When it comes to making a house feel like a home, it’s all in the details. The little touches that express your unique individuality can make two homes with the same floor plan feel wonderfully, beautifully different.
In Shea communities, you can enjoy a dinner party at any neighbor’s home without that awkward sense of déjà vu, thanks partly to the unusually large amount of choices available in the Design Studio. Located in Highlands Ranch (and with a smaller studio in Erie), the Shea Design Studio is where buyers meet with designers to create their home’s unique style.
Shea’s studio is more comprehensive than many other builders’, notes Senior Interior Designer Melanie Best. For instance, other builders might offer just one national brand of tile, granite, and natural stone. But Shea offers selections from Dal, Arizona, Emzer, Capco, and Glenrock.
“We like to give our clients lots of choices,” Melanie says. And that’s what she and Shea’s other six highly experienced and educated designers love about their work. “With so many kinds of materials, we can get very creative.”
Which leads to this question: Can the design process feel a little overwhelming? “Even if it doesn’t start out fun, it ends up fun,” Melanie laughs. “We really try to minimize that overwhelmed feeling. We all have design backgrounds, so people don’t have to go through every single tile—unless they want to. Once we nail down the buyer’s style, we can just bring out things we think they will like.”
Figuring out your style is just part of the process, which breaks down like this:
Before you sign a contract, you can catch a one-hour group meeting at the Design Studio to see what selections come standard and what upgrades you might decide to include. A designer will answer questions and give you a tour of each section of the studio, including four completely decorated kitchens; tile and carpet; wood for flooring and trim; natural stone; cabinetry; and a granite room.
This two-hour meeting will be one-on-one with your designer. First up: getting clear on your tastes. Through a series of questions and looking at samples together, you’ll clarify your style. (Feel free to bring ideas, though. See the tips below.) You’ll start with cabinetry to set the tone of the house, then move onto kitchen and floor choices. A spreadsheet of your picks will help you keep track of your budget.
At this two-hour meeting with your designer, you’ll move on to choices for your master bathroom, laundry room, and secondary bathrooms. Samples are portable, so each time you meet, you’ll see all your choices assembled on one of the kitchen islands like an inspiration board. This way, you can make sure you’re still loving everything you’ve chosen and see how it’s working together.
While some owners will complete the process in one or two sessions, others may take five to seven. No pressure—the pace is really up to you.
Once you’re comfortable with the plan, you’ll sign off on final selections. But do consider the Design Studio as a lasting resource. Long after closing, many homeowners email the staff for design insights—which Shea designers don’t mind at all—and provide feedback about how much they love their new homes.
“When it’s a year later and we hear how happy people are in their home, with the design and function of it, that’s a great feeling,” says Melanie. “It’s where you come home every day, so it’s important to have everything just the way you like it.”
Melanie’s tips for prospective buyers:
While Shea’s staff of designers is experienced enough to sleuth out anyone’s style, you can speed up the process by doing a little homework before your first Design Studio appointment. Spend some time on design websites like Houzz.com where, perusing their 5+ million photos, you can create idea folders of your own. Buy some home decorating magazines and dog-ear your favorite photos of kitchens and master baths. Just defining those two areas can help drive the design of the entire house. And finally, watch some HGTV. Melanie says just spending an hour a day thinking about design can make a huge difference in choosing something you’ll love for the long run.
Save the date—July 19th—for the Shea Design Studio annual fundraiser for the Inner Circle Foundation, which supports those diagnosed with rare-aggressive cancers and their caregivers. This silent auction offers hourly giveaways and the chance to take home items like tile, area rugs, signed footballs, spa gift certificates, and more.