LOS ANGELES – Fans of Martha Stewart (search) who snapped up her towels and sheets will soon be able to live in a house designed by the domestic maven.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSO) and KB Home (KBH), one of the nation's largest home builders, announced Wednesday that they are teaming up to build a line of new houses that the domestic queen will design.
The first jointly designed community — to be named KB Home Twin Lakes: Homes Created with Martha Stewart — will feature about 650 homes in Cary, N.C., a suburb of Raleigh, the companies said in a news release. Model homes are scheduled to be completed in early 2006.
Bruce Karatz, KB Home's chairman and CEO, said his company and Stewart hope to build developments in communities throughout the country.
"I'm delighted to team with KB Home to create beautiful and functional homes that are filled with the design, colors, and high-quality materials that have been the inspiration for my homes over the years," Stewart said in a statement.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The dwellings, inspired by Stewart's own homes in New York and Maine, will range from 1,500 square feet to 4,100 square feet and will be priced from the low-$200,000 to mid-$400,000 range.
While the deal allows Martha Stewart Living to branch out to a new market, the company is also hoping to use the partnership to further market Stewart's collection of home furnishings and other products. The model home will be furnished with Martha Stewart Living products, and customers will be able to buy flooring, faucets, light fixtures, cabinetry and countertops.
The partnership is the latest in an avalanche of projects that Martha Stewart Living has pursued to make Stewart more visible ever since she was released from prison in March for lying about a stock sale. Some critics have maintained that Stewart may be spreading herself too thin, and investors have been punishing the stock.
Since Stewart's two TV shows — a live syndicated talk show called "Martha" and "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (search)," made their debut last month, the stock has fallen 36 percent to around $21 per share amid lukewarm ratings. Shares of Martha Stewart Living fell 82 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $20.68 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, Stewart will have a 24-hour radio channel with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (SIRI) that will feature cooking, gardening and entertaining programming for women. It will make its debut later this month.
The company is also coming out with new products. There will be a DVD series of how-to tips starting in October with the first four titles focused on holiday entertaining. "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook," Stewart's first cookbook in six years, will be out in November and a business book called "The Martha Rules" is due out later this month.