When Sundog Homes moved our Asheville offices to a larger space in 2019 and sold our model home in Weaverville, we felt like it was the right time to begin on a project that had been in the works for several years. After a delay due to the worldwide pandemic, our new Design Studio opened in 2021.
There are many decisions to make when you’re building a home from the ground up, and our goal with the Design Studio is to make that process as simple as possible. It was created to offer a comfortable and inviting space for clients to choose their fixtures, flooring, cabinets, countertops, and all the other important selections in one place. According to Sales Manager Phillip Gamble:
It can be very stressful and overwhelming to our customers if they have to visit all of our different suppliers’ showrooms and try to make choices in a vacuum. If everything is in one place, they can lay everything out and see how it all fits together. Even if we have to order samples that we don’t currently offer, we would prefer to have it shipped to our Design Studio so they don’t have to travel all over Western North Carolina.
With the understanding that a typical client who is building a custom home for the first time is not aware of all the steps going into the process, Gamble clears up a few of the most frequently asked questions about the role of the Design Studio here.
Q: What is the first step that leads to an appointment in the Design Studio?
Phillip Gamble (PG): After a contract is signed to begin building, but before construction begins, we’ll have our first – of probably many – selections meeting. We try to prioritize the selections based on deadlines for ordering different materials. For example, because of long lead times, we have to order windows pretty early on so that is a decision we need from the customer in that first meeting.
Q: Is there any way to cut down on the frequency or time spent with these meetings?
PG: We know that a lot of clients will seek inspiration from websites like Pinterest or Houzz, or see things on HGTV or other design shows that they want in their own homes. It’s a good idea to save pictures or write information about brands and trends you like, so that when you come in and sit down with Brannon, our Selections Coordinator, she’ll have a better idea of which direction to steer you, which will speed things up a little.
Q: Are my choices limited depending on the square feet of the house I’m going to build, or by the price of the house?
PG: The design center/studio has a wide range of variety for all levels of custom builds. We’re not a tract builder, where you pick out items based on a good, better, or best tier – it’s more complex than that.
Sundog Homes is set apart from many builders in the area for numerous reasons, but one of them is that we are a fully custom home builder and we’ll guide you through the process of choosing every finish for your home, no matter what size or plan you choose.
Q: What if I see something I really want in my home somewhere else?
PG: We worked with our suppliers and relied on our experience from past customers to showcase materials that are popular and trending. If our customers are not able to find something they like in our Design Studio, or if a client absolutely falls in love with something they find online like a faucet, lights, or appliances, then we would be glad to price that particular item, assuming our suppliers can supply it. We are also happy to schedule an appointment at any of our suppliers' showrooms where they will have additional options to choose from, if necessary.
Q: What if I change my mind about the selections I make?
PG: That is completely fine as long as we haven’t already ordered the material.
Q: What is the advantage of coming into the Studio, rather than looking online and choosing?
PG: The advantage of making your selections in person is that you can see certain materials in person that don’t always present accurately online, such as cabinets, countertops, and flooring. It’s also nice to see all of those materials next to one another to make sure they complement each other well. You can’t do that online.
Q: What are the brands (vendors) that we work with?
PG: We will work with any company or vendor that we need to, but we do have suppliers that we prefer, like Jennings Builder Supply, Leicester Flooring, Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors, Boral Cultured Stone, Ferguson, and Marsh Cabinets.