Keeping abreast of the latest design trends, offering an array of finishes and materials, and fostering a team approach
help cultivate Demlang Builders’ successful growth.
By Barbara McHatton
You could say that building has fueled president Rod Demlang’s passion all his life. His company, Demlang Builders, Sussex, Wis., established in 1982 by his parents, has been an integral fixture among the northeast and southeast Wisconsin residential construction market for more than 30 years.
“I’ve always enjoyed the construction process,” Demlang says. “I cut my teeth in this business. Even as a kid, I was known for building the best fort on the block.”
Demlang and his team enjoy building homes so much, they try to pass those positive vibes onto their clients as they embark on the new home building process. “Many people tell us they’ve heard horror stories and enter the building process ‘on the edge,’ but [we believe] building the future home for your family should be a fun and memorable experience,” the company claims.
“Our entire team is involved in all of our clients’ projects,” Demlang asserts. “Our hands-on approach and our passion for what we do comes through in the quality homes we build.”
Demlang offers about 20 standard layouts to choose from, and is able to build from custom plans as well. “Our designs are not only beautiful, but livable,” he adds. “Every single inch of the space in our homes is useable.”
The Demlang team gets to know each client to help steer them toward their ideal home. “Some of our clients come to us when they want to scale down their home size,” Demlang adds. “Others may have kids moving back home or need space for older family members.” Using these factors as a basis, Demlang’s new construction specialists can reconfigure a floor plan to best suit their needs.
Demlang says his team gets many of its ideas from trade shows, trade publications and even clients themselves. “Our models incorporate a central kitchen area that’s open to a great room or hearth room,” he describes. “We’re seeing a move away from the formal dining room in design.” Pocket offices, small spaces that can be closed off when not in use, are another trend that the builder is incorporating.
“We’re adding a ‘family command center’ to some models,” Demlang adds. “It takes the concept of the mud room and makes it much larger.” This space has room for kids to do homework, a crafting area, washer/dryer and even a pet wash station.
In addition, large shower spaces with multiple niches and shelves that incorporate wide rain showerheads, free-standing tubs and farm sinks are popular. “We try to use environmentally friendly products, too,” Demlang says. “In addition to screened and covered porches, our decks are made with composite decking.” Exteriors incorporate stone and prefinished lap siding that carries a warranty.
Demlang’s clientele consists mainly of move-up homeowners who want a functional home with nice finishes, such as quartz countertops and upscale cabinetry. The company also builds vacation homes in northern Wisconsin. “Our homes feature elements of both traditional and contemporary designs,” he notes. “For instance, we’ll incorporate rustic elements such as post-and-beam construction, yet with simple, clean lines.
“We get a lot of business through our parade homes,” he adds. “We’ve been in local parades of homes since 1989 – we’re known for those models and they’ve been a great selling tool for us.” Prospective buyers can also view the builder’s website to get a feel for the homes Demlang builds as well as their craftsmanship.
Once the site and model are chosen, a Demlang design specialist meets with the customer in the design center. “All of our product samples are here in our showroom,” Demlang says. “Our showroom allows us to show how materials – such as flooring, cabinetry and tile – all work together.” He adds that this approach simplifies the selection process because all of the finishes are in one place, as opposed to having to visit various stores.
The design specialist can also narrow down the selection process to those finishes that are within the buyer’s building allowance. “We have large collections of materials,” Demlang notes. “For example, we have more than 50 types of tile to choose from.”
Only lighting and appliances are selected outside of the Demlang showroom. Yet, the builder simplifies this process as well through a network of “extended” team members at these outlets. “These team members are familiar with Demlang homes, so they know what products we use,” Demlang says. “They help steer the clients toward solutions.”
Demlang’s team approach also extends to its contractors. “We’ve built good relationships with our trade partners,” Demlang notes. “They know what to expect when they come to a Demlang construction site and they understand the challenges of our designs.”
To keep its trades connected during the construction process, Demlang uses customized software. The cloud-based project management system allows the builder and contractors to share daily logs and warranty documents, provide updates and even upload photos of the project as it progresses. Clients can also access this information to get updates.
“We’ve had such great feedback from people who say, ‘I’d build a Demlang again in a heartbeat,” he says. “In fact, we’ve had several dozen clients build with us a second or third time because the experience was so great.”