Your dream home is finally coming together. You’ve decided where you want to live, and found the perfect floor plan for your family by a builder with a great reputation.
After you formalize the details with a signed contract, the next step at the design studio is perhaps the most fun of all, because you and your designer will transform your floor plan into the home of your dreams.
It’s this interior design phase where Ashton Woods excels, both because of its talented and experienced design staff, and because it has the ability to customize and personalize home interiors more than most production builders.
“If we can make it happen, we will,” said Viana Ayuso, an Ashton Woods design consultant at the company’s design studio in Brandon. “We encourage our customers to dream big, because we are more flexible and have more options than most builders.”
Ayuso and her colleague, Kristin Wilson, have designed hundreds of homes for Ashton Woods families in Tampa Bay. Together, they have close to 20 years experience in new home interiors, and understand the cyclical nature of design that drives a client’s desires and expectations.
“Our goal is to achieve the look our buyers want, within the budget they have to spend,” said Ayuso. “We guide them to make sure their desired look flows seamlessly throughout the house, and help them make the many decisions needed to specify their home’s interior.”
Ashton Woods design consultants typically spend between four and six hours working one-on-one with buyers to select finishes that reflect their lifestyle, their design style and, of course, their budget. Their overall objective is custom personalization that makes a home unique to the buyer.
“Before we meet, we ask buyers to think about what they hate about their current home, and what they love. That gives us a good starting point,” said Ayuso.
Because of HGTV and the plethora of interior decorating magazines and internet sites, most customers come in with a clear vision of what they want, and often bring Pinterest boards, fabric and paint swatches, magazine tear sheets and even photos of interiors from other models, Ayuso explains.
“Homebuyers are more educated than when I began designing homes five years ago — they know what they want by name and style,” she said.
Ayuso and Wilson begin their design sessions by asking lots of questions and closely listening to their buyers.
“Flooring is the most expensive element and extends to all living spaces, so it’s a great place to begin,” said Ayuso. “Next is the kitchen, because it is the heart of the home and the centerpiece of the living area.”
Ayuso advises clients to select timeless design features, using a neutral color palate with white or ivory cabinets and simple back-splashes, so that their home does not look dated in a few years as design trends change.
“You can change your style with accent pieces, new area rugs and paint,” Ayuso said. “That’s much more affordable than replacing dark cabinets and multicolor backsplashes. Our goal is to design a home that can be inexpensively updated as styles change.”
Most clients want their new home to be move-in ready, Ayuso said, because they don’t have time to take care of details like blinds and painting after they close.
“Plus, they can add the cost of their interior finishes to their mortgage, which is very attractive for many buyers,” Ayuso said. “The general rule is for every $1,000 in design features, it adds just $6 a month to a mortgage. So, if you’re looking at $30,000 in upgrades, that comes to just $180 per month.”
Viana, who has a design certificate from NY Institute Art & Design, as well as an MBA in Advertising, loves her job at Ashton Woods.
“I come from a family of musicians, and creativity is a big part of me,” she said. “I’ve always had a knack for design, and love sharing with clients which colors work best, and explaining the theory and history behind their design choices.”
In Pasco County, Ashton Woods is building homes in Asturia, a master-planned community in Odessa located on State Road 54, just west of the Suncoast Parkway. For more information, go to AshtonWoods.com/tampa, or call Ayuso at (813) 324-8815
Top 5 Design Trends
#1. Wood Plank Tiles – the look of wood with the durability of tile, generally for less money than real wood
#2. White Cabinets — always in style, transitional and timeless
#3 Farmhouse Style — casual lifestyle is the rage, with lots of classic Americana elements
#4. Quartz countertops — have replaced granite because they’re heat and stain resistant, and need no special care
#5. Personal Retreat — luxurious master spa to unwind with rain showerheads off the ceiling and stand-alone tubs in middle of bath
Published June 27, 2018