Maple Park Development--Building Better Homes

by Deborah A. Chesley

Maple Park Development Corporation is an award-winning company owned

by Dave Forrest and his wife, Pati. They are building better homes by

being involved in every detail of the building process. They can

satisfy customers' needs better than a larger company could. Even

though the larger companies can often get better prices on their

supplies, Dave says that Maple Park Development can have better

control; it's easier to build a home that is just right for the

customer when you don't have so many layers of management. His wife

Pati has been involved in the interior design for the homes they have

built over the years. The company builds between four and eight homes

per year, each of superb quality.

Dave Forrest has had many years' experience in the building industry.

His father owned a business dealing with building materials, and Dave

was exposed to various components of the industry at a very young

age. He also has education to broaden his view. Dave graduated from

Oregon State University with a major in Business Administration, and a

minor in Applied Physics. His family moved from Oregon to the St.

Louis area in the 1970. At that time Dave was involved in the

manufacture of materials used in building a house, such as doors,

paneling, lumber, and plywood. The opportunity to work with the

customers is the main reason he got involved in the actual building of

homes. He enjoys associating with the people while he builds their

homes. He gets to know each customer and takes each facet of their

lifestyle into account before final plans are made.

The whole environment surrounding a home is a focus of Maple Park

Development--not exclusively the interior. Dave says they like to

build a model of each home prior to finalizing plans, so they can see

how the sun is going to interact with the home. This helps them in

knowing how to place the home on the lot. This is one of the

strengths of the company--putting the home on the lot so it is exactly

right. The windows are of considerable importance, as is their

placement. When you walk in, your eyes are drawn to the entire area.

The home that Maple Park Development Corporation has built for this

year's HomeArama is a perfect manifestation of the concept of

"bringing the outside in." The courtyard, with its stone

balustrades, the entryway, and the windows on the front of the home

give the exterior a fine traditional look.

Dave explains that they wanted an uplifting feeling when you walk in

the door. This was accomplished very well through the selection and

placement of the windows, as well as the other extraordinary design

elements. Dave says that many people request the use of angles in

their homes to give their space an open feeling and more visual

interest. In designing the HomeArama home, the Maple Park Development

team used many angles, but to make it work even better, they added a

circle in the middle of a high barrier wall, softening the angles.

They carried the circle theme throughout the home, using an inventive

juxtaposition of squares, angles, and circles. The circle theme was

also incorporated in the lighting fixtures.

There is a contemporary feel to the interior of the home, where

features are better than up-to-date. There are various window styles

and sizes used throughout the home, including double hung, casement

and picture windows. The windows are Andersen windows, known for

their high quality and beauty. In addition to the spacious Master

suite and retreat area, the main floor includes another bedroom--which

could be used as a home office or guest room, a dining room, and a

breakfast room off the great room. The laundry facilities are also on

the main floor. The kitchen is a dream, with sunlight streaming in

from the high windows. There are ample storage areas, and plenty of

counter space. There are natural wood cabinets and trim. The use of

light colors throughout keeps the interior of the home feeling open

and spacious. The windows enhance a spectacular view and the design

is masterful in the use of the soft morning light.

The lower level of Maple Park Development's HomeArama home is also

extraordinary. There are two bedrooms, a media center, a wine cellar

(with a keyed lock to keep little hands away), and kitchen facilities.

The lower level bathroom is perhaps one of the most interesting and

innovative features of the home. Because of the topology of the lot,

the addition of a swimming pool in the future would be ideal. The

team at Maple Park Development has planned the bathroom area with this

in mind, creating all the appropriate spaces to accommodate changing

clothes, swimming, and cleaning up. This area is equipped with a steam

environment type shower unit made by Jacuzzi and provided by Lami Wood

Products. The shower unit can be completely closed for use of steam,

there are body sprays on both sides, and other special features. The

lower level also boasts a separate entry, and a large overhead access

door in the storage area for lawn care tools and other large storage

items. This home is skillfully and beautifully placed on a cul-de-sac

lot that is one and one quarter acres in size, taking full advantage

of the southeastern exposure at the back of the home.

Dave says of the HomeArama home, "I think that this home demonstrates

the ability to take a lot and design a home for it, rather than

taking an existing house plan and building it on a lot. The house

should be built for the lot and for the people."

Taking the topology of a lot into consideration and finding a way to

implement the best placement of a home on each lot is one of the

strengths of Maple Park Development. The company is well known for

their ability to build homes on difficult sites. This is especially

evident in the homes they built in Amiot, a development on the Creve

Coeur Bluffs--just south of Creve Coeur Lake. They worked there with

as much as a fifty foot drop on some of the lots and met the

challenge--with beautiful results. Prior to the Amiot development,

which they built in 1991 through 1995, Maple Park Development built

Westledge, a more standard-size subdivision located in Des Peres.

Westledge was a joint project with Roy Beal.

Dave is always looking for new and better products to use in the

homes he builds. The Maple Park Development Corporation's HomeArama

home for 1998 is of steel construction. Because of research done in

the industry, Maple Park Development began in 1992 to use steel

framing, including steel joists and steel interior studs. Dave finds

that using steel minimizes the shrinkage problems and "nail pops", and

in many applications is more stable than wood. The steel products

used by Maple Park Development in the HomeArama home were supplied by

Fenster Steel through their custom steel fabrication division.

Dave's philosophy is to keep an open mind toward changes and new ways

to do things. Much of Maple Park's design work is computer assisted,

making it possible to finalize plans in a shorter time and helping to

assure accuracy.

Dave and his work are well-respected in the building industry. Maple

Park Development has received the prestigious Homer Award for three of

their projects. They received one Homer Award for a condominium

project, and the other two were awarded for custom homes designed

specifically for clients who were involved in the design process.

This company is indeed recognized for building better homes.

Dave is a long-time member of the Home Builders Association of

Greater St. Louis, having joined the association in the 1970s. He has

given time and funds to various projects with the HBA over the years,

and has served on various committees. He was president of the

organization during 1991-1992. Before being chosen as president, he

spent much effort and time in behalf of the HBA for more than ten

years. Dave feels that he has benefited by being a member of the HBA,

having the opportunity to gain knowledge about governmental issues,

environmental issues, and other relevant topics. He appreciates the

chance to get to know the various suppliers and others with whom he

associates in this capacity. He was also president of the Missouri

HBA in 1985.

Another of Dave's philosophies is, "Never stop learning." He is

involved in a variety of activities. In addition to his work with the

HBA, he is a boating enthusiast and carries a Coast Guard Master's

License. He also teaches two classes in Advanced Coastal Navigation

for the Meramec College Continuing Education program. Dave is active

in the Rotary Club, and was involved with a Russian Building

Delegation, which was here recently. He likes to stay up on the

latest technological advances and enjoys electronics experimentation.

In the 1970s he built his own computer (he is quick to add that he has

since then purchased a newer, up-to-date one). Dave is also active in

local computer users' groups, and with an Internet users' group. He is

also a country western dancer and has been involved with Amateur

Radio. With such a broad and varied background, it's no wonder that

Dave Forrest is so accomplished at what he does. Maple Park

Development Corporation creates homes that are indeed exceptional.

Builder/Architect Magazine is proud to feature Maple Park

Development Corporation, an official HomeArama builder. For further

information, contact Maple Park Development by telephone at 314-965-4140

or e-mail: