CAMAS — The annual NW Natural Parade of Homes show makes its return Friday, kicking off a two-week event that will give visitors the chance to view six of the latest and greatest creations from local homebuilders at the Dawson’s Ridge development in east Clark County.
The event is hosted by the Building Industry Association of Clark County and sponsored by NW Natural. The presenting sponsors are DeWils and Homestreet Bank. This year’s show features six houses from builders Glavin Homes, Axiom Luxury Homes, MC Custom Homes, Cascade West Development, Affinity Homes and Forged Custom Homes.
Each of the homes was pre-sold and designed by the builders to match the specifications of the buyers. Some of the buyers will begin moving in immediately after the show, according to BIA spokesman Jim Beriault.
At one time, it was common for some of the show’s houses to be “spec” homes without a buyer lined up in advance, Beriault said, but pre-sale has become the preferred model in the post-recession era.
“It’s the best way to make sure these types of shows continue,” he said.
The homes on the tour all sold for $1.5 million to $2.5 million, Beriault said, and range from 2,725 to 8,151 square feet.
One of the show homes is a remodel — the first to be featured in the parade’s 42-year history. The house was the only developed building on the property that became Dawson’s Ridge, Beriault said. Builder Forged Custom Homes opted to do an expansion and remodel rather than starting from scratch.
The event also includes a “virtual reality house” intended to show off the technology new home buyers can use to view house designs before they’re built. The actual house is still under construction at Dawson’s Ridge, but visitors will be able to go on a “walkthrough” tour using virtual reality.
Each of the houses is fully landscaped and furnished. Beriault said the event’s goal is to connect builders with potential customers and give visitors a chance to familiarize themselves with the builders’ work and come up with their own ideas for their dream home.
“There’s just a plethora of ideas you can pull from,” he said.
Each home’s design is unique, but there are common elements that have become popular in recent years, Beriault said. One of them is a kitchen and great room with a shared open floor plan and high ceilings that allow for internal balconies on the second floor.
“The great room (and) kitchen combo is really now a mainstay,” he said, “but what I’m seeing more of now is bringing height into that space.”
Covered outdoor porch and patio spaces are also popular, he said, because they allow residents to enjoy the Pacific Northwest outdoors year round.
The Parade of Homes opens to the public on Friday and continues through Sept. 22. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets, directions and more information are available at clarkcountyparadeofhomes.com.
The BIA begins the show planning process each year by asking developers to nominate sites with undeveloped lots, Beriault said. Then the agency sends out a commission team to evaluate the candidates and pick one for the show.
Last year’s Parade of Homes was at Camas Meadows Golf Course, and the planners decided to stick with the Camas side of the county this time around. Dawson’s Ridge is located at the west end of Camas, a short distance north of Highway 14. The namesake ridge offers sweeping views of the Columbia River.
The developer lineup changes almost every year, Beriault said. Some builders are reliable yearly participants, some might be one-time newcomers, and some might join for several years and then take a break, only to return a few years further down the road.
The Dawson’s Ridge project broke ground at the end of February. Work continued right up until Thursday’s VIP preview night, which was expected to draw around 400 guests. There was a flurry of activity both inside the homes and all around the development site this week as crews put the finishing touches on the landscaping and interior decor.
When the houses take shape, there’s a sense of discovery for the BIA too, Beriault said, because the agency isn’t privy to all the design details that the builders and homeowners create together.
“We sort of get the show we get, which his kind of fun,” he said. “I don’t know what kind of show I’m going to get until about 60 days out. I’m never let down, though.”
The six homes in the show are the first to be built at Dawson’s Ridge, but they won’t be the last — Beriault estimates the development has room for at least another 30 lots.