Consumer E-Newsletter - 12/12/2006 (Plain Text Version)
In this issue:
Getting the Most from Your Design Center
If you’re buying a new home or doing a remodeling job, a visit to your local design center may be in order. While at first it may seem overwhelming, with the right preparation, it can be a rewarding experience.
“Design centers have become like boutiques,” says Kate Brennan of Mary Cook and Associates, a Chicago-based interior design firm. “You’re window shopping.”
Before making an appointment, first spend time in the builder’s models and design center evaluating the options they offer. Keep a file of magazine photos organized to focus on ideas for specific areas of the home such as the master bath, kitchen, and fireplace. It's a great way to start to figure out your style.
Kathy Browning of Design Consultants, a Model Home Merchandising and Interior Design company in Virginia Beach, Va., echoes Brennan when it comes to being organized and prepared. Browning recommends visiting manufacturers' internet sites to familiarize yourself with products and specifications. Keeping a file and doing your research will help you save time by pre-eliminating and pre-selecting pieces before your visit.
Raul Rio of Timberlake Cabinet Company, a leading nationwide supplier of cabinetry for the new construction market headquartered in Winchester, Va., recommends making a “lifestyle inventory,” taking into account the function of each room and what will be needed for it. The ages and lifestyles of family members are also important for this list.
Design center visitors should plan for a three to six hour visit of undistracted attention and dialogue with the design center staff. Remember to stay realistic and find out what is standard from your builder. For example, granite kitchen countertops, once a luxury, are becoming more of a standard feature in new homes. Make a priority list too, so you will have more of an idea where to spend your money.
Rio recommends keeping expectations in check. “By managing expectations and goals from beginning to end, a homebuyer is more tuned into their demands and goals, leading to fewer setbacks and ultimately a satisfying experience.”
Browning helps her clients stay relaxed and on target with what she calls the “SIMPLIFY” method:
The design center visit should be both fun and educational. With realistic expectations and thoughtful planning, you can get the most out of your visit. So do your research and get prepared. You’ll be setting foot in your new space before you know it!
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