Allen Norwood

Builders and designers worked on homes for real families

In one of the homes by The Ullman Group, for instance, you’ll see a pantry door of salvaged barn wood, hanging from rustic iron hardware. It’s impossible to miss in the glamorous setting. The family wanted the door, so there it is. Check out this rough-sawn wood on the barrel ceiling in their dining room.
In one of the homes by The Ullman Group, for instance, you’ll see a pantry door of salvaged barn wood, hanging from rustic iron hardware. It’s impossible to miss in the glamorous setting. The family wanted the door, so there it is. Check out this rough-sawn wood on the barrel ceiling in their dining room. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Three of the four showhouses in HomeArama, which opens today in Cheval in Mint Hill, have already sold. Buyers purchased the grand homes knowing that thousands of strangers would troop through. In a few rooms, the new owners’ furnishings will even share space with designers’ selections.

So, would you invite thousands over to hang out on your sofa?

Me, neither. But there’s a serious side to this. Showhouse builders and designers say it not only changed the way the houses came together, but also offers lessons that visitors can use in their own spaces.

Builders and designers who worked on the sold homes couldn’t just pull together their favorite looks and features. They were building for real families, with real likes and dislikes. That bedroom isn’t for some designer’s notion of a typical boy. A real kid is going to move in, and kids have strong opinions about favorite colors.

Real families have favorite things, and they had to be accommodated.

In one of the homes by The Ullman Group, for instance, you’ll see a pantry door of salvaged barn wood, hanging from rustic iron hardware. It’s impossible to miss in the glamorous setting. The family wanted the door, so there it is.

It’s stunning, and really cool.

If you’ve wanted to incorporate a rustic barn door into your own décor, be inspired by this family and go ahead. They’ve showed you how it’s done.

Or, add some rough-sawn wood, as they did on the barrel ceiling in their dining room.

Some of the family’s furnishings will mingle with designer items in this home. “They’ve been spectacular to work with,” builder Luke Ullman says of the buyers. Want to know how to combine existing furniture with new items for a pulled-together look? Take notes.

The showhouse by Arcadia Homes was sold while the foundation was going in.

Designer Traci Zeller accommodated the buyers’ tastes beginning early in the process. “It’s a real home for a real family, so we didn’t do anything outlandish,” she says.

Designer and builder made decisions based on how the family wanted to spend its money.

The HomeArama homes were priced from $1.1 million to $1.6 million, after showcase discounts. Before those discounts, they would have cost more. That’s a lot.

Real families have real budgets, though, even for homes this grand.

In secondary bathrooms, Zeller used basic tile laid in interesting patterns on shower walls, then splurged on stone for countertops. That’s a good way to stretch any bathroom budget, she says. Besides, there can be only one “star” in such a small room. If you splurge on every surface, the stars compete for attention.

“That’s a good takeaway for everybody, at every price range,” she says.

For more about HomeArama, including times, admission prices and special events, visit www.charlottehomearama.com.

Special to the Observer: homeinfo@charter.net

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