News & Trends From The 2014 Builders’ Show

By Matty Adler, in Events


I just returned from Las Vegas, where for the first year ever,  the International Builders Show joined forces with the National Kitchen and Bath Show to create the largest home builders show in the world.  This year’s show has differed from shows of the past 5 years in that the overall mood was positive towards the growth in the building industry, something that is a sign of the upswing in new construction in our country compared to just a few years ago.  This was also evident in the number of new or returning vendors that participated in this year’s show.  It gave me an opportunity to see new product and new additions to current lines.  Here is just a sample of some of the exciting things found at this year’s show:

This year Woodmode and Brookhaven cabinets (Echelon is the authorized dealer for these in southern Delaware) has rolled out over a dozen new opaque painted colors for their cabinets ranging in colors from Plum to Caribbean Mist with many colors looking like they were designed with the beach in mind.  Many of these colors also come in a vintage technique allowing the buyer to see the glazing and brush strokes in the painted finish.  Two of these new finishes were sold to the first two clients I met with on my return, a real indication of just how popular these colors will be.

Dal Tile also had its largest roll out of new tiles that I have seen in years.  It is truly amazing what they can do with porcelain tiles these days.  Many are made to mimic natural stones but offer the durability of a porcelain tile.  New additions like their beveled subway tile will be a sure hit for those looking for a timeless backsplash with a clean and simple look.  Hardwood look-a-likes have been especially popular lately with the look getting so close to the real thing most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference!

moxie shower headKohler has added some new sinks and faucets to their lines including a new spray that mimics the shape of a broom and allows for better sweeping of debris  on dishes.  Between that and the offset drain offered in a few of their sinks, Kohler continues to push the boundaries in reinventing everyday plumbing fixtures.  Their Moxie shower head, introduced at last year’s show, continues to be a feature in their show displays, providing buyers with music in the shower that connects wirelessly with any blue tooth device.  It brings singing in the shower to a whole new level.

Quartz has emerged as the hottest thing in countertops today.  Many manufacturers were present to show off this product including Caesar Stone, Zodiaq and Silestone but my favorite is still Cambria.  With all its products made here in the US they seem to be leading the pack in new and innovative designs.  Its newest addition, called Galloway, has a white base with swirls of taupe and a bronze-like detail similar to that of their Minera quartz.  This also looks as though it was designed with the beach house buyer in mind.  I see this being a hot seller in 2014.

native trails concrete farm sinkNative Trails were showing their new sinks made from concrete with a Jute blend.  While being a more contemporary look, the addition of jute to the concrete mix creates a sink much lighter than its all-concrete counterparts while offering a stain resistance not found in most concrete sinks.  While priced for the higher end market, I am sure the price will come down on these over time as their popularity grows.  I hope to have the chance to use these in a future product as they will become the focal point in any bath.

The biggest change in the appliance world at this year’s show was with Viking Appliances.  Having recently been sold to a larger company they are working to reinvent their brand with three different levels of Viking to appeal to a wider variety of price points.  Their new induction cooktops (one of the hottest things in cooktops today) allow you to cook on almost any part of the cooktop.  They also had a prototype of a possible future venture to be built in Italy.  It is a La Cornue look-a-like and if they go to production with this range it will be show stopper in any kitchen.  Its price tag doesn’t make this an option for most, but at the top of the line, those who can afford it will have a range that is as much art as it is range.

One of my favorite things about the show is the chance to find unique, one a kind products that help set our homes apart from the rest.  As the strength of the building industry grows so will the future shows, something that really excites me as a designer.  I look forward to next year and the chance to find even more new products to share with all of our homeowners.

Echelon Awarded Best Custom Home 5 Years In A Row

By Echelon, in Awards


On Friday, May 17th, the Home Builders Association of Delaware held the 21st annual Regal Awards ceremony to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of its builder and associate partners. The Regal Awards celebrate excellence in the home building industry honoring the best builders in Delaware.

Echelon Custom Homes took home an award for the Best Custom Home over $750,001 for the 5th year in a row. The winning Hawksnest residence features a luxurious master suite with a wet bar, three sided fireplace and seating area. Other features include a wrap around back porch that leads to an in-ground pool with a Jacuzzi accompanied with custom pool house with full bar. This residence is the ultimate entertainment home.

Other awards included Best Kitchen for Coco Bay residence, Best Bath for Hawksnest residence, Best Single Family Resort Home over $500,001 for Newcastle Street residence (designed by A.B.O.D.E.S., LLC) and Best Custom Home from $400,000 – $750,000 for Robinson Drive residence.

The Schell Brothers companies including Renew-Smart Renovations and Echelon Interiors – walked away with a total of 24 awards on the evening of the awards.

Exciting upcoming projects for 2013!

By Tim Tice, in new homes

new homes delaware

One of the reasons that I love my job is that on any given day I can be involved in every single aspect of the new home construction process. I tend to get bored easily and that cannot happen when working as part of a design and build team.  I get so much satisfaction turning a conversation with a customer into someone’s dream home and driving by it for years. At Echelon, every day is an adventure.

2013 is going to be an exciting year for Echelon. We have several waterfront projects that will begin construction in the early part of the year. These are always exciting because they tend to push the envelope for size and typical residential build practices. One in particular will have a lot of steel, concrete, brick and a lot of very custom features… VERY EXCITING! This year is also going to be a banner year for the first couple of semi-custom series that were launched at the end of 2012. The Masters Series has several homes that have already been planned to start early in 2013. Coming soon is the Island series which will feature home plans that are designed to take advantage of waterfront lots in the resort area.

2013 looks to be a great year for all of us and our friends here at Echelon.  Stay tuned for more info from our design department.

Echelon Clambake & Bonfire

By Echelon, in Club Echelon

Enjoy this short video from our latest Club Echelon event on September 15th, 2012 in Lewes.

Until next time!

Fun in the (not-so-much) Sun

By Megan Frohman, in culture

Hoping the storm will miss us

Last Friday was the company beach day at Gordon’s Pond, what a blast it was. Despite the weather forecast of scattered thunderstorms, the company still decided to go forth with the event.

Two Jolly Trolley’s picked us up from the Schell Brother’s offices. We then made our way to the Delaware State Park and walked nothing short of half a mile to our designated site. What a sight it was. Music blasting, games scattered across the beach, and numerous coolers filled with… refreshments. After everyone was settled, there was just enough time for the opening ceremony, and then the storm clouds came rolling in. Still, the storm did not rain on our parade. Once we found shelter, we continued to party on.

Luckily enough, the weather lightened up and we were able to continue the festivities back on the beach. There, we played corn hole, volleyball, horseshoes and much more. In addition, Wes, one of Echelon’s Superintendents, coordinated relay races, which consisted of surfboards, swimming in the ocean, and puzzles. As much fun as it was partaking in the games, it was even more enjoyable laughing at everybody else participating. There were too many trials and groups to keep track of who actually won, but one thing is for sure, how much fun everybody had.

The day came to a close when the torrential downpour began, yet again.
There wasn’t a single person who didn’t get caught in the rain. We then marched back to the Trolley, getting our exercise in for the day, and headed home in perfect timing for beach traffic. Thankfully, our driver had the kahunas to risk driving in the bus lane. We then arrived safely, but mostly quickly, to our destination.

In the end, it was yet another successful Schell Brothers Companies event, bad weather and all.  If this is what they call work, I never want to retire.

Until next time!

The Real World Experience Starring Megan Frohman

By Megan Frohman, in culture


Hello all, my name is Megan Frohman. I am currently interning with the design team for Echelon Custom Homes and am having the time of my life.

I’m originally from Rehoboth Beach, yes there are actually people who live here year round. Growing up, with my mother being an elementary school art teacher and my father owning an art gallery, my life revolved around art. It goes without saying that my interest in visual arts has more or less been embedded in my genes. Though I began my college education at Delaware Technical Community College, I am now enrolled at Drexel University in Philadelphia. There, I am studying Interior Design in the urban setting I have always dreamed of, second to Manhattan of course. Learning about interior design in classes has been beneficial, however, the internship at Echelon has offered me the real world experience I was looking for.

I was lucky enough to intern with an extremely good-looking design team headed by Matty Adler, along with Ivana, Kim, and Justine. Matty is extraordinary at what he does. I am extremely fortunate to have him as my mentor. Someday, I can only hope to strive to accomplish all that he has. The girls are exceptionally smart, kind, and are great role models. I couldn’t imagine a better design team if I had hand picked them myself. The parent company, Schell Brothers, aims to please their employees in order to create a positive working environment for everyone. That’s exactly what they’ve done.

Most importantly, what I am truly grateful for is the respect I have been given. Going into this internship I was expecting to be running coffee errands, picking up dry cleaning, and if I was lucky enough, fluffing models. Since I’ve been here, I have visited ongoing and completed job sites, learned about materials, given reference catalogs for school, as well as sat in on client selections where I was able to voice my opinion. Even though I am only an intern and the youngest of the company, I am always included in the group making me always eager to come to work. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have been given. Interning at Echelon has been a dream. I am overjoyed to be here and look forward to finishing out my remaining term.

Until next time!


The Echelon Experience

By Echelon, in News

Bill & Stacy share their experience of building a new custom home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Hear their story.

Junior Nationals

By Dion Lamb, in health

I spent my July 4th vacation in a convention center in Columbus, Ohio filled with whistles, the sound of volleyballs hitting skin and floor, and thousands of young girls between the ages of 13 and 17. Not exactly one’s idea of a peaceful and relaxing vacation let alone a place to reflect. But I found myself asking a lot of questions about what I really felt while I was there and as a result had a rather unexpected “vacation”.

First let me provide some background. My brother runs the Kaulukoa Volleyball Institute in Honolulu, HI. The Institute has 9 girls teams and 5 boys teams ranging in age from 12-17. My brother, Lee, coaches the girls 16 and under team. They earned the right to play in the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals. The Junior Nationals are essentially the Olympics or the NCAA championships for high school athletes. College coaches from around the country are there scouting and recruiting players. Each age group is broken into divisions depending upon the qualifying status of each team. There is an American, a National, and an Open Division each with 32 teams. The level of play increases as you move from American to Open. My brother’s team was playing in the Open Division against 31 of the best teams in the country and I had the opportunity to be on the bench as an assistant coach.
(Yes, if you are paying attention my brother lives in Hawaii and I went to Ohio to see him…I really need to plan better….)
As you can imagine the level of talent at this type of event is off the charts, the best of the best. Kids put in countless hours of training and travel to earn the right to play here. It is the fact that they are kids that really had me reflecting at the end of each day. First let me say that I am a fan of competition, I have never understood people who say “you are a very competitive person” with a tone that implies it is a negative personality trait! It has helped me accomplish many more good things in my life than bad. But man, the father in me struggled to watch girls on my team and other teams drown in the pressure of the moment and crack emotionally after losing. I wanted to hug them all, tell them in the big scheme of things it’s not that bad, but the competitor and the realist in me knows that in some ways this isn’t little in the scheme of things for these kids. Some of these kids may never have an opportunity to participate in something of this magnitude again. What college coaches see and hear during this tournament could impact the rest of their lives by directing them to one school or another or even whether they get any scholarship money at all.

So I get it. In the end this is a big moment, a necessary moment in the path these kids have chosen. If I had the chance to talk to all of them individually I think I would tell them the same thing I have been telling myself – focus on the good things that happened. So for my girls which, after five days I began to think of them as, I am proud of you and all you accomplished. I know a 14th place finish wasn’t what you hoped for and losing seven sets by a combined total of 23 points is a double heartbreaker, but find the positives. Each of you in my eyes had multiple moments of character and strength, places where you shined. Remember those, build on them, use them to be better going forward.
For me personally it was a privilege to see so much talent in one place and know the effort that was required to get there. It’s too early to be sure, but I think being a part of this will have changed my outlook on life slightly. Any time you are forced to examine your perspective and ask yourself tough questions about what you really believe is a tremendous opportunity to learn. This was a great trip for reasons I would have never guessed beforehand. I am glad to have been a part of it.

To see the girls click here
To see the results of the tournament click here and go to pool 4.

Introducing Salt Air Restaurant

By Ivana Biela, in Club Echelon

Salt Air reopened under new management on April 26th, 2012. I couldn’t wait to try out their new menu and see the remodeled space.

Finally this week I was able to stop by for a quick dinner with friends.
Country farmhouse interiors with coastal flair create a nice and relaxed atmosphere. The new menu has something for everyone. Fresh fish, shellfish, meats and local vegetables & fruits.

What was on my plate?
Amazing Roasted Beet Salad with whipped goat cheese and a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Yum!  The portions are quite large so come in hungry or be prepared to share.

What was in my glass?
White Wine Sangria. Wow! Make sure you try it.

Don’t skip the dessert! I’ve tried the Homemade Apple Pie and it was delicious. Not to mention the vanilla ice-cream, also homemade, was one of the best ice-creams I’ve ever had in Rehoboth.

Fellow Employee favorites at Salt Air:
Matty’s: Steamed Mussels & Phenomenal Deviled Eggs
Kim’s: Champagne Sangria & Peanut Butter Tiramisu

Salt Air is located at 50 Wilmington Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. If you plan to dine at Salt Air Restaurant make sure to get a reservation at 302.227.3744.


The Best Of Kitchen & Bath Show 2012

By Kim Angus, in News

I must say that going to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show can be well, overwhelming, if you are a “newbie” like I was.  The convention was held in Chicago, Illinois which has to be one of my favorite cities. When Matty asked if I wanted to go how could I say no! We had one day to conquer the “floor” and Matty had a very wise plan to tackle the massive task, take in row by row!

Where to begin?

Cambria is one product that we all cannot stop talking about. Cambria is a family based company that manufactures quartz countertops in northern Minnesota. Quartz countertops are made of engineered stones that are uniform in appearance. The mineral quartz is mixed with resins and binders. Color is added to achieve the desired look. A sample that you see in a showroom should be similar to what is installed.  Cambria has taken quartz countertops to a new level with their unsurpassed color innovation.  They are producing new slabs that do not compare to what other companies produce.
Ladies watch out! The glitter and sparkle will make you think that there are diamonds in the slab. Some of our favorite colors were: New Quay, Praa Sands and Waterford. For more information about Cambria and there selection of awesome selection check out their website

Lustrolite is another product that we are supper stoked about! Lustrolite is a unique blend of polymer manufactured to deliver a high gloss decorative panel for bathrooms and showers. It can be used as a floor, tub surround, shower walls just about anywhere you can use tile. This company offers unique color options that can jazz up any bathroom from the walls to the floors. It is easy to clean and will not scratch or lose its color over time. It can also be installed onsite with typical wood cutting tools. Colors can vary from neutral beige to a vibrant red and a glacier teal. This unique product is something that we are excited to use in the right space! For more information and pictures check out their website at

In the plumbing this year we noticed a trend in Matte Black finishes. Kohler, Brizo, Moen, Delta and American Standard all provide the Matte Black finish in just about every style. From modern to traditional, if you want a Matte Black plumbing fixture there is one out there for you!

Laminate has always been a more affordable option for countertops and surfaces. One problem manufactures have had in the past is in the edging where the laminate crates a seam. Well this year we noticed more than one manufacture showed a new style of edging to help reduce this seam. Formica is calling it the Ideal Edging, offering two styles an ogee and bluenose edge.

There was a lot to see at KBIS this year. From plumbing to solid surfaces and I cannot wait to see what the industry comes up with next.