Model home decoratingPublished on October 2, 2016

Photo by: Mark Holleron

Cardel Homes recently celebrated 20 years of building homes in Ottawa, and has evolved with the growing Ottawa market to keep buyers inspired. Jenny Black is the Design Centre Manager for the new homebuilder and keeps up with current trends to ensure a fresh approach. Ottawa At Home chatted with Jenny to look at how model home décor has changed over the years to adapt to the local market and its savvy buyers.

WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN HOW BUILDERS DECORATE MODELS? At one time, some model homes would be minimally staged to showcase the layout of the floor plan. Some wouldn’t even include accessories. Now we work hard to create more of a “lifestyle” and an environment in which prospective clients can truly visualize themselves living.

HOW BIG AN IMPACT DOES A WELL-DECORATED MODEL HOME MAKE ON BUYERS? With today’s savvy buyers, it is more important than ever to create the dream. The floor plan will continue to be one of the most important deciding factors in choosing a home, but if a home is not decorated well, or not to their taste, it can be very difficult for the prospective buyer to imagine themselves in the space. 

HOW DOES DECORATING A MODEL HOME DIFFER FROM A PRIVATE RESIDENCE? For our designers, a model home is an opportunity to showcase a design from their creative vision, rather than working on the practical aspects of a family’s lifestyle. It’s an opportunity to be innovative, try out the latest trends and create a space that has a little something in it for everyone.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MODEL HOME TRICKS THAT ATTRACT BUYERS? We take great care in ensuring that the furniture is the right scale to suit and accentuate the space. In our opinion, less is more and if the decorating takes over the prospective buyer loses focus. We try to work on a few key elements that highlight the structure and beauty of the home design.

WHAT ARE THE TOP UPGRADE SELECTIONS BUYERS ARE CHOOSING TODAY? Although it is no surprise that kitchen upgrades remain a top priority, we have seen a big shift in the desired materials and style. Natural stone countertops, glass and stone backsplashes, as well as chimney or wood hood fan facades, are all the rage. Clean lines, painted cabinetry, and even two-tone kitchens, have really started to make an appearance in the last few years.
Today’s buyers are informed. They’ve done their online research and know what they want and how to find it. The sky is the limit, and it’s our job to make sure that we stay on top of the trends and showcase these sought-after items in our model homes.

WHAT UPGRADES ADD THE MOST VALUE AND DO ANY DEVALUE A HOME? Kitchens and flooring are at the top of the list because they not only have a high impact on design, they can also be challenging or expensive to change later. Clients are looking for a natural feel.
When working with new home buyers, our designers have discussions about timeless and classic versus modern or trendy designs that may risk looking dated in five to ten year’s time. Sometimes neutral finishes are the way to go on the “bones” of the house, or items that you don’t want to have to change. Accessories and paint can be updated and don’t require renovation.

WHICH FINISHES ARE MOST POPULAR RIGHT NOW? Wide plank, distressed or matte finished hardwood flooring is very popular. Cement tiles with a French-vintage look are making an appearance in our upcoming model home. Quartz countertops remain a sought-after, low-maintenance choice for the kitchen, but we’re also seeing resurgence in requests for the natural appeal of granite. The desire for texture is prevalent, even in modern designs, and is injected in the home with the hardwood flooring, tile and fireplace selections.

Mary Taggart

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