Johnny Herron and Scott Farris are putting a new face on modular housing. American Dreamhome Builders has relocated to Hattiesburg with a new concept that the duo hopes will transform the way that modular housing is viewed in the Pine Belt.

Now partnering with Nationwide Custom Homes, American Dreamhome is offering 98 models of home to choose from as well as custom home building.

“We wanted to be a true systems builder,” Herron said. “By partnering with Nationwide, we knew that we could get closer to that goal than we had previously.”

The deal with Nationwide, Herron said has enhanced both the product and the presentation. Modular or systems-built housing means that the home is constructed in a factory, then transported to the site, where it is set onto the foundations and assembled.

The difference with Nationwide, Herron said, is that the product is a 100 percent stick frame as opposed to HUD models – single and doublewide trailers.

“We have never built a single- or double-wide since this program started,” said Bryan Johnson, regional manager of Nationwide’s building division. “Our competition is every contractor out there. We are looking for the multi-family business. We are looking to go into nice developments with this because it will fit there.”

When customers walk into the office on Weathersby Road, Herron said, they will know whether they can afford the type of housing American Dreamhome has to offer.

The office is slated to become a showroom where customers lay out the floor plan of their new home as well as choose the fixtures, lighting and color design of the home on location. Phases II and III of the location will see a great amount of expansion, where customers will be able to see a miniature kitchen, master bedroom and bath with different grades of materials in the showroom.

“It will definitely be a hands-on type of thing,” Herron said. “We want customers to come in and by the time they leave, completely understand what we’re doing and what we’re about.”

Part of the process is pricing, which is done with the customer as house plans are being made. One of the challenges, Herron said, has been financing for homes, although first-time homebuyers are largely unaffected by the credit crunch.

“It’s still the American dream to own a home,” Herron said. “Should everyone own a home? Probably not, but that is something for the financier to determine, not us.”

While the Hattiesburg market has softened considerably in the past year, Herron, Johnson and Farris believe that the modular housing offered by American Dreamhome is a quality-based, affordable method of building a home.

“We’ve picked the worst time to do this,” Herron said with a laugh. “We can’t drive the economy. But what we can do a better job ourselves with the best product and best design center we can offer.”

The American Dreamhome Builders will host a three-day rollout beginning with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Thursday and two open houses from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

Courtesy Emma James,