"From the myriad choices available, the specific selections you make when you are remodeling or building a new home reveal a lot about you, your values and desires."

Your garage doors…flooring choices…the lighting in your bathroom… even your closets…everything in your home was designed. Her Home™ talked with several industry leaders about design’s role in delighting homeowners.

Garage Doors

Vickie Lent Marketing Director Amarr Garage Doors

Vickie Lents, Marketing Director with Amarr® Garage Doors, reports a profound shift in garage door sales based on people’s desire that their garage door not look like everyone else’s. According to Lents, Carriage-style garage doors now account for 35% of the garage doors sold. With all the different profiles, glass options and hardware choices, Amarr offers over 300 different garage doors to choose from, catering to people’s desire for individuality.

photo courtesy of Amarr Garage Doors

Lents said “Women lead the process of selecting a garage door style. It’s all about complimenting the home’s exterior and reflecting the homeowner’s style. To some, garage door choice is a fashion statement.” Aesthetics take center stage when it comes to the company’s rich, authentic wood garage doors. Practical design issues are balanced with aesthetics in the company’s more competitively priced steel doors. Lents continued, “Traditionally, men were the primary decision makers when it came to functional issues, such as low maintenance and reliability. But with increased interest in environmental and safety issues, women have become more active in the functional decision-making.” Functional design is also evident in the company’s insulated steel garage doors, particularly when there is living space above the garage, for maintaining comfortable temperatures and reducing noise. That insulation between the interior and exterior steel skins of the garage door also reduces the likelihood of dents or dings from balls or bike handles hitting the door. Safety was also a top design criterion, which is why Amarr’s garage doors are both pinch and tamper-resistant. And the company’s products are all made in America, a value many of us hold dear.

Lents added, “The right garage doors can give the owner a sense of pride of ownership. After all, more than 50% of people enter their home through their garage. The right garage door can provide a warm, welcoming element that brings a sense of satisfaction.” Apparently, that’s important to lots of people, particularly prospective homebuyers. In a survey conducted by Stratamark Research, real estate agents nationwide said replacing garage doors on a home can increase the asking price by four percent.


Now that’s worth consideration!


Heather Thomas Lighting Manager Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

With showrooms around the country, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery is a national leader in products for the kitchen and bath. Heather Thomas is the Lighting Manager at the Ferguson Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. In her experience, women are the major decision makers for these products, too.With showrooms around the country, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery is a national leader in products for the kitchen and bath. Heather Thomas is the Lighting Manager at the Ferguson Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. In her experience, women are the major decision makers for these products, too.

“ A woman’s powder bath is seen by everyone,” said Thomas, continuing, “so selecting the lighting in the powder bath typically takes a lot of time and effort because it makes a statement. Decorative fixtures are popular, with traditional buyers tending towards hanging fixtures while wall sconces are favored among buyers with more modern tastes.” When it comes to master bathrooms, lighting design must be integrated into the overall design of the bathroom. According to Thomas, the primary considerations are:

• Task lighting—fixtures designed to be seen such as sconces and bath brackets, providing general illumination to the room and specifically full face illumination when looking into the mirror.

• Recessed ceiling lighting—which tends to visually “go away” and is not subject to the changing fixture design trends and styles. Today’s less visible; smaller-diameter recessed cans are increasingly popular.

• Decorative accent and flair lights—used for their visual effect, calling attention to certain features and amenities in the bathroom.

Additionally, Thomas cautions, “You may have planned amazing tile work and beautiful countertops but may not have thought much about the light switches.” It will be immediately evident if these controls were carefully selected or merely an afterthought. Beyond the design of the controls themselves, Thomas pointed out such controls “allow you to personalize the appearance and lighting presentation, from occupancy sensors which turn on the lights as you enter the bathroom to digital dimmers which bring the lights up and down gradually, rather than the abrupt on or off.”

Lighting design must consider the color temperature of the lamps (bulbs) to be used as colors appear differently. Thomas explained,“ Incandescent bulbs produce relatively warm shades approximately 2700-degree Kelvin, a color temperature preferred by younger women. More mature ladies may prefer the whiter light of bulbs in the 3000 – 3500-degree Kelvin range.”

Then there’s a lamp’s color rendering index (CRI), a scale of 1 to 100 which basically refers to how well we see an object. Incandescent lighting has a CRI of 100, while CFL and LED lighting CRI indexes typically fall in the 80 to 90 range, meaning some loss of color vibrancy.

Bathroom lighting design reveals your desire and as Thomas said,

For more information on Lighting visit Ferguson.com“ The right light fixtures and the right light levels can set the perfect mood.”


Elise Dembowshi – V.P. Creative Services Mohawk Flooring

“Women initiate 80 – 90% of residential flooring purchases,” according to Elise Demboski, Vice President of Creative Services for Mohawk® Flooring. She goes on to say, “Color and design are buyer’s top priorities. Buyers have a specific look in mind, and flooring is a reflection of her pride in her home. Beauty and easy care matter to her!”

photo courtesy of Mohawk Flooring

Mohawk’s hardwood flooring runs the gamut from reclaimed to hand-scraped. Appearance and functional design were both addressed in the development of ArmorMaxTM, which makes their pre-finished wood flooring five times more resistant to scratches as compared with finishing hardwood floors on-site. Pre-finished wood flooring is also healthier, with minimal, if any, off-gassing from chemicals used to stain/seal/coat the new wood floors. And with Uniclic® Technology, Mohawk also designed a solution to homeowners’ desire for minimal visual gaps between boards and a healthier, glueless installation which can be walked on immediately after installation.

When referring to design, form refers to the aesthetic quality of a product’s design—the look and feel. Demboski suggests “Beyond look and color, carpet choice really should begin with researching the fiber type to make the best decision for your particular situation. All carpeting is not the same and warranty, while important, is only one aspect of determining the right carpeting choice.”

Function refers to what a product is designed to do, how well it performs and its reliability. Demboski explained that Mohawk research identified stained carpet makes a woman feel stressed. She’s frequently reminded about that spot that won’t come out every time she walks by (even if it’s been covered up). The more public the stain, the more embarrassing it can be. Knowing that, Mohawk’s designers created SmartStrand®, a new type of carpet fiber with the stain and soil resistance built into the fiber, that cleans up with water.

Now that’s innovative (functional) design!

Demboski said “Most carpeting has a stain resistant treatment applied topically but professional carpet cleaning removes the topically-applied stain resistant treatments. SmartStrand was designed to be healthier, eliminating the need for carpet cleaning chemicals.” She went on to mention “SmartStrand fiber is also environmentally friendly, as it is 37% corn, and makes people feel good about choosing a green product.” People can also feel good about selecting Mohawk’s SmartCushion™ carpet pad, because a portion of the sales of SmartCushion.


Amanda LaBlanc– Owner,The Amandas of Organized Affairs

Watch The Amandas on the Style Network; you’ll soon discover Amanda LaBlanc has some great ideas for storage and organization. Owner of The Amandas of Organized Affairs (New Orleans, Birmingham and online), LaBlanc’s spatial and interior design talents are in high demand.

Her Home caught up with Amanda to address closet storage. Amanda was quick to point out her clientele, mostly women who have taken on more and more responsibilities, equate improved organization with fewer worries and more time.

Amanda feels many people underestimate the value of aesthetic design when tackling closet storage and organization projects. “Functional aspects of storage are essential,” she explains, “but in my experience an attractive closet inspires the owner to keep it organized. Ignore how it looks and people won’t love that space, they won’t be happy and they won’t bother to keep it organized.”

LaBlanc continued, “A closet is not ‘just a closet!’ Paint it a special color,” she advises, “or use sleek, wooden hangers (they’re really not that expensive), or perhaps select small crystal pendant lights.

“Adjustability is key for future uses. Our lives are not ‘fixed’, so why have fixed shelving that may not work six months down the road?” A dealer for Schulte Storage products, LaBlanc feels closet organization should start with Schulte’s FreedomRail system, which allows for easy re-configuration of hanging and shelving, adjustable in one-inch height increments. A complete line of accessory items such as bins and baskets are designed for FreedomRail as well. LaBlanc said, “Adjustable closet systems mean one closet for as long as you live in the home, not tearing out and replacing fixed shelving as your needs change.”

In her business, LaBlanc has learned that asking questions of her clients only gets her so far in designing closet solutions. “Closets need to reflect the buyer’s personality, habits and needs, some of which is best discovered through observation.” LaBlanc spends time with her clients in their homes not just measuring the closet space, but to see how they live. Beyond the obvious, that’s one way she discovers deep desires and designs the perfect closet system. LaBlanc also encourages them to be open-minded. “People often believe they have to work with what’s there—the storage solution inherited from the previous owner or whatever the builder put in the home. Not so!”

LaBlanc concludes, “Organization is not about your home. It’s about your life, less stress and more time with loved ones.”

Design adds meaning and value to our lives. The aesthetic aspects are usually obvious. The functional elements, though perhaps less visible, may be even more important. Ultimately, product selection is up to you, which is why we say… ... design reveals desires!

Finally About Me® Resources

Product Resource for this Article

Amarr Garage Doors

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Mohawk® Flooring


Schulte Storage System

Finally About Me® - As the Woman-Centric Matters!® team at Design Basics has identified, women tend to exhibit one of four primary home buyer personalities. And it’s amazing just how much of our core personality is reflected in our homes!

Finally About Me® Quiz - TAKE THE QUIZ! What's Your New Home Personality? Would you guess that your taste in jewelry, flowers, or travel could also predict your preferences in your home's design styles and even product choices?

Finally About Me® Profiles - So you are a Maggie or a Claire, or a Margo or Elise. Learn more about your new home personality!

"What's Your New Home Personality?" Would you guess that your taste in jewelry…flowers...or travel could also predict your preferences in your home’s design, style and even product choices?

"A Home That's Truly You" From the myriad choices available, the specific selections you make when you are remodeling or building a new home reveal a lot about you, your values and desires.

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