Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Picture It: Create a Character to Guide Your Design

By Mary Cook, Mary Cook & Associates

Now more than ever, model homes are key sales tools for developers. In the current housing market crisis, people are weighing every factor in their decision on buying a home.

Beyond the typical questions on the quality of the finishes, school districts, and mortgage rates, those who are looking to spend their life savings on a place are looking for deeper psychological reasons to sign on the dotted line.

Does this home speak to me? Can I imagine my lifestyle being a fit here?

That’s why my firm spends so much time getting to know the prospective audience for which we design model homes. We design for specific people, often taking the time to create fictitious characters such as "John the Wall Streeter," who lets his girlfriend decorate his place.

For a residential development on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, an extra room was designed as a jewelry designer’s workspace in one model. At one of our senior communities in central New Jersey, one model that featured bright pinks and greens (inspired by Lily Pulitzer) sparked a buzz among visitors.

By envisioning who might live at our clients’ properties, it allows our designs to connect with prospects with the power of specificity.

Even if you don’t have the same decorating taste as John the Wall Streeter or other characters, designing the model home for real people provides a lived-in authentic feel. Details help inspire -- and ultimately show buyers that they can truly personalize a new home.

Mary Cook
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Cook, a Chicago native, is the president and founder of Mary Cook & Associates, an award-winning interior design firm specializing in providing design services to the builder/developer, senior housing, golf and resort and CCRC industries. The company has grown to acquire national presence, installing hundreds of design projects across the United States.


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