There’s No Place Like Home
Published on 22 June 2020
Article for A&J Stephen website
What do you think of when you hear the term ‘showhome?’
Wow factor, glitz, glamour?
If you own a Stephen home, you’ll know that these adjectives don’t describe what we do.
Here at Stephen, we’re all about quality and a timeless, understated elegance. We don’t follow trends ‘just because’. We fit out our homes and showhomes to reflect our clients’ wishes, to provide inspiration but in a way where the house can ‘breathe’. After all, the quality speaks for itself without the need for clutter!
As we prepare to start working on the first 42 homes at Mansfield Park, Scone, a combination of bungalows, semi-detached and detached homes, we spoke to Eileen Kesson from Envision near Stirling who has been styling the interiors of our showhomes for almost 20 years.
How does the process work?
“My role kicks in when the company identifies the property which will become the showhome. From the outset, it’s 100% about the client, understanding the target market and drawing up customer profiles. Essentially, who would want to live here? What might their tastes be? Once decisions are made about the house plan, the kitchen and bathrooms, flooring and finishes, it’s a case of exploring how the house will flow, how the clients will use the space and how their family dynamic might work. For example, that fourth bedroom needs to be flexible as it could become a study for one family, a playroom for another or a social space for the teenagers of the house. We then start identifying the products and imagery for a moodboard, setting out the look we hope to achieve.”
How do you choose the interiors?
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stephen for almost 20 years so I understand their brand well. For them, it’s about comfort and enduring quality – they steer away from what we call the more ‘shouty’ showhomes, which are louder and more ‘bling!’ They prefer a more contemporary, rural feel using simple high-quality fabrics and subtle finishes to create a softer, more welcoming look. However, even though Stephen tend to be more traditional in their styling, they are still catering for the modern family, so the interior has to reflect that.”
So, what’s in store for Mansfield Park?
“It’s still early days but we’re hoping to explore the current trend for Nordic styling which we feel will match their philosophy and ethos perfectly. We’ve started looking at snapshots of interiors to show them what’s current and how it sits with their brand. As with everything Stephen do, it’ll be classic and high-quality, with lovely wooden floors and a classic modern Scottish feel – ‘on trend’ but never faddy. When it comes to colour, there’s currently more of a play on paint than wallpaper so we’ll be introducing them to some of the new eco brands which have some beautiful muted pallets, creating a gorgeous feel throughout, complemented by soft furnishings, artwork and lighting.”
How do you know you’ve got it right?
“Showhomes are there to inspire the people who step inside by making the house reflect its location and target market. There’s nothing like standing in a space that could potentially become your home and visualise how things could fit, how the house flows, which might be the more casual or formal spaces and so on. When we bridge the gap between an empty property and a possible home, we’ve know we’ve cracked it!”
And if someone chooses to buy a showhome, perhaps because of its prime location on the site, what’s included in the price?
Sheila Sutherland, Sales Manager said, “This can vary from site to site and depend on the house style. However, in general, the showhome is dressed and decorated with the ‘for sale’ price including everything you see apart from furniture and accessories. Typically, buyers would have all kitchen appliances included, all flooring (which may include floor tiling) and all curtains, light fittings, blinds, bedding and cushions. The gardens are also landscaped and, in some cases, special treatment might be given to the back garden with terraced, raised patios and external lighting.”