How to Mess Up Your Design Sessions

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Your ICI Homes Design Center sessions, to select the interior finishes and materials for your new custom Florida home, should be an anticipatory situation. It’s one of the final steps before construction begins, and it offers the opportunity to thoroughly personalize your new interiors.

We can’t build your home without knowing which paint colors, countertops, cabinetry, flooring and decorative hardware you want. So your design sessions are meant to be fun and illuminating, along with functional.


Sometimes those sessions are anything except enjoyable, both for our customers and the ICI Homes design pros who assist them. The good news is that most aggravating circumstances are very avoidable thanks to a few friendly FYIs and advance planning.

Follow along as we explain, tongue-in-cheek, how to mess up your design sessions.

Be a nervous wreck

“A lot of people come in here stressed out,” says Janna Pettegrew, an ICI Homes design consultant in our design center.

So, don’t.

There’s no reason to fear either of your two design sessions. The first, pre-contract, is a short preview where you’ll make preliminary choices to ballpark those costs for your sales agent(s). The second, post-contract, is an all-day appointment where you’ll go over everything design-wise about your new home, in detail. Plus, you’ll finalize your choices.

Neither are pop quizzes. And your design consultant is there to explain each step.

“We want to provide great customers service to everyone,” Petteway says. “We don’t want people to feel rushed or pressured.”

Drag the entire family with you…

Many of us are parents, and we know it can be a hassle to arrange childcare and soccer-practice pickups so that Mom and Dad can concentrate on an all-day appointment.

How to mess up your design center sessionsTrust us on this. Better yet, trust Pettegrew, who once worked with a couple attempting to gut out a design session despite their unhappy, and rather loud, child.

“You’re stressed out, trying to take care of them and their needs, as you should,” Pettegrew says. “But it just ruins the experience. We ended up rescheduling.”

Another reason is safety. Kids are naturally curious, and as comfortable and inviting as the design center is, it contains stacks of heavy flooring samples, display shelving that can be yanked down, and other items that could invite accidents.

“It’s a safety thing, for one, but just for the parents, it’ll make their experience better,” Pettegrew says. “And you know your kids, too. You know what your kids are capable of.”

As for pets, well, we shouldn’t have to mention them, but Pettegrew will.

“Don’t bring pets,” she says. “Think about where you’re going to be for a while.”

…And allow everyone to participate in decision-making

Although your entire family will inhabit your new home, the design sessions don’t require everyone’s input. In fact, the fewer opinions the better.

If you don’t limit attendance to your household’s decision-makers, then four, five, six people — keep counting if you have a large family — will be in the studio spouting their likes and dislikes.

“First of all, it’s going to take a lot longer,” Pettegrew says. “Every decision that would take 10 minutes, now it’s going to take 30. It’s not going to make the session good for you if you have that many opinions.”

Her suggestion? Let children design their bedrooms once they’ve moved in. If you don’t?

“You’re changing things in all the different areas, so that now the house doesn’t flow,” Pettegrew says. “You’re doing yourself a disservice. What’s better is to make these decisions and get opinions later.”

Ready for your custom Florida home? Talk to ICI Homes here.