When it comes to show home design there are two questions which I am regularly asked; “What happens to the furniture when the show home is closed?” and “Do you decide the colours or are they given to you?” Well the answer to the first question is that most developers re-use the furniture for other developments, often selling the soft furnishings with the show home. As far as the choice of colour palate is concerned, whilst my client will have to approve it, the ideas come from me.
Take Mill Brook Place for instance, a well designed Barratts development in East Grinstead. I will consider the target market and this will to a certain extent determine the look and feel, but I will also draw on the history of the area and where possible weave this into the design. Mill Brook Place has been built on the site of the old Dunnings Mill so without being too clichéd about it I wanted the scheme to relate to this. The scheme we used was turquoise and soft greys and in the sales office the incorporation of a Dreamwall provided a visual reference to the stone of the wall – a lot more subtle than millstone accessories!
Here are some of the mood boards I presented to Barratts:
The top left scheme is the guest bedroom, kitchen diner top right with a stunning Thibaut silver/cork wallpaper – yes, cork can look fabulous! Bottom left is the master bedroom scheme with the sitting room on the right. I had decided that bedroom 3 should be dressed as a teenage boy’s bedroom so commissioned local Lindfield artist Leesa Le May to paint a mural on the far wall.
Once all the furniture and finishes are agreed and signed off by the client we embark on the ordering. We use a number of trade suppliers but there are still some items where, accessories are concerned, I like to get in my car and go and shop for. Shopping with an inbuilt filter is something I have got pretty good at – scanning a shop with a certain colour and style in my head, editing out what I don’t want. It makes the process pretty efficient and is something that I extend to clothes shopping which pleases my husband no end as I don’t hang about! I can get rather obsessed with my chosen accent colour though and I start to notice it everywhere. On a trip to Lewes to see friend and fellow designer Ana Aguilar-Corney and at the time fully immersed in Mill Brook Place, Ana got roped into a shopping-for-food-by-colour trip. Ana witnessed firsthand my child like excitement at finding crisps IN TURQUOISE PACKAGING. I could have kissed the packaging designers at Waitrose too when I found that all their stir fry ingredients worked perfectly with the kitchen scheme. Small things ;)
So the finished show home?