Winner of Best Design Studio at the 2017 Nationals, Ashton Woods’ The Studio caters to the move-up market looking for premium and personal touches
By Sergio Flores
Ultimately, buyers are looking for homes tailored to fit their needs and taste. What really sets a builder apart is their ability to create a home with premiums and personal touches that fulfill this need. Thus we see the proliferation of design studios. They have become integral in the process for move-up market buyers in their search for the best way to personalize their home above a standard offering.
Located in Alpharetta, Ga., Ashton Woods’ state-of-the-art design studio, The Studio, was the recipient of the prestigious Gold Award for Best Design Studio at NAHB’s The Nationals 2017, hosted at this year’s International Builders Show in Orlando this past January. What set this design studio apart from the other four contestants? Simply put: the design process and experience.
Upon entering the design studio, the room’s décor is filled with white clad spaces in an illuminated, open space. There are no samples in sight, nothing to buy. Clients are offered an espresso or refreshment of their choosing. The room’s environment was designed to emit a calm and comfortable tone. Designing a home can be just as nerve-wracking as any other step in the home buying process; this space was intentionally designed to mitigate that negative emotion.
“I’m hoping what the judges saw is when they stepped inside our studio or saw a photo, people feel like they are transported into something special,” said Leigh Spicher, Director of Design Studios for Ashton Woods. “Part of that is that when you step into the entry to the studio, it’s quite beautiful—it’s all white, illuminated, and something very different than anything you see in the marketplace now and other studios.”
The first step at The Studio is a conversation between a design specialist and the homeowner. “It starts with sitting and getting to know the homeowner. Do they have children? Do they have pets? Do they entertain?” explained Spicher. Deriving information of their lifestyle, tastes, preferences, and any other individual quirk helps the designer suggest features and designs from Ashton’s studio.
In ‘Collecting Inspiration,’ the first step of a three-part design process, customers work with a design specialist to bring any ideas that they might have had from before the Ashton process. From their favorite fabric, color, style or magazine/Pinterest inspiration, everything is fair game and encouraged—too much inspiration does not exist.