Sometimes the hardest part about redecorating is finding inspiration.
Magazines, blogs and television shows offer motivation, but nothing beats seeing great design up close and personal. A tour of a design house or model home brings professionally decorated interiors to life.
Like test driving a car, touring local design houses and model homes offer you a chance to touch fabric textures, feel sofa cushions and inspect kitchen cabinets. Being able to walk inside a luxury shower gives you a perspective that may be skewed by photography methods used for print or online publications.
The Washington area has two prominent dream house tours in which the interior designers are on hand to answer questions. If you really like what you see, you can hire one of the designers.
The Washington Design Center’s 2012 Dream Home opens March 15.
This tour features eight of the hottest up-and-coming designers in the area, including Jeff Akseizer, of McLean-based Akseizer Design Group, who designed some of the model homes at Turnberry Tower in Rosslyn. Other designers include Miriam Dillon, the resident interior designer at Barnes Vanze Architects; William McGovern, McGovern Design Studio; Catherine Hailey; Christine Philp, Palindrome Design; Kori Keyser; Scott Cooke; and Shanon Munn of McLean-based Ambi Design Studio.
One of my favorite house tours is the annual DC Design House. Every year an area estate is transformed by more than 20 designers.
This year, a 10,000-square foot home in Spring Valley will be the blank canvas for 23 designers. Proceeds from the tour benefit will benefit the Children’s National Medical Center.
Being selected as a designer for the DC Design House is like receiving an Academy Awards nomination. Last week they released the list of designers. Among them are Munn and Alexandria’s Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors.
Although this tour opens in April, an upcoming bare-bones, as-is tour lets you take a look at the house before its transformation. This tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $5, which can be applied to the purchase of the $20 ticket for DC Design House.
The Old Lucketts Store in Leesburg sponsors a design house that opens the first week of March.
Model homes are another way to see expert design up close.
Although designers are not on hand, model homes are usually designed to reflect the tastes of potential buyers in an area. Try touring homes of similar size and layout of your home. Pay attention to how designers use space, furniture, arrangement and color.
Upscale apartment complexes also use decorated models to entice buyers.