The ICI Homes Design Center is where customers who are building homes from scratch, go to select all of their interior finishes and materials. It’s a comfy, well-lit studio environment filled with samples of all sorts and big tables to mix and match those samples for decision-making purposes.
After all, you’re putting together the life-size puzzle of your new home’s interior.
There are helpful ways to approach this process, and not so helpful ways. We’ll tell you what not to do with your design sessions in hopes it’ll spur you toward the other side. And, hopefully provoke a chuckle, too.
Not give design any forethought
This shouldn’t be your reaction when the appointment reminders pop up on your phone:
“What! I have to do that today?”
Yes, you do — twice. Once before you sign your contract and again afterward. The first visit is a preview of all the items you must select. In a best-case scenario, you’ll make your initial choices so that your sales agent can include those materials’ pricing in your contract. The second trip is to finalize and perhaps change those selections.
Once they’re signed, sealed and delivered at the second appointment, those decisions are final. They must be, to meet your home’s construction timeline. So why wouldn’t you give your paint colors, your flooring and your cabinets’ and countertops’ style some thought?
Janna Pettegrew, one of ICI Homes’ design center consultants, advises doing some research ahead of time. If you don’t?
“You’re going to love everything or hate everything,” she says of the hurry-up-and-get-out-of-there mindset that typically ensues.
Or, what should take a few hours stretches into nine. Then 10…
Not arrive prepared
Your pre-contract design preview appointment is meant to be introductory — usually 45 minutes.
You’ll be asked to block off a day for your post-contract design session, which is more in-depth. That second appointment might not require a full eight hours, but if it does, you and your consultant know you’ll have the time to complete your work.
If you don’t make arrangements for babysitters, pet sitters, out-of-office email responses and takeout pizza for dinner, you’ll be excusing yourself multiple times to go handle the latest domestic or work crisis.
Treat your design appointments with the same import you’d give a doctor or dental appointment. The decor and functionality of your new home is on the line. Give it the respect it deserves.
Not be participatory
Because we’re human, Pettegrew and her co-workers have guided all sorts of personalities through design sessions. Some customers know exactly what they want. Others are nervous or hesitant, and need every bit of their consultant’s guidance.
Then there are the rubber-stampers. The customers who’d rather their consultant — or spouse or partner — do all the heavy design lifting.
Pettegrew cites the husband who’s just not into it, and the wife who wishes he was.
“‘Whatever you want, honey,’” Pettegrew says of a phrase she’s heard more than once. “They think they’re being nice about it, but really, she’s getting frustrated because she wants an opinion.”
Here’s another caution: the only opinion that matters is yours. Pettegrew respectfully insists that customers choose their own interior design components.
“It’s not my job to tell you I like it or love it,” Pettegrew says of these folks. “I’m here to tell you it will look good and work well.”
And it will — trust us — if you heed our cautionary what-not-to-do advice!
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