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Live from Int'l Builder Show: Timothy Dahl of Charles & Hudson


It’s Day Two of the 2011 NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. To sort through some of the new products and trends and to take a pulse on the homebuilding industry, we interviewed Timothy Dahl, founder and editor of the popular home improvement blog Charles and Hudson.

MLuxe: Every year, there are a few must-see products. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen so far?
Dahl: There are so many, but the Autoslide DIY-installed automatic sliding door-opener is definitely a cool product. The doggy door feature is the best. It senses the height of a pet and opens only far enough to let them in or out.

Let’s talk green building. Which innovations are generating the most buzz?
We have a limited amount of potable water and manufacturers must now innovate in this area. WaterSense standards are being met or exceeded, which is a good thing.

Have we reached the point where green is a basic expectation?
If money was not an issue I believe most of us would want to do what we can to have the least amount of impact. But in the real world it depends on the application and budgets.

We know you love smart home technologies. Seen anything with real mainstream potential?
The Consumer Electronics Show introduced a Connected Home area this year and Kenmore and GE led the way with some fascinating devices that really raise the IQ of your appliances. We’re seeing more of that here at the Builders Show and people will definitely begin demanding it soon.

How have the needs of the average homeowner changed in the past few years?
We went from wanting the largest home on the block to taking more responsibility for the resources we consume and being more involved in the home building process.

What would the average homeowner glean from this year’s show?
I think builders are reacting to the demands of homeowners who want more flexibility and customization. People aren’t moving as often and want to know their home can scale to accept future innovations.

Are there any tools you’re using to track what you’re seeing and liking?
No tools, really. It helps to have attended before as it makes it easier to cut through some of the “noise.” But I’m still sometimes shocked by tradeshow exhibitors who seem bored and uninterested.

Which tip, tool, or concept you most excited to bring back to your blog?
As you mentioned before, staying on top of green building initiatives is important and new technology is really driving that industry, as well as certain areas of home security and kitchens.

[Photo from Charles & Hudson]