GUIDING THE DESIGN ST. GEORGE’S YARD (THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2012)
(By Sheila Brady) – Sophisticated new design centres aim to make sense of all the options.
Builders and designers are doing their best to simplify and centralize the often complex and sometimes frustrating world of designing and decorating. Both large builders and smaller custom ones are opening specialized design centres and hiring staff to help buyers determine how and where to readjust walls, choose wall colours and decide between hardwood, tile and carpeting. Slowly disappearing are the days when buyers would hunker down with a sales agent in a bedroom of the model home of the month, choosing between a light beige or darker beige tile. The emerging design centres complement splashy centres already offered up by kitchen heavyweights such as Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, Laurysen Kitchens and Astro Design Centre’s multi-million-dollar showroom on an industrial street on the city’s west side. And the new design centres are a variation on elaborate and highly successful ones already offered by Minto and Richcraft. Last fall, Claridge opened a slick 3,000-square-foot design centre in LeBreton Flats to help buyers of townhomes and singles, while Uniform Urban Developments opened a smaller, sophisticated, 1,200-square-foot design centre at its headquarters on Centrepointe Drive and Amsted Construction took the wraps off the first in a series of Living Rooms, this one off Carling Avenue, where its designers can sit down with clients who want to either renovate or build a home from scratch. “It’s like night and day,” says Shawn Malhotra, the driving force behind the 12 months of planning to open the $500,000 Claridge Homes Design Centre. “Now there is a three-step process, setting down times and planning for structural and architectural changes, followed by the design process. “There has already been a significant upsurge in buyers spending more money on upgrades,” he says. “It’s no secret that the whole point is to make more money.” Malhotra says there are plans to expand the design centre to cater to condo buyers, a substantial part of the builder’s business.
Download PDF to read more of the article…