Rae Missigman and her husband, Carl, wanted to look for a home that better suited their lives as soon-to-be empty nesters when three of their five adult children moved out to live on their own. The couple was riding bikes in Harmony, Florida, when they came across a Meritage community that was being built. They decided to check out a model home and immediately fell in love.


Luckily for Rae and Carl, an identical home was in the process of being built, so they jumped at the chance to purchase it.

Rae, who is a full-time artist, offers online workshops on topics like watercolor and art journaling. She needs her workspace to be well-lit and have good acoustics for filming. “So when we walked into the home, the very first thing my husband said was, ‘I can see what room you’re taking,’” says Rae.

That room Rae would use as her art studio is the whole front area of their new home. She combined the living room and dining area and added a big table to work on. The best part, Rae says, is if they have guests over, they can clear her table and transform it for entertaining by adding seating or even turning it into an area for a buffet.

What Rae loves most about her workspace is the two huge windows that flood the area with natural light. “I couldn’t get any luckier with light if I had built the house in a different way,” says Rae. The room also has high vaulted ceilings, making it look even larger and providing more visual appeal, which is especially great when she’s filming her online tutorials.

Energy Savings 

In addition to the natural light and open spaces, Rae and her husband notice how much energy their Meritage home helps them save. “My husband said, ‘I cannot believe how low our electric bill is,’” says Rae. “And I know that’s directly related to the air conditioning system as well as the spray foam insulation, which we’ve never had anywhere.” That spray foam insulation — installed in every Meritage home — helps to regulate indoor temperatures and lower energy costs by forming a more effective barrier between the inside and outside.

The couple keeps their home at 76 degrees, which Rae says was unbelievable because of how cool it felt inside. “Any other house I’d have to put the thermostat on 68 to stay cool, so it’s great,” says Rae.

Community and Amenities

Because Rae has five younger granddaughters, the amenities the community has to offer were really important to her. For instance, there are several conservation areas near the Missigmans. They have a wide-open natural space behind their house. Plus, there are a lot of places to take walks and ride bikes. The community even has a little playground and a common green area for everyone to enjoy.

Working with Meritage

It’s been nearly three years since Rae and Carl bought their Meritage home, but the two still remember the woman they worked with during the process. “She held our hand through all of it and was probably the most decent person we have ever worked with our whole lives,” says Rae. “She bent over backward a million different ways long after we were moved into our house to make it such an enjoyable experience.” Rae adds that it speaks to the type of company Meritage is that they have employees who are so helpful and friendly.

Even though Rae has transformed a big part of her home into her art studio, she says she still has space for her daughter, who visits from college, as well as her college graduate son, who is living with his parents while doing research before going to medical school. On top of it, Rae also has a play area set up for her granddaughters, who come over quite a bit. “It all just flows and fits perfectly together,” says Rae.

Actual energy savings and performance of any home or any of its features may vary widely, depending on the personal
energy consumption choices of the occupants, among other factors. Home features subject to change at any
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