Carole Eichen: Innovator of Model Home Merchandising

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Just months before she died March 31, interior design and merchandising legend Carole Eichen talked about a major shift coming in the evolution of model home decor.

April 01, 2003

 

Just months before she died March 31, interior design and merchandising legend Carole Eichen talked about a major shift coming in the evolution of model home decor. And when Eichen spoke of evolutionary shifts, she did so with authority.

Beginning in 1966, Eichen built an influential Newport Beach, Calif., interior design firm that transformed the practice of building and presenting model homes from an extravagant exercise in "decorated fantasy" into the most effective, practical way for builders to position and market new homes and communities.

Builders today take for granted that interior designs of model homes are studiously targeted to specific demographic, psychographic and lifestyle groups. They also take for granted a time-honored practice of gathering a multidisciplinary sales and marketing team - from landscape designers to architects to public relations professionals - to formulate a coordinated, synergistic impact for a new home community. More than any other individual, Eichen was responsible for these innovations.

During a 35-year career she earned nearly every professional designation and won just about every sales and marketing award the industry offers. But one award was special. In 1993 the California Building Industry Foundation inducted her into the California Building Industry Hall of Fame. She was the first non-builder and second woman to be so honored.

An authoritative columnist on interior design for this magazine, Eichen was an innovator whose legacy is lasting.

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