Newcomer Magazine

Designing Your New Home

Posted June 6, 2007 2:44 p.m. EDT

Today’s homebuyers are far-and-away more savvy than they were even ten years ago, but because few of us are interior designers or architects, we need a little help to complete the picture in our imagination. Luckily, the Triangle area has just the help we need.

You may want to consider a professional architect as a home design option. One of the area’s top choices is award-winning Planworx, led by architects Mark Mills and Ken Braswell. Planworx has blended exceptional designs with great personal service. Customers of Planworx can simply start with a basic idea of features necessary to their lifestyle, and a home design emerges that can be taken to any qualified builder. Mills says that it is so simple that “many people just bring us a verbal description of what they like and we ask the questions that eventually become a personal plan matching what the customer wants.”

However, some area builders have established showrooms to customize their already existing architectural plans, staffed with design consultants to help you explore all the possibilities for enhancing your home.With innovative style and an impressive portfolio of home designs, John Wieland Siganature Homes has a design center for those seeking distinctive features like luxurious spa baths and gourmet kitchens. These centers allow you to see and touch fireplace mantles, doors, windows, faucets, flooring, cabinets, and everything else that will be in your new home. Choosing a builder with a design center affords the buyer the opportunity to finance options and upgrades as part of their mortgage and help reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Orleans Design Center, for example, not only allows you to see trim styles, kitchen cabinets and crown molding options, but can layout audio systems, security, and personal computer wiring before the house is built.

“Our design center approach is to make the experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible,” says Briggs Napier, VP of Sales & Marketing for K Hovnanian. They also have a Structured Wiring section staffed with technical experts in electronics. “With technology becoming more entangled with our lifestyle, pre-planning home wiring is absolutely essential given the overwhelming cost of installing these systems to an existing house.” The K Hovnanian location even has a “Kids’ Room,” equipped with a playroom, video and movie selections, as well as an XBox. Napier adds that “perhaps ‘Wow!’ is the most heard reaction, or that the design center is like a ‘candy store’. When the mortgage process is completed, and people are free to enjoy the experience of personally designing a home that matches their lifestyle. People are excited when they come to the design center, especially with all the choices laid out before them. They come in with color swatches, and begin matching the colors and materials with the items they’re considering in the design center.” The KB Home Design Studio at Brier Creek Shopping Center is a huge 9,000 square feet facility partnered with some of the largest brand names in America, “this is one of the advantages of dealing with a national company,” says Trish Hanchette, Division President for KB Home. “Our major distinguishing factor is that we have the studio placed in a stellar location, a central and major retail center, easily accessible from all points in the Triangle. It is also unique in that Warner Brothers created our very beautiful showroom. The bottom line is that 70% of our customers say they found the KB Home Design Studio ‘essential’ to their purchase.”

Be sure to look into all the design centers before deciding which complements your aesthetics. Laura Burke, ASID certified interior designer at David Weekley Homes says, “our design center is flooded with natural light, like someone actually has in their own home, not a commercial showroom with fluorescent lights.” She acknowledges that there is a lot of stress in planning and building a new home, but adds that, “one of our purposes at the design center is to take out the stress of building a home.” Burke says that home design is an “emotional experience, but it is so much more than aesthetics, it’s matching materials with the lifestyle of people.” You’ve probably seen many homes you love, and have scoured magazines and the internet for home design ideas. It’s time to collect your thoughts and ideas, your clippings and color splotches, and take advantage of the outstanding design opportunities here in the Triangle.