Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Lifestylist® Article Published

Have you discovered mhmsm.com yet? It is an invaluable resource for the factory built home community, and this month we were honored to have an article published in it on LifeStyling your home. We give 5 great tips on how to take your models from ordinary to extraordinary using things you already have.
The Home Idea Factory not only does model homes using new merchandise, we also are experts in recycling your existing furniture and accessories to create a home that sells.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pixie Dust

I just returned from a magical week in Orlando. Someone said they scatter pixie dust at the airport when you arrive, and I'm starting to believe them. Not only was I able to take part in a home that will probably be one of the the high points of my Lifestylist® career, but I was also blessed to spend some very special time with my kids and grandkids and share my Lifestylist® approach with them. Being a Lifestylist incorporates life and style, and getting creative in the kitchen is definitely part of that.
As part of the staging for The New American Home, I purchased a large amount of beautiful granny smith apples to add color and lifestyle to the kitchen. After we were finished with the shoot, I thought why not recycle them and make a pie with the grandkids? Neither of them had tried making a pie before, and with Thanksgiving being only a week away I thought this could be a great time to make their first.
Jenna may only be 8 yrs old, but she loves to cook and is really good at it. She has taken part in the Jr Chef Camp at the Gaylord Texan that Chef Joanne teaches, and was excited about trying out her culinary skills making a pie. Many adults would be daunted by this task, but Jenna dug right in. After teaching her some basic knife skills and precautions, she peeled and cored all of the apples herself. Brother Christian decided to help us make the crust, and we made a huge mess (sorry Trish!) but I'm sure it was a day that they will always remember.
I am so grateful to have the loving, supportive family I have, and the amazing clients that believe in me and what I do. Here's to the start of a holiday season filled with hope, happiness and lots of pixie dust!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recycling Model Homes

Welcome to my world. With budgets getting tighter every day, builders are looking for ways to cut costs but still increase sales. One way to do this is by renovating and recycling model home furniture and accessories they already have.
This makes a lot of sense, but when employees or decorators are used for this task that don't understand merchandising, there's a good chance you won't get the desired results.
Youngs Homes in Hobbs, NM asked me to come down and help them with their model home center a few years ago and had the right results - sales and traffic increased without it costing them a fortune.  Since then they have brought in some new models, and realized it was time to look at re-modeling what they had. Employees had helped where they could to decorate the new models, but they just weren't getting the desired results. The Home Idea Factory was given the task of creating some Lifestylist Designed models using only the furniture that they already owned to keep costs down, but we did add some "personality packages" of artwork and accessories to add the lifestyle that was missing and keeping buyers from becoming emotionally involved with the homes.
I'm going to share a few examples of what we accomplished in the next few weeks, but this will give you an idea of the results.
This beautiful Champion Home has everything a buyer could wish for - 9 ft. ceilings, transom windows, a fireplace, and a dream kitchen with  stainless appliances and vent hood, and an island. From the inside and out, people would never guess this is a factory built home. As a matter of fact, it offers more options and upgrades than most site built homes do! The family room had a rock fireplace, and they even showed a front bedroom as a study. The house had furniture in it, but needed some lifestyle added to it.
By raiding the warehouse (notice the gold parsons chairs in the warehouse photo) we were able to pull the colors together more and add warmth to the home. Artwork and accessories highlighted the buyer profile for the area - ranchers - and furniture was re-arranged to emphasize how livable the floorplan is.
This is one of the higher priced homes that Young's sells, so we wanted it to feel that way. Buyers are now comfortable enough in the home to sit down and enjoy the home, and interest in the home has increased dramatically.
If you would like to discover how a Lifestylist Re-Designed model can help your sales, contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is Back!

It's a show that always ignites the industry and the Midwest region with new designs, new ideas and new initiatives …the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is coming back in 2011 and promises to be even better than before. The 2011 Louisville Show will bring back a positive energy to the Midwest region and will show why manufactured housing is the "best way to sell and the best way to build."
Enduring the economy has been the ultimate challenge, especially for everyone in housing. Now, a new year ushers in the return of a show that reluctantly took a year off as manufacturers weathered times like most of us have never seen in the industry. Now, the show kicks off the New Year Jan. 12-14 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), the best show facility in the nation. The show is back and we welcome all of the retailers, builders/developers, community owners/operators and exhibitors back to Louisville. The Louisville Show was a significant part of the Midwest region for over 50 years. We are excited about bringing back this important event!
Show hours:
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 – 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 – 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14 , 2011 – 9 a.m. until noon.
Note: Registration opens each morning at 8 a.m.
Off to an Amazing Start
As we head into Fall, there is already positive and exciting news to report as we approach "Sold Out" as the status for the manufacturers/exhibitors who plan to join us at the Louisville Show. We'll be ready to name this select list soon and we hope your business is included in that list. As of October 1, just a few manufacturer spaces remain. In addition there will be 85 service and supplier exhibit spaces for the host of businesses that bring so much to the manufactured housing industry. Manufacturers and suppliers across the region are making the move to bring back our industry momentum, and the show is one of the greatest ways to fast-forward these efforts. Don't wait – put your company at the forefront of the new year's industry success!
The Exceptional Experience of Louisville
Start with the Kentucky Exposition Center, a show venue that is considered the best facility of its kind in the nation, where you're assured of a show that offers ample exhibit space and amenities. Couple the great venue with the Louisville Show's headquarters hotel, The Crowne Plaza, located directly across the street from the exhibit hall, and you have an unbeatable combination of convenience, easy access and key amenities all around you. Hotel rates will be affordable, and reservations can be made very soon. A new registration company will be able to offer web-link registration for this year's show, helping make both pre-registration and on-site registration easier than ever before.
The airport is within three minutes of the show site, and there is ample and controlled parking at KEC. As everyone knows, Louisville offers a multitude of fine restaurants and other entertainment venues, including the popular '4th Street Live' area. Discover why Louisville makes the best place for our show. When you exhibit at Louisville, you will give buyers the luxury of an actual walk-through of your home, service or product in a unique hands-on environment. You will be able to relate to your customer base; understanding their wants and needs, as well as answer on-the-spot questions or concerns. With this premier venue as your backdrop, it is time to outshine your competitor and close the big deal. This is a great opportunity for your business to get a grasp on where the future of the industry is headed.
Sign Up for Industry Seminar
The 2011 show will feature an industry seminar with George Allen of GFA Management Inc the 2009 MHI Man of the Year. George has put together a seminar program that will appeal to the industry. Seminar points of interest will include:
How to Price Point a New Manufactured Home  for Private Property and/or Landlease Community Placement. Given an  individual's Annual Gross Income, and/or a local housing market's Average  Median Income, how to calculate maximum "affordable" & "risky" sale prices  for new homes, to be sited on realty owned fee simple, or leased. This topic  is timely for HUD Code home manufacturer "reps", Business Development Managers  ("BDM") and LLCommunity owners/operators selling homes on-site.
Community Series Homes. Their genesis,  definition and description; who manufactures them for in-LLCommunity siting  (with specific reference to appropriate manufacturers and models present at  the Louisville MHShow); and, how to properly meld them into any local living  environment.
Property Owner, or Self-finance, of New  Homes Sold On-site in LLCommunities, with emphasis on the differences  between "captive finance" and "buy her – pay here" methodologies, as well as  other possible alternatives. Moderated by Ken and Donna Rishel of Rishel Consulting Group and Precision Capital Funding the 2010 winners of the MHI Service Supplier of the Year Award.
Three 45-minute seminars provide an opportunity to learn how to start the two processes, evaluate and improve present practices and where to go for assistance and resources. These special seminars will be held at KEC in conjunction with the show.
Industry Comments: We have received these comments from interested industry representatives
Fantastic news on the show – we learned so  much and met so many new vendors – products I had no idea even existed. Great  news – and congratulations on keeping our business alive and well. There is  certainly massive demand right now for affordable housing.
I think the return of the Louisville Show is  GREAT news. It comes at a time when the industry is starting to make a  comeback and could go a long way toward boosting sales in the Midwest. I hope  all of the regions' manufacturers give the show the support it deserves.  Without these shows, the road back would be longer and more difficult.
I agree, I've missed the show. It was the best  event and it's early enough in the year so you could sell the homes ordered,  re-order, and sell again.
I'm so excited to hear about the Louisville  Show in 2011! This was always one of the most important shows of the year for  our industry and we will need to support its return to show consumers and the  media that manufactured housing is here to stay! It sounds to me like this  could be a great start to the image campaign that we've all been talking  about!
If you have any questions regarding this year's Louisville show, please call Dennis J. Hill, Show Coordinator, at 770-587-3350.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Model Homes That Sell

Anyone who has ever spent time in a model home has heard a buyer ask the sales person where they can purchase something that they see in the home. More often than not, the builder and sales team don't have any idea, and that memory point is lost.
Lifestylist Design recently did a home for American Custom Builders that was a "ready to go home" - everything in the home was purchased within 10 miles of the home or was available online. By keeping the number of stores used to a minimum, buyers were easily able to see how they could make their new home look "just as good as the model home". All of the furniture used was from a local Ashley Home Store, and buyers purchasing one of the homes received a discount on their own purchases after they closed on their home.
Take a look at a video we just completed of the home and see for yourself how beautifully this concept can be accomplished.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Farm

Being a Lifestylist sometimes means getting off the beaten path, and when you do you never know what you'll discover.
This week I was in Western NY for the opening of the Riedman Development and @home Builders Design Center, and decided to take a different route back to the airport. When I did I drove past The Great Pumpkin Farm and knew I had to check it out. If you are in that area it's a must visit, if not take a look at the video we put together.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sharing is Caring

One of my favorite things to do every year is entering the State Fair of Texas cooking contests. Being a Lifestylist to me is about all of the ways you can live your life with style - not just design.Not because I want to win, but because I really enjoy sharing all of my entries with different workers at the fair afterward. These are the people who really enjoy my cooking and know it's made with love. Officer Stevens is usually by the entrance we use every day, and after she tried my peanut parries she was hooked. I've never won a ribbon with these, but I keep entering because they are the favorites of Chuck and Linda at the Chili Parlor and we've become good friends because of them.
When I brought Officer Stevens her cookies on the last day she said that we had no idea how much our sharing meant to her - and how nice it was just to have people appreciate her. There is no ribbon that can ever top that great feeling when you know you are doing something for the joy of it, but others get to share that joy as well.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Champion Homes Gets Social

I just found out today  Champion Homes has a Facebook page that they are getting ready to add a lot of information and photos to. When I went to check it out, I found photos of the Lifestylist® Designed home we merchandised for them at the Tulsa show and heard that there will be more photos to come of the Texas Show. If you haven't "liked " this page yet be sure to do so - that way you'll be one of the first to see all of the exciting new changes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Lifestylist Designed Models for Champion Homes of Texas

We just finished part two of the Extreme Model Home Challenge and I couldn't wait to share the results! Champion Homes of Texas is doing an incredible job bringing truly affordable homes to market that are full of amazing options. It's hard to believe that these are budget conscious homes - all of the extras add up to a lot of value.
We had three weeks to add the Lifestylist® Designed touch to these homes and it helps to have great companies that help us meet our deadlines. What was really important to us as far as the merchandising went was to use the right color and scale with the furniture and accessories to show people how they could live in these homes. Even the smaller home has room to do a dining set to seat 4, and the larger home featured a great room large enough to fit a huge leather sectional that will be perfect for football watching parties.
There were too many great ideas in these homes to put in one article, so we are going to do a few separate stories to share the different features. If you want to take a look at these homes in person you need to do it quickly - customers are already fighting over the merchandised smaller home so they probably won't be at the plant for long. For more information contact Marc Mmedders@championhomes.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

Teresa's Mosaic Cafe Gets a Throwdown From Bobby Flay

I am so excited! I just learned that Bobby Flay traveled to Tucson and had a "throwdown" with the Matias family at Teresa's Mosaic Cafe. This is a restaurant that we did the interior of, and as with all Lifestylist® Designed challenges we spent a lot of time getting to know the family and their needs before we came up with a plan.
Teresa's is all about family and the wonderful handmade food so the interior had to have as much personality as the family does. To do this we designed tables made of handmade tiles - thousands of them all that we made by hand. It was an extensive amount of work but the results were definitely worth it.
The episode airs on the Food Network - check out dates and times for your area.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homearama Returns to Rochester, NY

It's hard to believe it's already time for Homearama again - where does the time go? But this is the perfect time to visit Rochester - the produce season is in full swing, perfect weather and it's also a great time to be thinking about decorating ideas to warm up your home with.
This year this annual event will be held at WaterSong in Penfield August 14th - 22nd. Sponsored by the Rochester Homebuilders Association this 9 days will not only highlight these 5 beautiful homes but there will also be an abundance of wine tasting, cooking demos and decorating seminars.
Lifestylist® Design has teamed up with @home Builders three different years to participate in this great event, but my favorite home was definitely the Ronald McDonald Show House we did a few years ago. We teamed up with the amazing group of volunteers from the Ronald McDonald House and merchandised a home using furniture, artwork and accessories that were donated to Ronald McDonald for their annual ABC Sale.It was truly a Lifestylist® Designed home -  I spent three months going over images they would send me of new donations and digging through their warehouse to find the perfect items for this home and by the end we did!
It was a fun challenge to show how you can do a beautifully decorated home using only "gently cherished" items. The best part was @home Builders then did an online auction and visitors to the home could bid on each room. All of the proceeds then went to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. From this, the dinner auction prize and other events that @home Builders did with the home they were able to raise over $25,000 for the charity. To see photos and get more information about this show house, check out the website we designed for it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Simplify Your Life While Helping Others

It's hot as heck here today - the 1st day of August and it's supposed to reach 106 degrees! So today instead of even trying to do anything outside I decided to work on one of my new goals and start simplifying my life and style.
Have you noticed how easy it is to make impulse purchases now and how things just start piling up? I think I inherited a little of my parents recession-fear mentality and it's hard for me to pass up anything free like the little soaps and shampoos that you get in hotels.  As a Lifestylist® I'm always picking up cool and unusual items that I plan on using for staging or merchandising a model home - thanks heavens the Home Idea Factory has lots of storage or I'd be in big trouble!
Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to The Family Place - an amazing resource for abused women and families. I serve on the board for HomeAid / HomeBuilders Care in Dallas and we just built new apartments, a clinic and a school room for them and it was so rewarding to see what we were able to accomplish. We were also able to meet some of the women who live there and what a difference the Family Place has made in our lives. As we toured we also found out what a great need they have for some of those things I've been collecting and today I'm going to start simplifying my life to help them with their fresh start.
Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, NY is another charity very close to my heart.  A few years ago we did a home that was merchandised completely with items that had been donated to the charity, then auctioned off to benefit Ronald McDonald House. I'll be forever grateful to the volunteers and Rochester community who donated such beautiful items to work with!
Towels, sheets, bath products, diapers... these are all things we may have an abundance of but don't want to throw out the ones that we don't use as much anymore. Stuffed animals that we tend to collect at fairs and in crane games would be cherished by a child that had to leave everything behind to get to safety.
It feels so good to clean away some of the clutter and know that these items are going to help someone else. The less you have to organize the easier it will be!

Color Spotting at Home Depot

I do love being a Lifestylist®, and getting the opportunity to travel across the country meeting new people and spotting new trends. Recently I was up in the 1,000 Island area of NY and spent a day just driving and looking at the magnificent architecture and natural beauty of that area.
When I found this little cabin tucked by the river I fell in love - especially with the brightly colored Adirondack Chairs in the front of it. Of course I took a picture and never forgot what a great, happy look this was.
Then the other day I was walking through Home Depot and found these bright, happy chairs and I had to have them! Especially since they were only $12.00 each and maintenance free. I love what a difference they made in the backyard of the Idea Factory - even when I'm not out reading a book or birdwatching on them I love just being able to look out the window and seeing the burst of color.
It's easy to use an accent of color to wake up any space. It can be done with pillows in a living room, towels in a bath or with plates in a dining room. Great, fun design doesn't have to be expensive - you just need to be brave enough to try different ideas out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Being Inspired by Your Surroundings

When I work on a model home, my first priority is bringing the outside in - what's going to make the buyer feel like what he experienced before he walked into the model continues into his model experience?
My son just gave me the perfect example - he is buying a new home in Florida, and was troubled after seeing the new model home because they didn't like the colors or feel of the home after it was merchandised. It bothered them so much they actually considered canceling the sale. The colors and the lack of lifestyle felt like they could have been in any city in any community, but it didn't have the warmth that they anticipated their home would have.
At Lifestylist® Design we focus on lifestyle, and what they buyer hopes to experience in his new life in your new home. We just finished doing a Lifestylist® Designed home for @home Builders in Baldwinsville, NY and I thought I'd share the thought process on how we came up with this home.
Timber Banks is a new incredible planned community near Syracuse, NY that features an 18 hole, Nicklaus designed golf course, river frontage with it's own marina, clubhouse, and a stunning, natural beauty all around you that you can call home. It seemed only natural that I would bring this lifestyle and the colors I saw all around me into the design of the model. We went with some of the foggy greys, clear blue sky, river rocks and eco-greens that we discovered on our walks and as a result when you are in the home it truly pulls the outside in.  Plan a visit to the Timbers yourself and see what we accomplished - contact Teresa Carpenter with @home Builders for more information at:  315-635- 6006.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Terrific Towels

One of my favorite lifestyle items that many people don't think about is towels. Think about how many times a day you use one, but when it's time to make a purchase we spend more time worrying about cost and color than value. A typical family of 4 owns 15 towels, and we tend to hold on to them longer than maybe we should. My parents own a lake house and received 20 beach towels that were promotional items at least 10 years ago and we still use them!
My favorite store to buy towels from is JC Penney. They always have sales going on, but you can get a luxurious bath towel in beautiful current colors for under $10.00. As a Lifestylist® and model home merchandiser I buy a lot of towels for my job, and JC Penney is always my first stop for this purchase. Their sheets and bedding can't be beat as well. Instead of buying all of your towels the same color, try buying coordinating colors. That way you can mix and match, and each family member or houseguest can have their own color so you'll always know which is yours!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lifestylist Advisory: Sleep Experts Understand Their Customers

When I needed at mattress set at the last minute for a model home for Champion Homes of Texas in Tulsa, I wasn't sure where to go. The budgets for model homes don't leave a lot in the bedding category so I needed something cost effective that would look big and fluffy to the buyer. Fortunately I happened to drive past a Sleep Experts Store and a new love affair was formed.
Customer Service? This company really gets it. From the moment I entered the store to the moment I drove away from the dock I felt pampered. My sales person Kevin Harris could not have been more helpful and less threatening. When I went to pick up my set at the warehouse after they got my information they immediately inquired if I would like coffee or a bottled water. And the warehouse? Spotless. Clean, well organized, and I would have been very comfortable sleeping on any mattress in there.
The other great thing about Sleep Experts is that they really give back to the community. When people have their existing mattresses picked up, Sleep Experts have them reconditioned and donated to a charity.  The good that they do with this program can't be documented in words - it really has to be seen in person by the shelters and groups that have such a huge need for safe bedding.
If you are in a market that has a Sleep Expert Store, give them a try -you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lifestylist® Advisory: Free Travel Resources From Yelp

One of my favorite new resources is yelp.com - an online resource that can help you find restaurants, hotels, nightlife and shopping in your local area, or wherever you are traveling to. Members review and talk about stores and services and help you find where "the locals" go. I've tried this in several cities and have gotten great suggestions. One of the great things about traveling is getting to try new things, and with the yelp app on my iphone I'm good to go! It will also help you find the closest gas station and emergency services if you ever need them.
You can also also go directly to the reviews of a member you like or trust - please check out this Lifestylist's reviews on Yelp here.
This is another great resource that can help you save money and time when you are making your travel plans. Let me know what your profile is and I'll follow you as well!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Champion Homes of Texas Debuts new Model

Our latest Lifestylist Designed Home debuted at the Great Southwest Home Show a few weeks ago and the response has been tremendous. The home was for Champion Homes of Texas, and it was a chance to show what the new Champion Homes is all about, and if you haven't take a look you need to  - great homes with great value and style.
Take a look at the article we wrote for MHMSM about the show to learn more about where the factory built housing market is heading.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Grazing Through the Paula Deen Buffet

Hey y'all! Just got back from Tunica, MS and the South Central Manufactured Housing Show. Part of what being a Lifestylist is all about is experiencing life to the fullest, and even though I went to view housing trends, when I saw that bus with Paula Deen's face on it beckoning me to the casino and her signature buffet, how could I say no?
The show and Ms. Deen's buffet are both housed at Harrah's  Tunica. I had stayed there in the past when it was The Grand Casino and let me just say the buffet was anything but grand, to the point that it may have been some of the worst food I have ever had. But love Paula, love her show, so decided I'd give it a go.
I went for lunch, and honestly I thought it was a great value. I think it was about $14.99, and I would have been happy if they just would have brought me up a sleeping bag and I just stayed there for a few weeks. I next to never do buffets because I don't like feeling like I have to over-eat to get my money's worth, and usually the food isn't that great quality. That was not the case here. I knew I was going to have to stay to bite sized portions if I was going to make my way to every station, but from the salads on everything was sooooo good I could have just eaten that! I'm very picky about fresh, and everything seemed super fresh and almost made to order. I wanted to try things that were Paula's signature dishes and they were even better than I had hoped. The cheese biscuits and hoe cakes were out of this world! And the Mac and Cheese.... I've had some great Mac and Cheese but this was one of the best.
There was an entire seafood selection that had mounds of shrimp, oysters and fried goodies, The Lady and Sons station had wonderful southern specialties including yams, fried green tomatoes, ham and fried chicken. And THEN there was a BBQ station and of course dessert. Had to try the Gooey Butter Cake and it lived up to it's name and reputation, but my favorite desserts were the peach cobbler and bread pudding. The only shortcomings for me were the fried pickles and the fact that they had Kool Whip for the dessert items! I didn't realize it wasn't whipped cram until I tasted it and it ruined the experience.
The Paula Deen brand was visible everywhere, and it should have been. Loved how they had recipe cards at some of the different stations so you could make some of the various things you tried at home, and while you were waiting there was a Paula Deen Gift Shop.
The restaurant was beautiful and definitely had Paula's southern charm and a very welcome feel to it. I loved every minute (and calorie) that I spent here, and may have to plan a trip back just so I can do it all over again! If you want to make a weekend out of the journey the casino also offers "Paula Deen Suites" that would complete the experience.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Lifestylist Reviews Tunica Housing Show

What a busy Spring already! Houses to design, design centers to merchandise, and lots of great marketing ideas to talk about.
Last week I headed to Tunica, MS to attend the South Central Manufactured Housing Show which is held every year at Harrah's Tunica. Considering the economy, the turnout was fantastic and it was fun to catch up with people I hadn't seen in awhile. Let me tell you, the homes on display were not your grandma's trailer - these homes compete in design and quality with any comparable site built home.
If you were not able to attend the show, MH Marketing Sales Management has my review in their virtual magazine and there is also a link to tell you where you can view the over 500 photos we took of these very exciting homes.
Please take a look and let us know what you think!