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The specs that sell.

Generous floor plans are the core of the Passages houses. But these choice products and materials can help close the sale.

Roofing and Siding

For the building shell, the Passages houses use BPCO's top-of-the-line double-layer asphalt roofing and BPCO [TM] vinyl siding. BPCO [TM] asphalt roofing is among the industry's finest, thanks in part to uncommonly good warranties ranging up to 30 years and including 100 percent labor and material protection for the first 4 or 5 years.

BPCO shingles are organic, with tar-saturated backings made of wood-pulp and rag fiber rather than the typical fiberglass. This makes the shingles more pliable during installation, less prone to splitting, and thicker and more substantial-looking than glass products. Most BPCO shingles are slightly larger than standard, with 65 shingles to a square instead of 80. This reduces installation labor by a fifth (that's nine hours saved on a 50-square job). BPCO's full range of shingles, from 222 to 310 lbs./square, offers 20 color choices overall to satisfy the roofing needs of nearly every segment of the market. The shingle line is complemented by a complete line of roofing products, including underlayments, PROGARD waterproofing membrane--a high-performance eave protector--and roll roofing products.

BPCO, the first company to side a house with vinyl siding in 1959, is still an industry leader, offering products that combine the low-maintenance benefits of vinyl with the great looks demanded in today's marketplace. BPCO's vinyl siding, in clapboard and Dutchlap profiles, is manufactured under rigorous quality-control standards to exceed all North American building code requirements. BPCO siding offers builders great flexibility to meet customers' aesthetic demands: The diverse product line includes seven profiles (vertical and horizontal) and is available in more than 12 colors.

Exposures range from 8 to 10 inches, on panels with a minimum length of 12 feet, which ensures labor-efficient installation. A full line of accessories, all woodgrain- and color-matched, includes everything needed for the complete job, from window and door trims to soffits, fascias and corner posts. And BPCO backs all of its siding products with a transferable lifetime guarantee.

Windows and Doors

A proven hot button in residential design is glass--lots of it. The Passages houses employ abundant windows and glazed doors to bring the outside in. Eagle [R] windows meet consumers' demands for energy efficiency and low maintenance while satisfying their desire for window sizes and shapes. The company's windows are available in a wide range of standard sizes and shapes with patented extruded-aluminum cladding on the exterior and natural wood interiors. Passages houses also feature Eagle's Modern Divided Lights [TM], which combine the traditional appeal of true divided lites with high energy efficiency.

"Buyers are still 'tire kickers' when you come down to it," says Schuyler Construction's Ken Rubenstein, who built the Connecticut Passages house. "They like to see traditional quality in their homes."

Eagle windows and sliding patio and French doors blend tradition with the latest technological advances. "Eagle makes the easiest-operating doors out there," says Rubenstein. "The jamb installation is standard. There are no proprietary materials needed." Eagle windows feature standard Low-[E.sup.2] Maximizer Plus [TM] insulated glass for optimum efficiency even in the most extreme climates. The Low-[E.sup.2] glass is coated with microscopically thin, optically transparent layers of silver glass sandwiched between layers of antireflective metal oxide coatings, which filter the summer sun's energy and reduce winter heat loss. Eagle Maximizer Plus glass lets in invisible sunlight while blocking ultraviolet rays by as much as 90 percent.

Rubenstein says Eagle's windows saved him $3,000 on storm windows alone. Preapplied jambs, preassembled multiple units, prepriming and modular sizing also reduce costs. Eagle also lets you create highly detailed yet affordable custom window units. And all Eagle products are protected by a 10-year warranty on glass and a 2-year warranty on wood components.

To continue the themes of quality, efficiency and good looks--and at the same time ensure maximum curb appeal--Perma-Door [R] entry doors were used. Perma-Door's full line includes top-quality steel and stainable steel entry door systems with wood or steel frames, prehung replacement doors whose steel frames install quickly within existing wood frames, and glazed steel patio doors. Resistant to weather, energy-efficient and practically sound-proof thanks to their solid urethane cores, entry doors come with a number of consumer-pleasing options, including:

* proprietary compression

* magnetic weatherstripping

* five-fin bottom sweeps with integral drip caps

* wool pile seals that block drafts and water

* adjustable thresholds with solid oak risers, and

* built-in thermal breaks.

Perma-Door manufacturers a wide range of traditional to contemporary door styles with a variety of panel configurations with decorative glass inserts. Matched sidelites and transoms offer the opportunity to create truly grand first impressions.

Baldwin [R] hardware outfits the doors of the Passages houses. Forged brass interior and exterior lock and passage sets give the homes an unmistakable measure of distinction. In addition to offering visual and tactile appeal beyond standard-issue plated hardware, Baldwin Lifetime Finish [TM] locksets are protected with a special patent-pending process that prevents tarnishing, and the finish and mechanicals are guaranteed for the life of the hardware. In addition, Baldwin offers a comprehensive range of products and intriguing design options. A complete line of styles and applications is available, including traditional large-scale mortise locks that have built-in deadbolts and can instantly dress up--and secure--a front entry. Historically accurate door hardware can put an all-important finishing touch on period-style homes. Baldwin also offers a full line of cabinet knobs and pulls, door knockers and decorative bath accessories.


Home buyers will tell you they want generous storage space. But in custom homes, where unusually shaped rooms provide personality and drama but reduce built-in storage, custom cabinets are often necessary. Buyers increasingly are demanding a consistent cabinet design throughout their houses. To accommodate this demand, yet maintain the high-quality/high-value approach that distinguished the design of the Passages houses, cabinetry from Merillat [R], Fieldstone [R] and StarMark [R] was specified.

Merillat's range of design options provided the builder of the Ohio Passages house with virtually all the cabinet sizes and styles needed. In the kitchen, the subtle oak finish and full-overlay, raised-panel styling of Merillat's Alexis line gave the room a fresh look. The pickled oak finish of the Cambric line lent a touch of elegance to the master bath. Meanwhile, in the children's bathroom, Whitebay was the perfect alternative--its bright, white laminate finish is easy to maintain, long-lasting and affordable.

Fieldstone and StarMark units were used in the Connecticut Passages house, because builder Ken Rubenstein wanted the cabinetry in each room to have a specific look. Each company's custom line offered a custom shop whose streamlined design-and-construction process results in delivery times that can be measured in weeks rather than months.

"In the bedrooms over the garage of the Connecticut house we had some unusable space, because the room was tucked into the eaves," says Rubenstein. "We specified StarMark cabinets there because they're customizable--we built them right into the roof slope. Now the bedroom has so much built-in drawer space that it doesn't need bureaus."

Similarly, an alcove beside the fireplace in the family room of the Connecticut house is custom-fitted with a Fieldstone cabinet that has the look of fine furniture and helps unify the space with the adjoining kitchen.

StarMark cabinet fabrications--whether a kitchen, entertainment unit, furniture hutch or bath--take only a month from order to delivery. StarMark cabinets feature top-quality materials (available in oak, maple, cherry and hickory) and meticulous craftsmanship. Doors, drawer fronts and face frames are of solid hardwood, the plywood end panels have hardwood veneers, the drawer boxes are made of 5/8-inch solid maple with interlocking joints, and the finishes are hand-rubbed, as on fine furniture. StarMark offers 21 door styles and myriad stains among the four hardwood choices. The ability to make special-sized cabinet configurations along with a full range of moldings, decorative details, hardware and interior fittings offers builders and homeowners limitless opportunity for customization. StarMark backs its cabinets with a five-year warranty, plus a lifetime warranty on drawers, glides and hinges.

"StarMark enabled us to maximize usable space in the house in an elegant fashion, no question about it," says Rubenstein.


Today's home buyers want wood. They want it for interior trim, for millwork and most of all for flooring. During the last 10 years alone, the market share of wood floors has increased fivefold. The Passages homes respond to this trend with Universal [TM] flooring products for the living room and dining room floors of the Ohio house.

Universal is a leading manufacturer of both solid and laminated prefinished wood flooring for nail-down, glue-down and floating installation. The solid wood products, designed for above-grade installation, include 5/8-inch-thick, 2 1/4-inch-wide strips and 5/16-inch-thick, 12-inch-square parquet patterns.

Universal's laminated flooring, in 3/8-inch and 9/16-inch thicknesses, can be installed throughout the house, even below grade, and includes both plank and strip styles in seven wood species and seven colors. Unlike other laminated wood floorings, Universal products have a veneer sawn from the log, not peeled. Sawn veneers are more durable and have spectacular true-grain lines. The veneer is attached to a multi-ply, cross-grained laminate that provides excellent dimensional stability. Accessory moldings are available to help create a high-end custom look. Buyers appreciate the factory-controlled four-step no-wax-urethane finish, which is especially well suited to such high-traffic areas as kitchens. And builders benefit from Universal's commitment to quality: A full lifetime warranty backs the company's product line.


The kitchen has eclipsed the living room as the center of a home's family life. Today, buyers are scrutinizing kitchen features as never before. The typical two-career family demands an efficient, well-designed kitchen that flows into adjoining spaces and features distinguished products and appliances. This customer demand is met in the Passages kitchens. The kitchen is where buyers look at products and overall quality as an indicator of quality throughout the house. The kitchen is the best place to invest in product and material upgrades.

In the kitchen of the Ohio Passages house, quality is pervasive: Formica [R] solid-surface Surell [R] countertops, Merillat Alexis cabinets and Delta [R] faucets. The Connecticut kitchen features Formica Surell countertops, Fieldstone custom cabinets, Delta faucets, Kindred [TM] sinks, Brass Craft [R] plumbing wares and top-of-the-line Thermador [R] ovens and cooktops. The caliber of these premium brands reinforces a buyer's positive perception of the entire house.

A "Thermador kitchen"--one stocked with products from one of America's top producers of premium appliances--can do a great deal to elevate buyers' perceptions of the quality of a home. The company's products combine advanced technology with leading-edge styling; with its recent introduction of 36- and 48-inch built-in refrigerators, Thermador now offers a complete range of appliance options that are ideally suited to current kitchen design trends. Its appliances combine with convenience and performance to a highly sophisticated aesthetic, be it French country or ultra-high-tech. Thermador cooking appliances include all the latest built-in options, such as smooth-surface cooktops with halogen burners, woks and drop-in ranges that maintain a sleek built-in look. The company's Convection Micro Thermal built-in ovens, which combine radiant, convection and microwave heating in a single oven cavity, offer exceptional performance and are popular with both design professionals and savvy homeowners.

Thermador's full line of gas cooktops offers value-conscious consumers the standard features they've come to expect. Upgraded models offer ExtraLow [TM] Burners, which simmer and hold food at extremely low temperatures. Thermador pioneered the category of restaurant-style stainless-steel appliances for the home--perhaps the hottest button in upscale kitchens today--and offers a wide range of commercial-style products in its Professional Collection [TM], including dual-fuel ranges that pair high-output gas burners with self-cleaning electric ovens.

Formica is one of the most respected names in the plastic laminate and allied surfacing products industry. The company's Surell solid surfacing, Nuvel [TM] (a bridge between laminate and solid surfacing) and Granulon [TM] spray-on surfacing offer the builder a wide range of surfacing options backed by 10-year warranties. Surell is available in 26 colors, three thicknesses and a variety of sheet sizes, and can be shipped with premolded options (such as integral backsplashes and bullnosing). Extremely versatile, Surell can be routed or inlaid with no special tools, and its invisible seam has made it a favorite with custom designers and consumers.

Because today's popular open-plan kitchens, like those in the Passages houses, are aesthetically wedded to adjoining rooms, it's critical to specify cabinets and other design elements that can visually unify large, multifunction spaces. Merillat cabinets are the industry's best-sellers, in more than 40 styles and a generous range of woods, colors and stain patterns. Standard features include self-closing hinges, roll-out trays and unique WhisperGlide [R] drawers. Merillat cabinets were well-suited to the Passages design: Their unifying color and design features allowed a consistent look in each room despite the varying configurations of the units.

Great versatility is a trademark of Fieldstone's custom cabinets, which include a rich array of all-wood traditional face-frame styles as well as full-access cabinetry, all made with top-quality materials and craftsmanship and backed by a five-year warranty. Fieldstone cabinets are offered in oak, maple, cherry, pecan and pine; in literally hundreds of laminate colors with either matte or gloss finish. Hand-accented painted and glazed finishes create a highly refined country or provincial look. The company's stained and painted furniture-grade finishes involve up to 20 separate steps. Fieldstone's full range of moldings, decorative accessories such as plate rails, interior options and hardware lend themselves beautifully to the personal storage solutions demanded by today's consumers.

With their cutout templates, Easy-Clamp hold-down fasteners and factory-applied watertight rim seals, Kindred's premium 18-gauge stainless steel sinks offer simplified installation, timeless style and enduring quality backed by a lifetime warranty. The company's drop-in sinks require no caulking, and its undermount sinks, which create a sleek, low-maintenance cleanup area when paired with solid-surface countertops, feature a silicone seal. A wide variety of bowl shapes in single and double configurations can satisfy virtually any requirement. Kindred also offers gleaming single-bowl brass sinks--for wet bars, baths or auxiliary kitchen sinks--and solid-color single- and double-bowl units made of Asterite, a blend of quartz silica and bonding agents, which is extremely heat- and scratch-resistant.

Delta faucets--the number-one choice of builders--are used throughout the Passages houses. The company's faucets appeal to professionals and homeowners alike for their reliability, value and functional good looks. Delta units are machined from a single piece of solid brass bar stock, contain only a single moving part (Delta's famous rotating stainless steel ball that controls water flow) and are washerless.

Delta pioneered the single-handle washerless faucet in 1955, and the company continues to stay abreast of building trends. To meet codes that require antiscald features in tub/showers, Delta's Monitor [TM] faucets--the industry's most extensive line of antiscald products--are equipped with quick-response pressure-balance valves; antisiphoning codes for pull-out spouts are satisfied by an integral vacuum breaker system. For today's thicker countertops, Delta's new kitchen products offer longer mounting shanks and staggered supply tubes for easy installation.

Delta's newest kitchen faucets epitomize '90s style and convenience. The boldly stylish, all-new Gourmet [TM] faucet line fills the niche between core faucets that primarily emphasize value and top-of-the-line models that carry a premium price tag. The graceful Waterfall [TM] faucet, featuring a sweeping arc, provides a step-up product opportunity never before offered to the consumer.

Brass Craft, an industry mainstay for 50 years known for its water-supply products (it brought the quarter-turn shutoff to the market), supplied the Passages houses with top-quality plumbing products--from supply stops and flexible connectors to one of the best low-flow showerheads available. Brass Craft offers a complete line of plumbing supplies (in rough brass, chrome plate or special decorator finishes), as well as every valve needed in a home. It also markets exclusively to professionals The Plumber's Faucet [R], a high-tech faucet line with ceramic-disc valves and no-nonsense styling.


Like kitchens, baths are "indicator" rooms for potential buyers. The quality of products used in the bath, and its design, is what buyers look at to determine the overall quality of the home. The baths in the Passages houses, like the kitchens, are designed to be functional, comfortable and beautiful. The Passages houses used high-quality fixtures and cabinet lines from Delta, Aqua Glass, Brass Craft, Kindred, StarMark and Formica Surell.

Aqua Glass supplied the Passages houses' durable acrylic and fiberglass whirlpool tubs and showers. In a test, an Aqua Glass [R] tub bottom measured zero deflection under a 300-pound dead-weight, an impressive feat as the company's tubs are designed to sit above the floor, to ease installation. Aqua Glass offers a complete range of acrylic and gelcoat fiberglass tubs and showers, including self-contained steam baths and a wide range of one-piece showers and tub/shower combinations in a varied palette of colors.

The company's one- and two-person whirlpools come completely pre-plumbed and preassembled to speed installation and include such asked-for amenities as built-in body supports, in-line heaters and multi-directional jets. Chrome, polished or antiqued brass, and polished gold trims are available. Aqua Glass products also include shower bases and doors and utility sinks. The complete product line covers various market segments, and is available at a range of price points.

Your Passage to the Future

"Passages represents a smart, marketwise response to consumer needs and desires," says American HomeStyle editor Karen Saks. Specifically, there are three points to consider when building a home:

* Today's buyers are ever more sophisticated and demand absolute value for the dollar. To satisfy them, the builder must deliver high-quality products, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.

* Houses should offer the flexibility to meet changing family needs, such as when grown children return home or grandparents visit or move in.

* Floor plans should be versatile, providing both comfort and convenience with a combination of shared and private spaces.

"We believe these ideas can help builders gain a competitive edge into the 21st century," concludes architect Joseph St. Jean.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Hanley-Wood, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Passages; products and materials used in Masco Corp.'s Passages houses
Date:Nov 1, 1994
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