‘The Perfect House’

Posted on September 2, 2020 by Jorie Helms

Only a developer as seasoned as David Yost could pull this off

Richard Mize


Living room of “the Perfect House,” 12209 Grand Cedar Lane. [BRYAN TERRY PHOTOS/THE OKLAHOMAN]



Developer David Yost and designer-real estate agent Joyce Brown worked together to build “the Perfect House” at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane in Yost’s Stonemill Manor neighborhood, a small enclave next to his larger Stonemill addition a quarter-mile west of Coltrane Road on the south side of NE 122.


Developer David Yost and designer-real estate agent Joyce Brown in “the Perfect House” at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane.


Kitchen at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane, which David Yost has dubbed “the Perfect House.”


A view of the multipurpose utility room at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane.


A view of the master bedroom at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane. [BRYAN TERRY PHOTOS/THE OKLAHOMAN]


A view of the master bathroom at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane.


Park and trails at Stonemill Manor, a quarter-mile west of Coltrane Road on the south side of NE 122.


Pergola in the park at Stonemill Manor, a small enclave next to the larger Stonemill neighborhood by developer David Yost.

A couple of years ago, seasoned developer David Yost hit upon an idea to stimulate interest in one of his neighborhoods: A show house, but more than a show house: “the Perfect House.”

It took a couple of years to build: 4,720 square feet, two bedrooms down and two bedrooms up, three baths, a half-bath, a study, formal dining room, casual dining area, big game room and a multipurpose utility room at 12209 Grand Cedar Lane in Stonemill Manor, a small enclave next to his larger Stonemill neighborhood a quarter-mile west of Coltrane Road on the south side of NE 122.

It took a village to put bricks and mortar and style and finish to the vision that Yost and Joyce Brown brainstormed. Brown is a real estate agent, designer and Yost’s sometimes business partner. Lots are available in Stonemill Manor. The idea was to literally set the standard for what is expected of custom builders.

“We came up with a novel — maybe crazy — idea: Why couldn’t a developer with 35-plus years’ experience working with luxury homebuilders, and a multiple winner of the Realtor Readers’ Choice Award, who is a gifted interior designer, who studied design in Paris, build a perfect home? A home that would showcase the quality that we demand in Stonemill Manor?” he wondered. “My close relationship with the best-ofthe-best subcontractors would assure excellent craftsmanship.

“There would be no financial or time constraints, Joyce would have the time and budget to give full expression to her superb interior design and staging talents, and I could obtain a retired builder/ subcontractor to oversee and manage all phases of construction. The idea, once germinated, became an obsession and we dived in. Well, 22 months later, we have finished the epic endeavor, and darned if it doesn’t seem, to us, like it is ‘Perfect.’

What makes it perfect? That takes some telling, as well as photography.

“The house is a perfect balance of form and function. The performance of the house makes you feel comfortable, and the beauty of the house makes you want to stay, to linger,” Brown said. “A home should be designed in such a way to make everyday living easier and more enjoyable. This house manifests those principles into tangible elements that embrace you and draw you in.

“We wanted the style of the home to stand the test of time. Our inspiration was an old-mansion look mixed with modern elements.”

How did they get to “perfection”?

“Caveats aside, I think we were able to build the house to the highest standards because we had no timetable for completion and no budget constraints,” Yost said. “We were convinced that if we treated each aspect of the building process as if it were the most important of all, and not accept the result until it was flawless, we could build the ‘perfect’ house. And from building the pad and footing, to hanging the mirrors, and final paint touch-up, that’s what we did.

“Of course the key to that being possible was to have the most talented and experienced subcontractors available and willing to work for us, and I believe we were able to do that.”

Drawing upon experience

A less seasoned developer wouldn’t dare, and probably couldn’t.

“For the past 45 years, I’ve been totally immersed in the world of land development, and have known the great builders from Henry Coffeen, Earl Austin, J.W. Mashburn and Mark Dale to name a few, through our present group of highquality, young builders,” Yost said. “I have worked with their architects and designers, their engineers and subcontractors and have developed friendships and working relationships with many of the best of them. I knew the subcontractors I wanted to actually build our house, and I had to be very patient when scheduling them.”

Yost is perhaps known best for his commitment to natural resource conservation, especially tree preservation. He has his own tree farm. A builder in one of his neighborhoods has to be willing to sculpt a lot from the woods, surrendering any trees only to the footprint of the house itself. Choosing the best lot for that, with big, mature trees, was the first step toward the “Perfect house.”

“I worked with Tim Johnson, my engineer, to establish a pad elevation that would take most runoff away from the house and to the street, which fits the overall neighborhood drainage plan. This involved a good amount of fill (dirt), which was carefully compacted to avoid settling,” Yost said. “Raising the pad elevation gave the facade of the house a more imposing look from the street and provided a superb view of the adjacent park with the waterfall and stream, and made them not only visible, but audible, as well.”

Then, a highly sought after foundation contractor was brought in to build an oversize footing and stem wall for extra support; a framing contractor recommended by Don Chesser used upgraded 2-by-6’s for outside walls, heavier-duty trusses at closer spacing than is typical, and erected one especially long clear span requiring a Glulam beam (glued laminated timber) specified by a structural engineer, who also double checked other loading.

The ‘Perfect house’ has Grand Manor roofing shingles by CertainTeed, more expensive but worth it, Yost said, open-cell spray foam insulation instead of typical blown-in insulation, for extra energy efficiency and quiet, and three Carrier heatand-air units.

Yost drew on decades of relationship and experience: A-list plumbing contractor, electrician, drywall installer, painter, a tile contractor “who turned out to be a true artiste” and did “stunning” work, heat-and-air contractor Don Hawkins, whose father installed the HVAC in Yost’s first rental project 45 years ago.

“Joyce and I couldn’t be happier with our Stonemill Manor show home,” Yost said. “As the developer of the neighborhood, I wanted it to represent my commitment to be the best upscale neighborhood in our market area.”

A virtual tour of the home is available at www.stonemillmanorshowhome.com.

Brown explained what makes the rooms and spaces “Perfect.”


“Is it possible to have a love affair with your kitchen? The allure of this kitchen attracts you to spend time in it, whether you’re cooking or not,” Brown said. “The reason you may feel a seductive attraction to the space is the perfect balance of form and function. The form is shaped by floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, sparkling lighting, quartz exterior countertops, designer backsplash and a skillfully crafted built-in china hutch,” Brown said.

“The function is attained by way of a carefully planned appliance layout, which makes everyday cooking & social gatherings a breeze.

“To help keep everything clutter-free, a working pantry provides space to stow the unsightly countertop appliances, while providing additional work space. Joining form and function together is a large 5-by-9-foot island, crowned with a gorgeous slab of granite to become the focal point of the space. The island is free from built-in appliances to create an unobstructed centerpiece, and provide uninhibited space for party layouts and work space.”

Living room

“The living room has a cathedral ceiling with wood beams and the cast-stone fireplace has a mirrored focal wall above. All the main living areas are open and flow one space to another — even out to a 600-square-foot outdoor living area. Three large sliding glass doors open from the indoor living to the outdoor living. Remote control Phantom screens enclose the tiled patio, with fireplace, making it useable year-round and doubling the entertaining space,” Brown said.

Dining area

“The spacious formal dining area sparkles from the light of a crystal chandelier, against the backdrop of a hand-painted focal wall ... the ‘final touch,’ (using) the other areas and colors of the home as inspiration so the wall would feel like an organic part of the overall design. A traditional coffered ceiling, columns and chevron wood floor frame the space,” she said.

Utility room

“Every woman dreams of this space,” Brown said. “To begin with, the room is beautiful, with vintage marble floors, glass pendant lighting, quartz counters and shiplap feature wall with open shelves. If you’re enjoying a game or HGTV in the outdoor living area and feel a little thirsty — no problem. The multipurpose utility space is conveniently located nearby, where a refrigerator space & wet bar/utility sink are tucked just inside its carefully planned layout.

“At the opposite end is a built-in floating desk with leathered granite top for your favorite project, and a walk-in storage closet to stow whatever your heart desires. The finishing touch is a swinging butler’s pantry door — just in case your hands are full.

Master bedroom

“Traditional trims are combined with modern finishes to create a relaxing, elegant space,” Brown said. “From its generously sized sitting area, gorgeous park views can be enjoyed through the large picture window. A door adjoins the bedroom to the outdoor living area for a cozy snuggle by the fireplace. The tray ceiling with dental molding exhibits the attention to detail, as each of the 400 blocks of dental molding were individually cut and installed by hand.

Master bath, closet

“Floor-to-ceiling marble tile, herringbone marble tile floor, marble countertops, soaker tub, incredible walk-in shower completely encased in marble tile. The closet was designed like a boutique with pull-down hanging rods, designer lighting, and a floor-to-ceiling mirror with a hidden velvet-lined jewelry cabinet,” she said.


“The mix of traditional, warm, stained wainscoting and new-trend Sputnik lighting. It’s not at the front door entry, so you won’t have to apologize for a messy desk when an unexpected guest pops by for a visit. The gorgeous view to the park and lots of natural light.

What else?

“The views, the views the views. The house was designed to take advantage of the truly enchanted park that it adjoins. You can hear the sounds and see the beauty of the park stream and waterfalls, and take a quick stroll on the park trails to the putting green and picnic in the rock pavilion with a working water wheel. ... The outdoor grill is tucked away on a connected grilling enclosure. Accessibility to outdoor spaces was carefully planned, with four doors opening to the 600-square-foot outdoor living space. The window placement was designed to provide natural light to every part of the home, while every window also provides a gorgeous view.

For privacy, the guest suite is positioned at the opposite end of the home from the master. The only problem may be that your guests will never want to leave. Highfashion lighting, white oak cabinetry, leathered counter and vessel sink. Floating staircase with hand-made, custom-designed, wroughtiron railing.”

See this article in the e-Edition Here

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NAHB Seeks White House Action on Soaring Lumber Prices

Posted on August 14, 2020 by Jorie Helms

NAHB sent a letter to President Trump expressing the housing industry’s growing concern and seeking prompt action regarding soaring lumber prices and supply shortages that are harming the housing sector and the economy.

NAHB is urging the White House to play a constructive role to alleviate this growing threat to housing and the economy by calling on domestic lumber producers to ramp up production to ease growing shortages and making it a priority to work with Canada on a new softwood lumber agreement that would end tariffs averaging more than 20% on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States.

As the nation fights to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, housing has been a bright spot for the U.S. economy, particularly single-family construction, with permits running 3.4% higher during the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019.

However, builders are seeing shortages of lumber resulting in an 80% increase in lumber prices since mid-April. Framing lumber prices reached a record high in late July, while oriented strand board prices have increased 138% over the past year. These sharp increases are unsustainable, particularly in light of the housing affordability crisis.

NAHB’s letter to the White House stressed that housing can do its part to create jobs and lead the economy forward; but in order to do so, we need to address skyrocketing lumber prices and chronic shortages.

NAHB recently sent a similar message to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Zoltan van Heyningen, executive director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition.

View NAHB’s letter to President Trump.

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Posted on August 6, 2020 by Jorie Helms

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) has awarded multiple Dolese Bros. Co. locations with Safety Excellence Awards, including Coleman Quarry, Hartshorne Quarry, Ponca City’s 7 Mile Mine, Mustang Sand and OKC East Sand. NSSGA will present the awards at its virtual 2020 Legislative & Policy Forum in September.

“These Safety Excellence awards are a direct result of Dolese employees making safety a personal value on the job each day,” Dolese President and CEO Mark Helm said. "The fact that numerous locations were recognized is something to be celebrated. It is also a challenge for us to continue delivering on our commitment to safety.”  

The NSSGA Safety Excellence Awards originated in 1987 and are presented to aggregates operations that maintain a safe workplace, evidenced by their safety performance over a consecutive period of time without a Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) reportable injury.

MSHA uses the metric of Total Reportable Injury Rate (TRIR) to monitor reportable injuries. Dolese has seen a consistent decrease in its TRIR as its safety practices have continued to improve during the previous several years.

The NSSGA Safety Excellence Awards recognize operations based upon TRIR performance compared to the rest of the aggregates industry. NSSGA’s safety awards recognize individual operations as well as companies.

“Dolese is focused on improving our safety culture even more by making safety a personal value of all our team members,” Dolese Health, Safety and Environmental Department Director David Finley said. “It’s an honor to receive these awards from the NSSGA because it is an indication of our success compared to our peers in the country.”

Dolese, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has more than 60 facilities across the state. Learn more about Dolese at www.dolese.com

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How Stringent Design Regulations Restrict Housing Affordability and Choice

Posted on July 14, 2020 by Jorie Helms

Housing affordability has long been at the forefront of housing policy and attention. It’s been even further ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on employment and people’s ability to afford somewhere to live.

Recent land use trends — such as form-based codes (FBCs), planned unit development (PUD) and traditional neighborhood development (TND) overlay zones — provide additional development methods to make the residential development and regulation process more efficient. However, some localities are moving in the opposite direction by enacting burdensome residential design standards that go well past good design principles, and into regulation that increases costs, limits consumer options, prices out certain populations and raises a number of legal concerns.

NAHB’s Residential Design Standards: How Stringent Regulations Restrict Affordability and Choice report addresses this issue. Included in the primer are examples of communities across the country that have attempted to implement these types of standards. Traditionally, design standards have allowed communities to control the physical characteristics of their housing stock, preserve community character, protect property values, and attract certain populations of home buyers and renters.

Common examples of highly prescriptive design standards include:

  • Prohibiting or limiting the use of exterior materials such as vinyl siding and metal;
  • Requiring specific and often expensive materials for siding and fences; and
  • Dictating the amount of relief and surface area dedicated to windows and the number of architectural details on the roof.

In a 2019 survey, NAHB found that 47% of builders has encountered such standards; in communities where design requirements exist, 85% of respondents stated that they increased construction prices. Not only is this additional price passed on to home buyers and renters, but home buyers and communities also suffer from reduced production and choice.

The primer details the legal implications of these standards and efforts by local home builders associations (HBAs) and home builders to fight back. In several states, including Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma, these groups have successfully challenged these standards to limit or prohibit their adoption. Better tools exist for design that can influence residential design without limiting choice, affecting housing affordability or being exclusionary.

The fundamental issue is not the physical characteristics of homes, but what they can mean for affordability. Regulations that artificially raise housing prices without direct ties to public health and safety should not be prioritized over meeting the shortage of affordable homes for families. Housing affordability and attainability should be prioritized through effective planning tools, but unfortunately, barriers to the development process remain.

The primer is available through NAHB’s Land Use 101 toolkit. For more information, and to be connected to other resources, contact Nicholas Julian, Program Manager of Land Use.

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NAHB and Hanley Wood Announce New Partnership

Posted on July 7, 2020 by Jorie Helms

Hanley Wood/Meyers Research and NAHB today announced that BUILDER will cease to be the official magazine of NAHB at the end of 2020, as the two organizations prepare to launch a new home building data platform for NAHB members.

Hanley Wood/Meyers Research will continue to publish BUILDER magazine, BUILDER Online and BUILDER newsletters as well as produce leading events, like BUILDER 100.

For more than 40 years, Hanley Wood/Meyers Research and NAHB have worked together to provide timely resources and insights to builders nationwide, and Hanley Wood/Meyers Research has always maintained an annual presence at the NAHB International Builders’ Show.

“We are proud of the 40-year relationship with the NAHB centered around our media proposition and BUILDER magazine,” said Jeff Meyers, CEO of Hanley Wood/Meyers Research. “Given the evolving media landscape the time was right to pivot our relationship towards a new approach driven by the wide breadth of localized data we provide to best serve the NAHB’s community builder membership and the broader information needs of the industry as a whole.”

The new home building data platform powered by Zonda will help the two organizations meet the growing demand for local market data and analysis in the home building industry.

“NAHB is excited to join with Hanley Wood/Meyers Research to bring the Zonda platform to our community of builder members and complement NAHB’s own economic research,” said NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “Zonda has long been an important and valuable resource for the builder community.”

With Zonda’s comprehensive data and market intelligence, BUILDER will more accurately identify its audience and allow marketers to reach home builders who drive more than 90% of U.S. annual closings. More information can be found at builderonline.com.

To learn more about Hanley Wood/Meyers Research, visit hanleywood.com and meyersresearchllc.com

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Norman overhauls building permit system

Posted on June 23, 2020 by Jorie Helms

By: Chip Minty The Journal Record

NORMAN – Builders and contractors have maligned the city of Norman’s permitting process for years, calling it slow, inefficient, and costly to their businesses. They consider Norman among the hardest communities in the metro to work in and some have stopped doing business there.

But now, City Manager Darrel Pyle is hoping to change all that. He says Norman’s bad rap has been at the top of his priority list since he moved here from his former post in Hanford, California, last July.

With support from the Norman City Council, Pyle is overhauling Norman’s permitting process, hoping to restore the city’s tarnished reputation among builders in the Oklahoma City metro area.

At the center of his effort is a $7.8 million facility renovation project that will bring the city’s entire permitting process under one roof, creating a one-stop shop for builders and contractors hoping to move projects through City Hall as fast as possible.

Pyle is turning a 40,000-square-foot building adjacent to Norman’s city administration complex into a permitting headquarters with office space for more than 100 city staff members. The building, which used to serve as Norman’s central library, will open next year and will house the city’s fire inspectors, engineering department, planning department and finance department.

Any function associated with obtaining a building permit will be handled in that building, Pyle says. Issues or questions will be resolved efficiently with a quick phone call or a trip down the hall.

That will be a big improvement from years past, Pyle says. Until recently, the system and the staff were not cohesive. Some staff members had never met other colleagues involved in the permitting process, and many weren’t even sure how the entire system worked.

Several months ago, Pyle began to change that by bringing everyone together for a week of discussions facilitated by Management Partners, a California-based consulting group.

Since then, Pyle and his permitting team have been on a roll, looking for opportunities to improve efficiency and finding ways to push permits out the door faster.

The city now can self-certify certain types of sewer-line construction, which speeds the permitting process by sidestepping the need for a state Department of Environmental Quality inspection, which can take 45 days to complete.

The city has also hired third-party plan checkers to help when full-time staff members are bogged down by surging workloads, and inspectors can now inspect some types of construction virtually, rather than drive to job sites for every inspection, Pyle said.

Rigid work schedules are a thing of the past, he says. Now, building inspectors are available to visit worksites at sunrise if necessary, to allow construction projects to proceed without costly delays, waiting for inspectors to start their normal workdays.

The city also has developed a new website that builders can use to submit plans and communicate with city staff. The site is more technologically advanced, and, for the first time, it is Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with our staff,” Pyle said. “The biggest change has been in attitude, realizing that just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean we always have to do it that way. There is a realization that developers are the priority.”

“We have only one goal here at the city of Norman. We want to be the best there is,” he said.

Norman Chamber of Commerce President Scott Martin said he’s thrilled with the changes.

He’s heard story after story from people who have faced challenges going through Norman’s permitting process, including from a couple of Norman’s City Council members.

“This has been a priority of the chambers for many years now,” Martin said. “Permitting is critical to the development community, but it needs to be fair and responsive. I have yet to talk to anyone who is not supportive of high standards, but when the process is extra challenging and particularly hard, that’s where the frustration is.”

“Around the metro, Norman has had the reputation of being a hard place to do business, and this is going to improve that reputation,” he said.

Tim Grissom, owner of TC Grissom Building Co., says he’s been building in Norman for 25 years, and he’s glad to hear changes are on the horizon.

“That’s a good thing, because the process can be frustrating,” Grissom said. “It has been for years.”

He said the city staff members he works with are nice people, but the system they work in has been a typical government bureaucracy, and they’ve never shown much interest in changing it.

“I just think they could do a better job.”

Curtis McCarty, a former member of the Norman Planning Commission, says he’s been building homes in Norman for nearly 30 years, and over time, he’s learned how to adapt to the city’s way of doing things.

McCarty, owner of McCarty Construction, said the city has asked him and other builders for suggestions, and he can see they’re trying to improve.

The residential side has been better the last few years, and if the city can improve service on the commercial side, it will improve Norman’s reputation among builders in the metro area.

“I think it’s working, and they’re going in the right direction,” McCarty said.

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