The Home Innovation Lab: Where Home Models are Born

 Inside lobby of the 2 level Clayton design center

We collaborated with Clayton's Home Innovation Lab for the answers to some questions you may be wondering about when it comes to how we create our manufactured and modular home models!

You’ve probably seen some of our homes and the unique styles incorporated into each. Wondering where the design styles come from? Just how do we get the inspiration behind the planning and production of so many beautiful homes? That credit goes to many teams that play a role in creating each home model, but today we are going to focus on a pivotal center point that connects all those teams: We are proud to introduce you to Clayton's Home Innovation Lab team.

The Clayton design center team picture inside the design center office.

We collaborated with the Home Innovation Lab for the answers to some questions you may be wondering about when it comes to creating our Clayton Built® manufactured and modular home models!

What is the Home Innovation Lab?

The Home Innovation Lab is an amazing team of interior designers, architects, drafters and renderers. They take the process of developing a house from a concept idea to drawn and ready to build, including all the detail work in between. The level of involvement between Clayton’s home building facilities and the design team is key to achieving a production-friendly, stylish home every time. Each member of the design team views the relationship with the home building facility as the most important part of the whole design process.

What is the Goal and Mission of Lab's Team?

For a gorgeous new home to make it from the Lab’s idea to your home sweet home, there is a crucial piece of the puzzle that happens in between. It has to be built! The Lab supports the home building facilities by assisting with material changes and updates, floor plan development, 3D renderings, construction documents and many more essentials that the home building facility needs to produce the final product, your dream home. The team’s mission is to achieve efficient and cost-effective designs for all home building facilities so the facilities can be successful in building beautiful, quality homes with you in mind.

Clayton design center team member collaborating with design ideas.

How Do We Know What Home Styles Customers Want?

A big role in creating styles that customers want is listening to what customers want. The Lab is dedicated to just that! With the help of surveys that give insight on what today’s homebuyers are looking for, paired with feedback from the homebuilding facilities and retail home centers, our design team is able to create home designs with trends and functionality that excite customers the moment they see them.

Clayton design center team members collaborating design ideas.

Where Does the Inspiration Come From?

Inspiration can be found in everything – art, fashion, social media. Anywhere you look, you can be inspired in some way. For the Home Innovation Lab, inspiration derives from a variety of sources such as conferences, design shows, blogs, magazines and trend research. The magic really comes together though when they collaborate in their creative sessions to talk about new ideas or things they’ve seen.

Material samples used in a Clayton Built® manufactured home design creation.

What is the Process of Designing a New Home Model?

From ideation to creation, there’s a lot involved. During the design process of a new home model, the Lab will collaborate and begin creating the new home model. The concept is based on desired goals such as budget, functionality, materials and trends for the home they are looking to create. From there it’s creating floor plans and 3D renderings, testing mock up designs, working with the home building facility to get orders made for a prototype and we can’t forget naming the home!

Note: If you’ve ever wondered how a home model got its name, the Home Innovation Lab often gets name inspiration by looking at materials, color names, the design process experience and the specific style of the home.

Sometimes the Lab will have an idea and less than a month later, they’re walking through a completed prototype home. Other times, it takes years before they see design progress due to developing new materials that will be featured in the home. Some things are just so good they’re worth waiting for!

How Do We Merge Affordability, Quality and Style?

We believe that affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or style. A lot goes into that perfect trio. When it comes to quality, we partner with trusted brands to fill your home with reliable products.

Efficiency is the key to our affordability, which is why we have our own internal supply chain, Clayton Supply®, but the Lab plays a huge role in making sure that the home building facility has what it needs to seamlessly produce each home model. The more efficiently they can design the homes with the production teams, the faster the homes are built, cutting down costs.

When the Lab is selecting styles and designing a new home model, they start off by adding a variety of features, design ideas and materials to the home. Then they go through the costing process for the home. If they are working to lower the price, they look for ways to adjust the designs to consider how efficiently the home is built and simplify material applications. This allows them to keep the integrity of the design intact while still achieving the target price point.

Farmhouse style barn doors in a primary bedroom that lead into a connecting bathroom of The Laney manufactured home.

How Do We Design with Functionality in Mind?

Functionality for both the customer and the home building facility is always in the forefront of the Lab’s mind when they discuss new home features. Making sure that the design is functional and practical when it comes to building those features into the home goes back to efficiency and affordability. A big part of achieving functionality is getting different perspectives on a design, which is why collaboration is so important.

Is There a Different Process Between Designing a Modular Home and a CrossMod™ Home?

Questions often come up about the difference between manufactured, modular and now CrossMod™ homes, the newest category of off-site built housing. So, we know you might be wondering if the design process is different. There isn’t a different design process, but there are specific codes each type of home is built to. Depending on where in the county the home will be located, the Lab may need to take that into consideration and facilitate necessary modification with the home building facility.

Living room of The Churchill manufactured home that features large windows and a glass foyer with an open concept floor plan.

Why are Some Home Design Styles Not Available in All Areas?

If you have seen one of our homes and fallen in LOVE with it but then realized it’s not available in your area, it could be due to regional supply. Regionally, differences like state codes, freight restrictions and even weather can determine where a model or type of model would be available. For example, concrete board exterior siding is preferred over vinyl siding in hot parts of the country where vinyl has a tendency to get wavy from heat. The Lab takes region into consideration when determining materials that should be used and what options are available at different home building facilities.

Note: If you see designs or styles in a home that is not available in your area, a home consultant can help you find a similar home in your area!

So, when you walk into a Clayton Built® home and notice all the attention to detail, latest trends and features that set the home apart from any others you have seen, you know that it most likely started with an idea in the Home Innovation Lab! You can also check out this article from Forbes to learn even more about how the Lab is creating a solution for more attaiable housing.

And that you know what goes into a home model creation, take a behind the scene look at how the homes are built with Clayton Unbuilt.

CrossMod is a trademark of the Manufactured Housing Institute.

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