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Specifying your ‘Spec’ Home

Design Services Plan

One of my goals when establishing myself as an Interior Designer in New Plymouth 2 years ago was to bring individual interior style to ‘Spec’ homes.

My philosophy is “a house is a house, but not every house is a home.” It breaks my heart to see new home build after new home build all look the same. Often from the outside, but most often on the inside as well. “How does this happen?” I asked myself. There is no need to use the same wall colour, kitchen design and finishes every time. Where is the point-of-difference when it comes to selling a house in a new subdivision that consists mainly of ‘land & House’ packages?

"a house is a house, but not every house is a home"

xHouse styled by Belhams
House styled by Belhams

Well, I found out how it happens just this past weekend.

One of my clients retained me to help them with their interiors quite some time before they chose a building company. They have a particular style they want their home to have on both the inside and the interior decor. We have been working together for a few months and they are very happy with the results. My clients are building a modified ‘spec’ home on their own piece of land. They chose their company carefully and have found the process to be a pleasure thus far.

I was asked to attend their free 3 hours with the building company’s Colour Consultant to make sure their designs made it in to the finished product – we did after all spend time pulling ideas together. What none of us knew going in to the session was that by the end of that 3 hours (and in many cases you only get 2 hours) they had to agree and sign off their choices of finishes. This included exterior colours, window frame colours, carpet, interior colours, doors, door handles, tap ware, whether they wanted paint or wallpaper and if so on which walls? We all understood this is a fundamental part of the building process that must be completed, but once they signed off on their choices that day nothing could be changed.

The Process

The Colour Consultant was very experienced. She knew what ranges were in their budget and put forward those options. The decisions needed to be rapid-fire to ensure we got through everything in the allotted 3 hours. However, if my clients had not already been working with me and knew what they wanted, their house would be finished with what the Colour Consultant wanted to give them. My clients were a little ‘shell shocked’ when they walked out. They realised that if they hadn’t taken me along, they wouldn’t have ended up with the style they wanted. Their house would have had a perfectly nice style, but not their style. On completion of their build, they would have had a lovely house……….not their dream home.

Understandably, in a situation where the client hasn’t thought about what they want their home to look and feel like before their meeting, they will receive guidance from the Colour Consultant. More than likely they will be guided towards ‘tried and tested’ colour and finish combinations that have worked in other houses before theirs………and that is how it happens!

So be warned – if you have no particular interest in the finishes of your new build, your end result will look the same as someone else’s home who has gone through your building company before you.

interior deisgn New Plymouth
General Mood Board

What Should You Do?

If you do have a style you like (or even one you don’t like and want to avoid) then you should contact an interior designer before you attend the free consultation. An interior designer will work with you to determine your preferred style and show you how to implement it through out your home. You will receive a document that has images of your style and suggested paint colours and furniture options you can implement as budget allows.

For a small percentage of the total cost of your build (ranging from $500 – $1500 depending on the size of your house,) you will be surrounded by unique interiors in your ‘spec’ home. This will ensure a point-of-difference from all the other homes built by your building company. It also means you will go in to your session with your building company’s Colour Consultant very prepared and ready to sign off on your choices at the end of 3 hours!