Saturday, September 15, 2007

Home is the Most Important Place in the World


I am crazy about IKEA’s new ad campaign - Home is the Most Important Place in the World, especially since it is exactly what I believe, build my life and my business around. The photography of the campaign as always is spectacular, and love that some of the images are of “trailers”.

So besides the possibility of it being someone’s most important place in the world, what is a trailer? My definition is that it’s probably one of the most misused terms in regards to housing, and technically describes a recreational vehicle more than a manufactured home. Todays manufactured housing is not made to be moved once it is in place, and should be set on a permanent foundation.

Trailer parks and house trailers became popular in the 1950’s when people who’s lifestyles were more mobile were looking for a way to take their homes with them. A hybrid of a travel trailer, these original units were inexpensive and in 1956 technology made it possible to build a 10ft wide unit offering the homeowner more space, and making the unit more spacious for spending longer periods of time in. A “trailer” was typically a home that could be pulled buy a car or truck, but the mobile homes that became popular in the 60’s had to be pulled by a professional truck company.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The winds of Katrina brought a new version of the trailer into our lives - the FEMA trailer. They were everywhere in the news, and it was our government’s answer on how to house the people who had lost their homes. The manufactured housing and recreational vehicle companies stepped up and did everything possible to provide the homes - it was a time in my life I’ll never forget. I worked with Patriot Homes to furnish 2,500 homes, and I only hope that whoever received them is enjoying them.

Now two years later there is a lot of discussion about Formaldehyde in the FEMA trailers, but the homes that they are discussing aren’t to my knowledge the manufactured homes, but the recreational vehicles. Just another example of how much difference a name can make.

I love trailers - that’s why I’m the Trailer Diva. But my idea of the ultimate trailer is an Aluminum bullet from the 60’s that I have lovingly restored, not a manufactured home. My dream manufactured home will be the one that is on some land in Arizona - stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Long Road Home

It’s hard to believe that Katrina roared thru all of our lives over two years ago. Living in Dallas, you may not have thought this would affect me as much as many living on the Gulf Coast, but when your parents have found their calling in doing disaster relief and you received a call from them in their Salvation Army canteen outside New Orleans and the Super Dome it gets personal. They were focused on feeding people in need and I was focused on the images that were floating across my television screen showing how life threatening the situation was. I couldn’t be more proud of my parents and the work that they do, and after spending a few days when I can volunteering with them, I don’t know where they find the energy and strength.

My parents have always been great role models, and if there is one thing I know about and have a passion for, it’s housing. My mother can cook for 2,000 as easily as she can cook for 2 - a gift I wish I inherited, but instead my passions tend towards making a house a home.

When someone loses their home, and in a lot of ways their identities - how do you move forward? Katrina not only swept away people homes, she also stole their memories, and in some cases their futures.

Rebuilding Mississippi and the Gulf Coast has gotten personal for me. From having the opportunity to visit Biloxi, Gulfport, and other areas that were ravaged by the storms, I’ve been able to hear the life-changing stories first hand and to see how these determined homeowners can’t be kept from the communities that they love.