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Home Building Goes High-Tech

Local custom home designers and builders are using technology to better serve their clients, including those who live in 417-land—and even some who live thousands of miles away.

By Harrison Keegan Photo by

Jun 2012

Custom home designer Ron Hill walks into his afternoon meeting and immediately sets his iPhone down on the table facing him. Many people think it’s rude to be on the phone during a meeting, but for Hill, the meeting wouldn’t be possible without his phone.

While Hill and his employees at EuroWorld Design (Ozark, 417-581-6057, euroworlddesign.com) are nearing the end of their workday, the couple he is meeting with just sat down to enjoy their breakfast.

This is because twice a week Hill holds design meetings with people from the future… well, sort of. Hill uses Skype on his iPhone to meet with a couple in Australia for whom he is designing a bed and breakfast.

At 3:30 p.m. Springfield time, 8:30 a.m. the next day in Brisbane, Hill sets up his phone and goes over sketches with his Australian clients.

Hill says technology has revolutionized the home design industry, and this is a perfect example of how. “For the most part, we can do a lot of our work just through the internet, and that’s what is going on with our customers all across the United States,” Hill says.

Hill wants every room at the bed and breakfast to have a view, but instead of dropping thousands of dollars on a flight to Australia, he uses Google Earth and the help of local surveyors to figure out the best way to situate the house.

Chad Holgerson, owner of Keystone Building and Design LLC (1223 N. Eaglecrest St., Nixa, 417-724-0057, remodel-contractor.com), says technology has also changed the industry in other ways, including a change in how designers solve problems.

In the past, when there was a problem on site, construction stopped for the day while the designer traveled to the site, assessed the situation, drove back to the office and came up with a solution. With the bounds made in design technology, roadblocks are much easier to overcome. “If a guy in the field has a problem, he can send a photo to me,” Holgerson says. “I can give my recommendations. We can search and find the solution.”

Holgerson’s best friend at work is his Asus Slate. The Windows-based tablet is similar to an iPad. Holgerson says he uses his Slate to do sketches and shows his work in presentations.

He can take his Slate to clients’ homes and give them a two- or three-dimensional tour of a home he’s designed.

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