Tara Deans, Raleigh Studio Manager
How we stay inspired...
Designers must stay inspired. Luckily, inspiration is all around us: in architecture, restaurants, salons, stores, magazines, cars, landscape, friends’ homes and let’s not forget, The Studio by Ashton Woods. Even designers miss great design, because those places are in our daily grind and we don’t always stop to appreciate them. When viewing design on social media, like Houzz or Pinterest, I’m intentionally seeking it out, so while I notice more beautiful things, I can’t touch them. For me, the best inspirations happen when we seek them out in person, with all the senses involved. Nothing replaces a good field trip. We appreciate so much more. It’s like watching the Christmas Parade on TV, versus actually being there. I love to be there. It’s much better to see all the colors & textures on the floats, hear the marching bands, feel the vibrations in your chest from the drums, taste the hot cocoa, touch the hands of the characters prancing down the street and smell the horse poo. Well, maybe not that last part. It’s a “whole” experience when you are present in your mind and body, paying close attention to the dancers, musicians and float design rather than looking at a screen.
For us in new home construction, our county’s Parade of Homes is a “whole” experience we enjoy in person vs through technology. Parade time is motivating (after all, it’s a competition) and inspirational. The homes entered are showcasing the best of the best from the builders. There aren’t online tours of these homes, you have to go to them. We get to see, hear, smell and touch these homes. (There's not much tasting though, unless they put out snacks).
Seeing the five basic principles of design: balance, scale, proportion, rhythm and harmony in a home is better perceived this way than in an image. Hearing what the floor sounds like when you walk on it, the water features, the quality speakers, or what the builder has to say are important things. New home smells of fresh materials are like that “new car” smell that we all know and love. And, most importantly, touching the finishes. The feel of a cabinet door can instantly tell us if it is quality or not. Marble, wood, glass, metal, porcelain, tile, all great touches. Touring the parade homes is great motivation and affirmation for our team of Designers. We get excited by new ideas and feel great about what we have designed for our own Best in Show.