From handcrafting fine homes of distinction to developing communities with character, Phillippe Builders continues to demonstrate a work ethic that encompasses an unwavering dedication to quality, integrity, discipline and teamwork.
In 1959, Dewey Phillippe followed in his father’s footsteps as a builder who took great pride in providing excellence to homebuyers when he officially established Phillippe Builders in Chicago’s south suburbs. Now, with countless site-built custom homes plus thriving established communities in Illinois and Indiana, Robert Phillippe of the third generation now leads the company.
Recently, The Times had the opportunity to learn more about how this family-owned and operated business has managed to thrive for five and a half decades in the local marketplace.
Q: Now that the housing market is showing signs of a sustained recovery, what can buyers expect from Phillippe Builders?
Robert Phillippe: Just as we have done for so many years, Phillippe Builders will continue to build both homes and communities for our family and friends.
It is our philosophy to provide the expertise, consultation and support our customer needs to visualize and plan their new home in lasting communities, such as The Gates of St. John, Village Green at Coffee Creek (Chesterton) and Spring Run (Lowell) for which the American Midwest is known. We will continue to be committed to provide homes that are built to last and built for living.
Q: What do you feel is the most important lesson learned from your father and his father before him?
Robert Phillippe: That would have to be the fact that an educated buyer is our best customer. The reality of that statement was never more important than it was several years ago—when the housing market literally turned upside down.
My father and I often discuss how the value of each and every Phillippe-built home benefits from our continued success. Our reputation for excellence is unparalleled, and we will not sacrifice it under any circumstances. Our team collectively oversees the construction of each and every home we build as carefully as if it were our very own. Plus, we have a comprehensive warranty program, and we are here to stand by our product.
Q: What key features are you most proud of in a Phillippe-built home?
Robert Phillippe: For starters, our homes meet and/or exceed both the building code and the energy code. Over the last several years, we’ve certainly seen some ways builders have substituted materials to reduce costs while still meeting code.
At Phillippe Builders, we frame our homes with premium framing lumber. We believe it’s well worth the additional expense because of the quality, longevity and strength it brings to our homes.
Then, all of our single-family homes are stick built on-site—we do not use trusses. Our foundations are 8-10 inches of continuously poured reinforced concrete versus block walls or thinner concrete foundation walls. We also run the electric wires through conduit rather than use Romex in our single-family homes.
We also pursue the Performance Path rather than Prescriptive Path of the Energy Code, which means our homes are up to 40 percent more efficient than a typical home built to code and as much as 25 percent more efficient than an ENERGY STAR home.
Beyond that, our communities typically feature amenities such as a park or preserved green space, as well as ponds, creeks and/or other water features. They always offer much more than just a grid layout in a cornfield. They have curves and cul de sacs, curbs and sidewalks with protective covenants to maintain the look and feel of the community, as well as protect a homeowner’s investment.
In our maintenance-free communities, we strive to keep the monthly fees modest. Currently Magnolia Gate in The Gates of St. John is $85 and Village Green at Coffee Creek in Chesterton is $150.
Q: How does Phillippe Builders provide buyers the best possible value with so many outstanding features?
Robert Phillippe: Our long-established relationships with vendors and suppliers and the value of our buying power allow us to consistently purchase a wide range of materials at the lowest possible market prices without sacrificing anything in the quality of the job. Without exception, we pass these savings on to our buyers.