SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: What’s new in home décor and design

Solutions for every season
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: What’s new in home décor and design
Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens

GOOD DESIGN IS PARTICIPATORY

Laurie Lodholz founded her interior design business 30 years ago with the goal of guiding her clients through the construction project from start to finish. “We are an active participant in our clients’ building teams,” says Lodholz. “Over the years, we’ve developed a wonderful working relationship with so many excellent builders, architects and designers. When a client comes to us with a plan, we have the experience and relationships to help them with their choices every step of the way.”

Homeowners can have difficulty with simply knowing where to begin, and that’s what Lodholz’s Laurie Driscoll Interiors is positioned to do. Lodholz will walk clients through options in fabrics, materials and finishes. She prefers to meet homeowners in their existing spaces to gauge what they like or don’t like about their surroundings. Trends are helpful–today accent walls are out in favor of warmer, mellower, blended palettes, and Lodholz is also seeing a rise in the use of texture to add warmth, from exterior masonry to interior wood flooring or wood-looking products–but, she says, it’s more important to pinpoint each client’s unique tastes and personal style.

“I truly do believe it’s an honor to help people create their piece of heaven on earth, which is their home. We always have parameters, such as budget and space, but designers realize you come to us because you don’t have the answers,” she says. “Good interior design is participatory, and the client is an active part of that process.”SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: What’s new in home décor and design

DO YOUR RESEARCH

In addition to a surge in three- and four-season “outdoor” rooms (especially popular with Wisconsinites who wish to extend the warm season as long as possible), Midwest Homes Inc. President Brian McKee says technology is where he sees the most evolution.

“I don’t think people realize how in-depth they can go with it if they want,” says McKee. “They can control almost everything from a smartphone or tablet now: check security systems, close the garage door, lock the front door, control temperature, lighting, sound, even appliances. They make refrigerators now that can create and email a grocery list
to you.”

But technology can be overwhelming–people want solutions, not confusion–so working with clients to determine what’s best for them is key. Communicating clearly up front about not only what’s available, but what it will truly cost, is crucial to the process. Midwest Homes staff accompanies clients to pick out selections, and they provide an online portal for clients to log on and track the schedule or view vendor proposals. McKee stresses the importance of researching builders; Midwest Homes hires an independent third party to conduct three surveys for each client–before, during and after the build–so that his team can continually improve practices.

“We all know bad word travels a lot faster than good,” says McKee. “So we’ve built that into our philosophy and core values. Designing and building lasting memories is our slogan, and we’ve been doing that for 49 years.”

BUDGET BY ZONE

Rather than budgeting whole-house updates for individual items such as cabinets, siding, flooring or lighting, which seems to lead inevitably to getting squeezed by one or another cost overruns, Dream House Dream Kitchens Designer Jenna Mattison suggests thinking of a home in zones. “For instance, the kitchen is a main focus room in the house. It functions also as an entertaining space, an office, a children’s homework and play area. Allocate a little more of the budget to rooms such as this,” she says. “Spend a little more on high quality cabinetry and good flooring material that will withstand heavy usage, on beautiful lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware to make the space beautiful and impactful.”

New construction clients can take advantage of the company Buyer’s Club Program, which provides a discount program for those who purchase most of their cabinetry through Dream House Dream Kitchens. The Dream Team also provides cutting-edge computer renderings that help clients visualize before they invest. They walk homeowners through things that may not have occurred to them, such as storage needs, layout and function, appliance requirements, and the unique roles of kids and pets.

“We want the money that is being spent to be spent right, and in the right areas,” says Mattison. “The best part about building a new house is that it is truly an individualized process, with each client making a personalized statement with their home design.”

TRUST YOUR TEAM

As a family-owned, relationship-based company, Coyle Carpet has a front-row seat to new home construction and design trends, and the builders and subcontractors who know how to put those trends in place.

“We are seeing a huge increase in new home construction,” says flooring designer Crystal Welsh. “The builder you choose has developed a relationship with each subcontractor, and the subs get to know each other, too. Putting your trust in your designer and industry people is so beneficial. We go the extra mile to make sure our subcontractors are happy and the project is done right–and in a timely fashion.”

Welsh says engineered hardwood is replacing much of the three-quarter solid wood once used. “For our Wisconsin climate, it will provide you with a lot longer life and sustainability in your home,” she notes. Luxury vinyl with a realistic wood-grain or tile look is increasingly popular for its durability without sacrificing style. Even laminate has come a long way, and Welsh says it’s tougher than luxury vinyl and hardwood. For those who still prefer wood, installing add-ons such as Aprilaire humidifying will create a climate-controlled environment and extend life to your floors–and trim, cabinets and other investments. “We’re also seeing a lot of gray tones paired with painted tile looks, weathered hardwood designs, and short, low-pile carpet to keep up with busy families and daily life,” Welsh says.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

For Michael “Freddy” Frederick, owner of JM Frederick Custom Homes, the best way he can deliver superior service and meet his clients’ expectations is to encourage them to research options. Potential clients should speak with a given builder’s existing customers, for instance. And they might want to think outside the box to challenge their own preconceived notions. For example, several current projects, including a 2018 Parade of Homes build, are located at Bergamont in Oregon, where his business is based.

“People think that Oregon is too far away from Madison, but Bergamont is 18 minutes to Park Street, which is closer than Verona,” says Frederick. “It’s a great community, even if you don’t like golf–although that is a plus.”

Having worked in new home construction for 30 years, Frederick says he’s seen it all. He started as an apprentice carpenter in 1987 and worked his way up to journeyman and foreman before starting his own company in 2009. Now that his name has been on his business sign, he enjoys delivering the best customer service possible.

“I don’t have employees, just great sub-contractors. I am the owner, secretary, accountant, clean-up guy, and I am on site every day personally,” he says. “When you call, I answer the phone. With me, there’s no construction manager or expeditor to wait on who can’t answer your question because he needs to check with his boss. You’ve got me. And I love working with people to help them build their dreams.”