9 tricks for creating a super model

Super models and award-winning model homes have more in common than you might think. Here are nine essential elements from the world of high fashion that will take your model homes to the next level.

By Lita Dirks, Lita Dirks & Co. | August 7, 2011
model home, award-winning model homes

It’s said that the life of the super model is short-lived. Ever wonder why? It seems fairly obvious. After all, how long can their beautiful features stay alluring, fresh, and vibrant? Yet, some of the greats — Lauren Hutton, Cheryl Tiegs, and Christie Brinkley, to name just a few — are anything but obsolete. These super models continue to captivate us and have been doing so for decades. What is the secret to their success? Believe it or not, if you look closely, you’ll see that some of the world’s most enduring super models have a few things in common with successful model homes.

Consider these “shared” attributes when planning your next model homes and you too will create super models.

1. Great bone structure — Most of us would agree that super models typically have high cheekbones, beautiful facial symmetry, and long, lean bodies. Likewise, super model homes are built with quality architecture that is well-proportioned and planned, and designed to scale with a balance of textures. Thoughtful interior and exterior details are vital for creating excitement and interest. Remember, your sales advantage starts on the outside with positive first impressions. But the deal gets sealed on the in- side with a model that demonstrates the experience of living in a home the buyer has always dreamed of.

Right-sized spaces to play, sleep, eat, and entertain give home buyers a true sense of how it will feel to live in the home. Outdoor areas like decks, patios, and balconies offer an inviting extension to indoor living. By using similar style and color inside and out, you’ll create a dramatic, fully integrated home.

2. Dress with signature style — Every super model needs an engaging personality and individual style. Every model home also needs personality and style, but more precisely, the right personality to match the potential buyer. You must know who your prospective home buyers are so you can speak to their lifestyle expectations and aspirations. Furnishings should express their style while meeting practical and functional needs. Remember, the goal is to show off a room properly — not just fill it with furniture.

Carefully select art and accessories that define each space, reinforce the theme, and add to the lifestyle experience. Always include memory points in your model, whether they be a fabulous architectural feature, striking granite countertop, or a kid’s room playfully themed. Whether traditional, transitional, contemporary, or eclectic, the look and feel should be warm, welcoming, and comfortable. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you hear, “I could move right in!"

3. Dare to be different — Super models are able to step out and embrace the limelight with poise and self-assurance when showing new and fresh ideas in fashion. New and fresh ideas are also critical for super model homes. What worked in the past will not equal success in the future for super models any more than it will for your model home. Now more than ever, home buyers value authentic individuality and want unique spaces they can personalize. So don’t define every space according to its traditional use. Merchandising with multi-function in mind will allow the buyer to determine the use of a room. Offer the option for upgrades so they can design a home that reflects their unique personality and vision.

4. Attitude is everything — Super models exude confidence and attitude. While they may sometimes portray an air of superiority, other times they must be personally engaging and warmly connected. Creating a strong rapport with their audience is key to selling their product. Model homes must also be relatable to your prospective home buyers. However, if they look just like the model down the road or, even worse, the house the buyer’s are trying to sell, they wouldn’t be super models. To be a super model, your home must stand apart from the competition and demonstrate superior designs displayed with confidence.

Distinguish your homes with exceptional craftsmanship, details and textures, custom bookcases and trims, and porches and sitting rooms. Purchasing a new home is as much an emotional experience as a financial one. Give your buyers the quality they demand and the experience they deserve.

5. Artful use of color — Make-up that flatters skin tone, colorful garments that accentuate hair color, and sparkling accessories that bring out the color of the super model’s eyes keep us turning the page to see more. Artful use of color in your model home can also entice home buyers to come back again and again because it sets the tone and mood of the home, contributing to an overall positive experience.
Color should be used to highlight architectural details such as a cove ceiling, a cozy corner, or a series of uniquely positioned windows. It can also enhance cabinets and tiles by contrasting or complimenting their colors. Color should accent a room, not just dominate a space.

Neutrals often make the most sense because they are timeless and can evoke a sense of relaxed comfort. Light and bright colors create a fresh, spacious feel. With white as a base, incorporating accent colors in just the perfect spot will add interest, dimension, and leave your prospects with a more lasting, memorable impression.

6. Windows to the soul — It is said that the eyes are the windows to our soul. Certainly this doesn’t apply only to super models. But their expert make-up artists beautifully and artfully showcase the windows to their soul. A super model home will also showcase its windows. Windows are one of the biggest and most-impactful selling points in the home, so make the most of them. Don’t cover them up with heavy, dark drapery — let them shine and allow natural light and uplifting energy to fill the home with warmth.

Drapery that is simple and light won’t interfere with the view or feeling of openness. Instead, it creates an expansion of space and capitalizes on the surrounding landscape. While adding softness and warmth, drapery can also visually lengthen windows for greater perceived value. For example, a shade hung high on a window behind tall side panels can extend the perceived height of the window. Likewise, placing a valance high on top of tall side panels will have the same effect. Thoughtful application of window treatments will enhance the eyes of the home and let your model’s soul shine bright.

7. Let your light shine — Even the most beautiful super models need the right lighting to look their best. We all have flaws and have seen how good lighting works miracles to highlight our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. Lighting is also important as a design element in super model homes. To create a warm and inviting experience, it should come from a variety of well-placed sources. Supplement your standard light fixtures with recessed lighting and strategically placed lamps so that, regardless of the time of day or season, your home will maintain a balanced atmosphere and glow.

Include decorative fixtures to differentiate and give your model personality. A romantic chandelier in the master bedroom or an unexpected pendant in the powder room, as opposed to the typical vanity fixture, will inspire delightful memory points. Accent and directional light sources, such as a wall-washer illuminating a painting above the fireplace or pin lights within a built-in, will maximize ambiance and focus attention on the beautiful features you want to highlight in your home.

Never underestimate how lighting can significantly enhance the way your prospects feel as they walk through the home. It is key to showcasing your super model in its best light.

8. Mirror, mirror on the wall — Mirrors can create miracles in your model. When used effectively, they add glamour and sparkle to a room, solve a variety of problems, and positively play with the psyche of your prospects. Mirrors placed near windows or behind decorative sconces will enhance and capitalize on existing sources of light. They can even create the illusion of an additional window.

Mirrors can brighten up a dark corner and add color by reflecting art on opposing walls. They are great design elements for small spaces. Try mirroring a complete wall in your powder room to visually increase the room size and add a touch of drama. Simply framing a standard bathroom mirror with decorative wood molding or a tile border is a cost-effective way to create a custom-home feel. On a subtler note, as prospects walk through your model and gaze at their reflection, they catch a glimpse of themselves living in the home they’ve always dreamed of.

9. It's a production — It takes a team to make a super model. Coordinating all the visual and technical aspects needed to produce a dazzling runway show, captivating commercial, or successful photo shoot is no small task. Just as the super model needs a talented art director, set designer, stylist, make-up artist, lighting technician, and photographer to achieve specific goals, a team of experts is critical to producing a super model home — the most powerful selling tool builders and developers can utilize. The initial investment of time and effort to establish a dedicated team of highly skilled professionals is fundamental to building successful communities.

When the builder, architect, merchandiser, sales and marketing team, and construction crew work together toward a common goal with honest communication, flexibility, and mutual respect, the stage is wide open for the making of a super model.

Lita Dirks is a nationally awarded and recognized leader in the interior design industry. She founded Lita Dirks & Co. in 1995, bringing with her 20-plus years of experience from her previously owned firm. Dirks is an approved instructor for course work offered by NAHB, NSMC, and IRM, and is a highly sought after specialist in the areas of design, target marketing, architectural review, and active- adult housing. She can be reached at ldirks@litadirks.com.


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