the competition and this will be a very desirable community,” said Ted Mason, owner of Ted Mason Signature Homes. “Because the concept is so new, we thought it would be a good idea to have an event to introduce it.”

The clubhouse, pool and two homes at Ambleside have been finished and furnished for tours. Ambleside is north of Fairview Avenue off Shamrock street, next to the Steelwood Enterprise Center.

Rollout events start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 20 when the Boise Hawks will be at Ambleside until noon giving away tickets to anyone. Realtors will also be conducting tours of the model townhomes. The Grand Opening Garden Party runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. including gourmet catering by Chef Cordel Knight. The five-piece Glory Brass Band will play from 4 to 5 and Randy Coryell, pianist at Grove Hotel, will play from 5:30 to 8. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 5:15 and local dignitaries have been invited. The Garden Party will also feature product giveaways, such as Spa Days, Metro Express Car Washes, limo and dinner, personal trainer, and many others.

Ambleside will create the environment of an English village in Boise. Inspired by the art and architecture of the Georgian period, this sixty-seven townhome development is the result of a commitment to capturing the essence of the most beautiful towns in England, according to Mason. About 130 people are at work on the project and as of this writing, the first townhome building is nearing completion.

“We had a general idea of what we wanted to do at first, but we had trouble finding an architect/planner locally who could pull this off with sensitivity and style,” Mason said. “After some referrals, we met Sherry McKibben of McKibben+Cooper Architects.”

McKibben’s company is very highly regarded for urban planning and sustainable building design and she is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Director of the University of Idaho’s Urban Research and Design Center in Boise. Mason and McKibben, who have traveled in England and studied its architecture, also took inspiration from the book “The Most Beautiful Country Towns of England” which served as a design guide.

Ambleside has a harmonious design, with townhomes near the entrance smaller, quainter and showing timber. Homes will progress in size and elaborateness as they near the far end, where a “manor house” will serve as the visual anchor. While having a stately appearance, the “manor house” is really a four-townhome building. That’s in keeping with the feel of an English village, but on a smaller scale.

“Having a grand entrance and focal point is a time-honored tradition in urban planning and we are pleased our development will feature it,” Mason said.

Ambleside will have all the modern conveniences, however, including a 2,500-square-foot clubhouse with fully equipped gym and pool. Buildings will have dormers, porches, siding and chimney pots. Rear-loaded garages mean no garage doors face the street. Homes range in size from 1,500 to 1,950 SF and start in the low $220’s. Each home will have a rear-loaded two-car garage, concrete slab storage room, barbecue-ready balcony, landscaped front yard with patio, fireplace, high ceilings, master suite, and more. The homes are Energy Star Certified and have a three-year warranty.

“This is the kind of development you might see in the North End, Southeast Boise or other desirable areas in our fair City,” Mason said. “High-energy Fairview Avenue is a great location for Ambleside and Boise residents appreciate attractive development.”

Mason said he got an unexpected endorsement: Bankers are a pretty conservative group and, like any developer, he has to justify the viability of the project to get funding. While Mason was giving them a tour of the site and explaining the development, one of the bankers said, “Wow, now I want to live here. I believe in this.”

While this might seem an unlikely time to launch a new development, Mason said there are advantages to building in a down economy. With a solid credit rating, financing is less expensive, as are building materials and labor costs.

“From a business perspective, we are building this when costs are low, then enter our sales mode as the economy recovers,” Mason said.

The Ambleside grand opening is part of a larger effort by Treasure Valley builders to encourage sales of new homes, called Home Run. Other developments holding tours on June 20 include Avimor, Strada Bellissima, Brownstone, Alpine Point and Hidden Springs. The developers have come together to pay for radio and television ads and promotions with the Boise Hawks. Met Life Home Loans representatives will at each of the communities June 20 to assist visitors with special financing. For more information, go to (the site will be up Thursday, June 11).