We’ve all done it. Pretended that we’re interested in a new development and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon mooching around the show house, stealing ideas and wishing our own pads could emulate the wow factor so effortlessly.
But how do the developers do it, is it expensive to achieve and what can we learn from their interior designers to create very our own show home, and enjoy being the envy of our guests?
Our art loving MD and developer Dominic Jude uses texture, colour, lighting and creativity to create moods and atmosphere at all his properties, not scrimping on his rental developments.
“I’ve worked with the same interior designer (Irene Gunter, Gunter & Co) for several years and we have never got the same look twice.
Irene knows I trust her judgement so she’ll push me to try new things and avoid mundane, which is great as I would hate for my developments to be described as beige or boring! I want people to walk into my home or rental properties and say ‘wow”.
Here are Dominic’s top tips for showing your home in its best light.
Plan your storage
It’s obvious but a show home clearly doesn’t have every item you’d find in a real home. Nevertheless, they are a great indication of how you could live, if only you declutter. Find beautiful antique furniture to store things, or to display the things you love. If you no longer love an item and it isn’t useful donate it to charity, your home will thank you.
Try and squeeze an office space in
We put a desk into all of our developments, even our executive suites. A narrow desk or console open shelving makes an instant workspace, just add a stylish chair.
Symmetry is soothing. We achieve it by balancing colours and trying not to overcomplicate the design. Choose a complementary colour palette and group accessories of similar colour or style rather than dot them all around the room. You want your eyes to enjoy something at every angle of the room.
“Detail is important,” Gunter adds. “As you unconsciously interrogate a room, you’ll take in the delicate finial on a curtain pole, the craftsmanship of a piece of skirting, the soft light enhancing a piece of art. Get these elements right and your eye will never tire of the space.”
Layer materials, cushions and throws to create texture and interest. Make sure they have a common theme or colour that brings them together.
Choose the best quality that you can afford for items that will be around for a long time. Find a way of using a small amount of interesting, expensive or bespoke fabric such as on a light shade or cushion.
Colour is hugely important in your home. It can lift you up and energise you or subdue and relax you depending on where and how it is used. I completely understand it can be terrifying for someone who has only ever used a palate of magnolia and white. Irene and I always create a mood board for each room, looking at what natural light is in there and what materials will be used.
It is all too easy to think that everything in your show home has to be pristine and brand new, but a mixture of old and new items create a home that feels more comfortable.
At our Kings Court Development I used some amazing film posters I had found several years ago on holiday in New York. We framed them and now they, coupled with some home-made artwork and graffiti commissioned from an artist adorn the communal areas of the apartment block in Warrington, Cheshire.
There’s no getting away from the fact that we need to be more responsible with our resources, and there’s so much that can be done to reinvent quality items.
Reupholstering, painting or completely repurposing an item could be the way to save a family heirloom, make it fit with your stylish home, save landfill and create something unique. Whatever you do though, make sure you get a high-quality finish, so if you need an expert call one in.
James Peacock Properties are a property management and investment company based in Stockton Heath, Warrington. They can be contacted on 01925 243366.