Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Feeling Blue


The Preserve

Bedroom Before

Bedroom After

Bath with Target Accessories
Earlier this year Pantone named blue, or turquoise to be exact the color of the year. I'm wondering if the winter Olympic committee had consulted with them because blue is definitely a color we are seeing a lot of as we watch the winter games. I love the shades of blue and green that were chosen for the Olympics -it just goes to show how much of a difference the right colors can make in the appearance of an event, branding campaign or even a room. Using navy vs. aqua on a wall makes all the difference, even though they are both blue.
@home Builders hired The Home Idea Factory to merchandise a new model for them, and shades of blue were used in various rooms. This home was around the corner from the previous model which was in different colors, but the challenge was to use as much from the old model in the new one to keep costs down. Everything from the old bedroom was recycled in the new one but we added new bedding and headboards. The kids bath was merchandised with accessories from Target that were on trend and budget conscious. Buyers could actually go out and buy the items they saw and fell in love with in the model home. This new model home has character and personality and lookers became buyers - a community which only sold a few homes a year had 8 sales in snowy November and they now have a waiting list for the next phase.
Color  can affect your mood, and happy colors create happy customers.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Being a Good Neighbor

As a Lifestylist, giving back is something I really believe in. I was in a board meeting the other day at HomeAid and was hearing about a special project that some of our board members did for an injured veteran. To them helping others isn't about "getting credit" it's just the right thing to do.
I found this quote on the Rent-A-Center Community page: "At the crossroads of sharing, caring and compassion is Community. It's a place where people come together with a common goal, to contribute resources and ideas in uncommonly generous and inspired ways. In a Community, compassion just comes with the territory whether that territory's a small town, a big city, or a gathering spot that's borders are only virtual. A Community is a place where no one is meant to go without and everyone belongs"
Rent-A-Center is very much this way, and I'm just beginning to find out how much so. When I travel coast to coast I've seen their stores and they are often in my neighborhood delivering. I've also seen their ads with their new spokesperson Troy Aikman so they were on my radar - great service and lots of value. But when I really took notice is when HomeAid needed some help and Rent-A-Center was the first to step up. And they are the strong silent type - not asking for their logos everywhere or even a mention - just doing it because it's the right thing to do. When a project was having problems keeping the utilities on because the homeowner couldn't afford the bill I saw someone with Rent-A-Center take the needed funds from his own pocket and help out without a word being said.
That intrigued me enough to do some research and I am blown away with how much Rent-A-Center gives back. Besides being a sponsor for the HomeAid Fairway to Haven Golf tournament, they also are very active with Feeding America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, have their own Make a Difference Scholarship program and much more. Check out their RACommunity page for details on how they get involved on a national level and in the neighborhoods they are a part of.
Being a good neighbor is about doing the right thing no matter how large or small (or random) that act of kindness might be. If we all just did one small thing for a neighbor or a complete stranger every day, think about what a different place the world could be!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Falling in Love

Using color is one of the least expensive, most terrifying but also most rewarding ways to change a room. When I'm designing a new model home most builders will encourage me to use memorable colors, but when they first paint the room and see it without any accessories or furniture I often get a call wondering if they have the right information.
These rooms are a perfect example. You can imagine the call the builder got from the superintendent the first time they saw these! This is a model for Canoa Homes in Tucson, and they trusted me enough to wait and see what happened. This is also a great example of designing for your buyer, not yourself - we were targeting families with school age children. A Lifestylist targets in on what the buyer is really looking for, even when they may not realize it themselves.Once we had a few families go through the home we found that almost every female from 2 - 50 wanted that room with those paint colors. It was something the buyer might not have been brave enough to try on their own, but when they saw it completed they loved it.
This is also a great example of Partnership Merchandising. The Home Idea Factory had a great relationship with Home Interiors and Gifts - a direct sell company that we had done styling and product development with. Many of the accessories and "wallies" - the decals on the bath wall - we theirs and we identified them as such so buyers could reproduce what they saw in the room at a price they could afford. The bedding was from Bombay and the furniture from Ashley so all could be bought at local stores or from a Home Interiors and Gifts consultant.
Let your child have a say in what they want their room to look like. It might not be a color you would chose or a style you would like but by letting them be a part of the decorating decision they'll take ownership of their decisions and be even more proud of what they accomplished.
Happy Valentines Day from all of us at The Home Idea Factory!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Night Lights

What a crazy week in Dallas! This town is all about the NBA All Star Game which is this weekend, but mother nature decided to steal the show and dusted us with over a ft. of snow!

The is the largest amount we ever had so we decided to take advantage of it and declared a snow day. The Lifestylists were all out playing in it trying to outdo each other with snowball fights and snow sculptures and when it got dark out I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime to get some really unique shots of the Home Idea Factory. Fortunately I share the factory with the very talented Lisa Stewart of L.a.S. Photography and we headed out to see what we could find. After she used her magic and skills I love what we ended up with, and to me these really capture the personality of what The Home Idea Factory is all about - Your Life. Your Style. Your Way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Customers For Life

One of the benefits of living in Dallas is being able to see some great entrepreneurs at work and experience what has made them successful first hand. Being able to ride horses side by side with Norman Brinker and to be able to learn from him was a gift I'll never forget. After attending the IBS show I started thinking about what clients are looking for in their customer experience.
Someone who understands what customers want is Carl Sewell of the Sewell Auto Dealers. Even though he isn't in the housing business his sound philosophy applies to any business model. To learn more about what has made him so successful, pick up a copy of his book, "Customers for Life". Even if you aren't looking for a car, you need to experience one of their dealerships if you get a chance. Every location is spotless - from the grass by the curb to repair bays - there's not a candy wrapper or empty water bottle in sight. There are no cases of "it's not my job" - everyone pitches in. Sewell not only takes great care of his customers to earn their loyalty, he is that way to his team members as well, and it shows. These are people who love their jobs and share their enthusiasm with everyone around them.
It's also about being a resource and helping, not selling the client. No one wants to feel like they are being forced into making a decision or buying something, but if you are the person who can give them the resources to make their own educated decisions you will definitely earn a Customer For Life.
The Home Idea Factory and Lifestylist Design are true believers in this philosophy - we have one client that we have been working with for almost 20 years! We believe in only working with a few clients so we can give them our undivided attention and become a vital part of their team. We also don't believe on settling for "doing things the way they have always been done." As a Lifestylist understanding the buyer's lifestyle is an important part of what we do, and when you walk our model homes or see our decors and designs you can see the difference. We are one of the few design companies that works with site builders as well as modular, prefab and manufactured housing builders giving us a unique insight into the housing industry.
Are you ready to make a change to increase sales and profits? We would like to partner with one more builder or manufacturer that we can share our successes with. If you think your company might be a good fit, please contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com We'll even bring you your own copy of Customers For Life to help you learn more about this great concept.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dallas Model Homes

Lifestylist Design has worked on model homes from coast to coast, but one of the things we pride ourselves on is that we are very selective about which clients we work with. Customer service is a priority and I'll only take on clients that I can give my full attention to and become a part of their team. Because of this philosophy I couldn't be more proud of every model home that we do.
We have finally found the perfect client in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and our partnership has begun! This client thinks "out of the box" and is really listening to what the buyer wants. We all say we do, but this builder is actually doing it. They have been waiting in the wings doing their research and homework, but finally the first four homes are under construction! Our new model will be opening up in the Spring at a grand opening that's going to be a lot of fun. That's all I can tell you right now, but if you want more information feel free to contact us directly at: answers@lifestylist.com
Are you looking for a lifestylist design approach that creates models that truly sell homes? We'd love to talk to you and explain the Lifestylist difference.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Savor Dallas is Almost Here!

In less than a month one of my favorite events will be in Dallas again - the 6th annual Savor Dallas celebration of wine, food, spirits and the arts. I have gone every year, and it's something I'm always looking forward to. Savor Dallas is a unique opportunity where you get to meet the chefs and wine makers one on one and really hear what makes what they do so special.
This year as part of the marketing services that Lifestylist Design offers we can help you have this experience tailored to suit the needs of you and your guests. Our concierge service can help create an experience that you'll never forget. Be sure to put March 5th and 6th on your calendar and join us!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Window Dressings

Window treatments are something that is needed in every home, but few people know where to find the right treatments for their needs at a cost that they can afford.
Great news! This is a design area that had become much more affordable in the past few years, and now you can get beautiful treatments without breaking the bank. One of my favorite sources is Country Curtains. The name is deceiving - much of what they offer really isn't "country" but styles that would fit in any decor. their fabrics and colors are also very on-trend and I've used them in many of the model home interiors that I've done recently as well as the Homearama House for @home Builders in Rochester, NY. They have stores around the country, but you can also purchase them on their website or from their catalog. One of the services that help take the guesswork out of finding the right treatment for your home is that they will send you swatches of the actual fabrics at no charge, and they also offer suggestions of Sherwin Williams paints that coordinate.
JC Penney is another favorite, and you can't beat the quality or price. A great service is that they use different color pallettes every season and you can find coordinating linens, towels, bath accessories - you name it - that making your decorating decisions stress free.
Whatever your price range or style is, now you can do it your self from the comfort of your new home.

Jr Lifestylists Cook up a Party!

Few things are as satisfying to me as helping kids explore the culinary world. You can see how excited they get when they learn they can make and bake things themselves and the more they learn, the more they want to try. I've seen it time and time again where a child will eat things that they made themselves but you couldn't force them to try it if someone else was the chef.
I just got back from spending a wonderful weekend with my grandchildren and I was able to help Jenna plan her 8th birthday. She had very specific ideas about what she wanted to do, and my job was to execute all of the things that she imagined. Her brother decided he wanted chocolate instead of a white cake, so we compromised  and had chocolate cupcakes and a white birthday cake. When I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients I realized it would be much less expensive and just as easy to make the cakes from scratch. If you are looking for a recipe for a specific ingredient, check out the package or their website -the company is only going to share recipes that put their products in the best light so this is a great place to start. I didn't have recipes with me so I checked out the back of the Hershey's Cocoa box and there were recipes for chocolate frosting and cakes. Their grandpa has always made a wonderful butter cream icing that is a family favorite so we went with that for the birthday cake. Jenna will also never let me live down the fact that I misspelled "birthday" - that's a story she'll be telling for a long time!
The kids were so proud of what they were able to accomplish, and the chocolate recipes were fantastic - I think some of the best I've ever had. Jenna wanted a pet themed party, and that's what she got.
Don't underestimate the skills and interest of your culinary kids. Even when things don't turn out exactly as planned you can still create memories and recipes that can last a lifetime.