Real Estate Market Perspectives

“Turn Key” designers create an instant home

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By Friday, Nov 17 , More In Real Estate
Randy Orourke
In the course of this Turn Key project, a small space on one side of the center stairway was transformed into a cozy library, complete with an antique game table and a working flreplace.

Most design projects proceed at a slow and steady pace. Finding paint colors, lighting, the right furniture, rugs, window treatments, case pieces and upholstery fabrics takes time and coordination. It can be overwhelming and time consuming, dragging the process of purchasing a house to settling into a home into a long and time consuming burden.

But what do you do if you buy a house and you don’t want to wait? You want to live in and enjoy your new home before the season is over. You want to be involved in the “hunt,” but your life is crazy busy. What you do not want is to be overwhelmed by dealing with the process month after month after month.

One of my previous articles in The Berkshire Edge describes a project completed in record time. An active family with three children (and two dogs) purchased a 7,000 sq. ft. lakefront home in Connecticut. The challenge we were presented with was to furnish the home in ninety days.

The kitchens and baths needed updating. Sinks, faucets, lighting fixtures, countertops and wallpapers were selected, ordered and installed. Furniture was sourced and purchased. Fabric was selected and upholstery done. Pieces were put in place. The family settled into their refreshed Turn Key home weeks ahead of schedule!

The family room accommodates a large seating area for conversation, games and informal dining. Photo: Randy Orourke

Today, there is an increasing demand for this kind of “Turn Key design,” i.e. furnishing and making a home ready to be enjoyed within sixty days, or in time for a special date or holiday. For buyers at the higher end of the real estate spectrum, many are buying their second, third or fourth home. A Westchester grandfather bought a large Alford home, complete with swimming pool and tennis court. He hoped his Berkshire house would be a place for his children and grandchildren to gather and make new memories. He had neither the time nor the patience to be involved in designing his “second” home. He wanted it completely furnished, kitchen cabinets stocked with dishes, pots and flatware, and sheets and towels in the closet. His goal was to share his new home with his large family and to create a Turn Key retreat they would treasure for years.

This summer we combined the expertise of Gallery315 Home with Susie Weekes, the principal of Walker Weekes Design. Susie is a highly regarded home stager in the Berkshires, well known in the real estate community. Susie has built relationships with skilled carpenters, electricians, plumbers, upholsterers, window treatment manufacturers, painters and landscapers. I watched with awe when recently Susie took on a project in Great Barrington in partnership with Gallery 315home. Within two weeks of the closing, electricians installed chandeliers and replaced sconces, carpenters made repairs, painters painted, window shades were ordered, and carpets were stretched and cleaned. While Susie has the contacts to update and repair the problems that challenge most new homeowners, Gallery315home has the relationships with the NYC wholesale design community to source furniture and rugs that can be delivered within sixty days. Together, Galley 315 and Walker/Weekes Design transformed a blank canvas into a home filled with warmth and personality. Art was hung. Cabinets were filled with dishes, glassware, pots and pans. Towels and soaps filled the bathrooms and the beds were made. Bringing with them little more than their toothbrushes and clothes, the thrilled owners walked into their Turn Key vacation home. All done in under four weeks from the closing!

Furniture and art were placed to create a warm and welcoming entrance to this stately home. Photo: Randy Orourke

Today Gallery 315 and Walker/Weekes Design are using their Turn Key expertise to meet the needs of sellers by staging their houses with furnishings that can then be purchased by the buyers. Staging enhances the marketability of the house for the sellers, often reducing the time the home is on the market. And buyers have the opportunity to purchase the house completely furnished. Turn Key – a win-win for both.

Turn Key Design is a concept first introduced to the high-end South Florida market over 30 years ago, in response to buyers of second homes who had neither the time nor the inclination to go through what can be the tedious process of decorating and furnishing a large space. They had already invested their decorating energy in their primary residence. A vacation home was meant to be easy, relaxed and enjoyed seasonally. Turn Key was and is the answer.

For more information about Turn Key services, Sue Schwarz of Gallery315Home can be contacted at gallery315home@gmail.com or ‪(917) 701-3841‬‬. Susie Weekes can be contacted at twoweekes@gmail.com or ‪(413) 429-7734‬‬.


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