For the first time in a generation, visitors to the 2019 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., will find a house on the exhibit field, thanks to Morton Buildings’ new permanent exhibit.
The 1,600-square-foot home will be located on Central Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth streets, across from the building Morton previously filled (now the Hospitality Building). The house will be 36 by 45 feet, with a 30-by-30-foot attached garage and a 42-by-60-foot machine shed.
“It’s really a homestead for a rural area,” says Sean Cain, Morton vice president.
By design, the home will be unfinished on the inside, Cain says, so visitors can see the clear-span construction and insulation, and the possibilities that are available for designing the layout of the house in a number of ways. The exhibit will show a possible floor plan, and windows and doors will be placed for that particular plan.
“The unfinished interior gives homeowners flexibility to design the floor plan of their dreams,” he says. “Many of our customers like to act as their own general contractor for all interior finishing, which can save upward of 20% of the total finishing cost, making this an attractive option for them.”
Cain says the house is much like a regular Morton building, with trusses and columns, but built on a foundation. Insulation is similar to the system they use in farm shops, which he says is more efficient than in a standard home due to the way the steel is installed.
The exterior of the house will have cultured stone at the bottom and will feature a new paint color: weathered gray. Morton uses technology to “print” the pattern on a piece of steel, using their own paint. “We can guarantee it’s just like our solid colors, but we can do a wood grain and print it right on the steel,” Cain says.
They’ll also show several door, window and exterior finish options.
Homes are quickly becoming one of Morton’s most sought-after construction projects, as inquiries double each year.
Cain believes their home construction plays on to two different trends. The first is that people are choosing alternative living spaces — even storage containers. The second is that the economy likes variety and differentiation.
“This is both,” he says. “It plays along with the current state of the architecture and functionality that people are looking for, and it makes sense. That’s what’s more popular about this than anything else.”
He often sees customers replace an older, nonfunctional farmhouse with a Morton home, or in other cases, a couple needs bedrooms on the first floor and builds a Morton home. “It may be the last house they ever build,” he adds.
Cain says they may change up the home over time, changing color or perhaps finishing the interior. The display home will be located on Morton Buildings’ permanent new exhibit space at Lot 633. The 2019 Farm Progress Show runs Aug. 27-29.