In the current challenging economy, custom home builders, designers, and architects alike are searching for ways to improve their businesses, from brushing up on basic management skills and best practices to learning about the latest home design trends and how to apply new building technologies. But when times are tough, it's difficult to justify the travel expenses to attend business-building conferences.

Luckily, CUSTOM HOME magazine, residential architect's sister publication, is launching its first-ever no-travel-required virtual conference: Directions 2009—The New Way Home. We've designed a program of four free, on-demand sessions to hone your skills and talents, broaden your company's scope, and prime your business for success when the custom home market recovers.

Each session will be presented by a different business-savvy, talented custom design and building expert.

  • Remodeling 101: How you can pick up smaller jobs and still stay profitable.
    Speaker: Dennis Dixon, custom builder, remodeler, author of Finding Hidden Profits: A Guide for Custom Builders, and contributor to CUSTOM HOME magazine

  • The Pennywise House: What every custom builder should know about smaller, architect-designed modular houses.
    Speaker: Architect Russell Versaci, AIA, author of Creating a New Old House and Roots of Home, from Taunton Press

  • High-End Green: Can luxury and sustainability coexist? How you can give your next client a lovable, beautiful, responsible home.
    Speaker: High-end custom home builder David Warner, Redhorse Constructors

  • The High-Performance House: Separating the greenwashing hype from best practices in building science.
    Speaker: Ecological builder Kevin Stack, LEED Faculty, Northeast Natural Homes Sessions will launch on the first two Tuesdays and Thursdays of December, beginning December 8. Visit to register.