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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Home design trend focuses on what women want: Scrapbook rooms

Its official!!! Now even home builders are considering our need for a scrapbook room when designing new homes!!!! We are getting closer and closer to taking over the world ladies!!

Home builders have long realized women were their target customers. Even so, they rarely asked women what they really wanted.

By: Tammy Swift, INFORUM

And so, for decades, homes were built with tiny closets, cramped foyers and small, isolated kitchens.

But all that’s changing. One local builder, Heritage Homes, has adopted a patented design concept known as “Woman-Centric Design,” which offers floor plans and marketing techniques based on five years of women-oriented market research and focus groups.

“It taught us a whole new perspective in building and selling homes,” says Tyrone Leslie, president and CEO of Heritage Homes. “It’s our duty as a builder to understand our customers. And shame on us for not doing that sooner.”

Woman-Centric Design is the brainchild of a Nebraska-based company, Design Basics Inc., which is – fittingly enough – headed by a woman.

Design Basics’ female-centered marketing is based on one key statistic: that women directly purchase or control influence in the purchase of 91 percent of all homes, Leslie says.

An example of Heritage’s Woman-Centric design can be seen at this fall’s Parade of Homes. It’s located at 1924 7th St. E., Charleswood, West Fargo.

This home stands in sharp contrast to many older homes and old-school design approaches. Not so long ago, builders expected women and their families to adapt themselves to a limited choice of floor plans, rather than letting women determine how the house could fit their needs, Leslie says.

But Terry Becker says women have always been a vital part of the home-building process. As president-elect of the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead and a custom builder, Becker says women influenced home design throughout his 30-plus years in the business; they just have many more design options today than they did a few decades ago.

Becker says certain building trends – increased storage, more luxurious master bedrooms and expanded foyers/mudrooms – have all been influenced by the female customer. While male customers may have strong input on specific aspects of the house, such as the theater room or the shower, the majority of design decisions are made by women, he says.

Design considers storage, flexibility

Heritage Home’s Woman-Centric design is a 4,296-square-foot rambler with gourmet kitchen, maple cabinetry, granite countertops, five bedrooms and three baths. It’s listed in the $524,900 price range.

But it’s also built to follow four key concepts of Woman-Centric design:

  • Entertaining: There are 10 different Woman-Centric floor plans, which shift according to a buyer’s entertaining needs. So someone who does a lot of casual entertaining might prefer an informal open living space that flows into a large kitchen, where guests always tend to gravitate.
  • Storing: These designs emphasize efficient storage with generous kitchen pantries, oversized bedroom closets and a rear foyer storage known as the “drop zone.” The drop zone consists of lockers, cubbies and counter space for everything from laptops to kids’ hockey gear.
  • De-stressing: Woman-Centric designs tend to offer amenities such as privately located master suites, walk-in showers or master bedroom “retreats.” “When women get home from work, they often start their second job,” Leslie says. “Our job is to take away that stress.”
  • Flexible living includes areas that can be adapted to each family’s unique needs. That may mean turning a third bedroom into a scrapbooking room or planning rooms that serve as both an office and guest bedroom.

    These perks sound tempting, but they also beg the question: During tougher economic times, will people pay a little more for extras?

    Leslie believes they will. “They’re willing to pay if they understand it and know they’re going to use it.”

    And how do men think about all this female-centered marketing? Do they feel marginalized?

    “At the end of the day, what they really care is that their wife is happy,” Leslie says.


    Jenny McGee said...

    WOW, I am the first commenter here. Anyway, I love the fact that the builders are looking to women for help in designing houses. And a scrapbooking room is a necessity in my next house.

    rush8888 said...

    interesting....i think people look at a house, and if it doesn't have what they want, i.e. crafting area, they seems to find it somewhere.

    elaine said...

    I love having space for scrapbooking and stamping! I'm glad the builders and architects are realizing it too. Isn't it funny that they specifically mention scrapbooking as a de-stressor. I know it keeps me sane!

    Jean said...

    HOw cool is that!

    Jacey's Mom said...

    When are they going to learn that women rule the world. =)

    Andrea said...

    About time! I'm so glad I've been able to take over our basement with my craftiness. I don't know if I could function in a house without a crafty area!

    Carolyn Sharkas said...

    Well, all I can say is, it's about time. I just wish I had room in my house for a scrap/stamp room. I have to wait for one of the kids to move out, lol. thanks

    Anonymous said...

    Holy smokes. This one statement makes everything else dubious, at best: "“At the end of the day, what they really care is that their wife is happy.” Sheesh. What simplistic white bread twaddle. This totally ignores ethnic and lifestyle differences of the rest of us --who, by the way, also want a decent place to live. Single career women and men, gay or lesbian singles or couples, multi-generational households, non-married couples living together (no "wife"), and for heavens sake, what about all the couples who are working 3 and 4 jobs to keep making their mortgage payments these days? Plus, let's not forget the traditions, customs and hobbies of the myriad other ethnicities and cultures. But no, these neanderthals male builders think everything will suddenly be alright if they cater to the little lady of the house. Precious. By the way, Design Basics is actually owned by a couple of guys from Houston, Texas. The woman at the helm is a recently-hired figurehead who has no experience in the housing business. Maybe she's the one who wears the pants in the family.