“Three Times A Charm”

We are pleased to have customers of ours featured in the 2012 Parade of Homes Spring Preview! The article below, written by Katy Ervin, will appear in the Spring Guidebook.

“Pratt Homes finds a loyal partner in John and Linda, building three custom homes for their family.”

“John and Linda set their home buying experience in motion when Len Pratt of Pratt Homes equipped them with a pair of golden shovels and let them dig the first shovel of dirt from their lot to officially begin the build process. For the couple, this was a unique and fun way to begin the four-to-five month journey of creating a built-from-scratch home, a feat that some people would find daunting. The Stricklands, however, are unlike most homeowners choosing to build because this wasn’t a first. The couple, who are now retired, have built four homes throughout their married life, and the last three with the same builder, Pratt Homes.

Linda explained that when they first set out to build new, “We were not familiar with Pratt Homes at all.” In 1987, the couple saw an advertisement for a Pratt Homes development in New Brighton and, living close by, thought that they should take a look. They immediately became interested in building. “Then we did our research on the builder,” explained John. The couple visited other Pratt Homes models in the White Bear Lake area, spoke with past clients and were truly impressed by the quality of craftsmanship, customer retention, and unique style of Pratt Homes. The couple built their first Pratt Home in 1987, their second in 1998 and, since May 2011, are now living in their third Pratt Home.

“The interesting thing about working with Pratt throughout the years,” John explained is “that the neighborhoods have really maintained their original look, freshness, and feel.” The couple described Pratt Homes’ building style as “timeless – not necessarily traditional or trendy,” a classic look that sustains itself over the years. That, coupled, with high standards of quality and workmanship, give each home and the neighborhood a feeling of timelessness. “Today, Seminary Estates in New Brighton looks as inviting as it did when we first visited it in 1987.”

After building three homes with Pratt, John and Linda have formed a unique bond with the Pratt team. Many of the same people who worked on their current home, both contractors and Pratt employees alike, worked on their previous homes as well. “We thoroughly enjoyed the daily interactions we had with all of them during the build process and the level of professionalism they all displayed. Sustainability is a big challenge in a depressed housing market. Being able to maintain the value of your brand, consistently deliver a great product, and maintain the loyalty of employees and contractors reflects well of a company you can trust,” John said. “Pratt Homes is like our extended family,” Linda joked. “The only reason we kept coming back was because of that. We trust Pratt and we knew that we were going to have a beautiful product in the end.”

With a wealth of building experience behind them, the couple knew what they wanted and built a home that aligns perfectly with their current lifestyle. The home is cozy, warm, and a touch of rustic by design, with extensive use of natural materials, colors and emphasis on wood and stone. The openness of the main floor from the kitchen and dining area, through the great room and into the den, coupled with lots of windows and natural lighting gives the home a great look and feel, and with the high elevation the sunsets are spectacular.

Unlike John’s dad who lived in the same home for over 64 years, John and Linda enjoy change. “We like to move around a bit, experience new areas, and make new friends,” John explained. “It’s about creating new life experiences and reaching out and stretching yourself by trying new things. That’s been behind a lot of our moves. We have been incredibly fortunate to do this.” For Linda, “Life is just to short” not to.

For now, the couple plans to stay put. “You learn a lot over the course of building a home,” John explained. “We did a lot of things that we didn’t do in the other houses here.” While each of the Strickland’s homes has reflected different times with their family, this home is a true reflection of the couple’s personality and lifestyle today.

Still open to the possibility of a fourth Pratt-built home, however, John joked “I won’t call it the end of the journey…” Smiling, he added, “but we built this home to stay here for a long while.”