Home & Garden Shows: Inspiration Around Every Corner

The 21st Annual Austin Home & Garden show was exactly the last-minute adventure that I was searching for on a cold Saturday afternoon. The three-day event showcases outdoor products, landscaping, windows, doors, cabinetry, storage and so much more to inspire the designer in me. The beautiful vignettes were a sight for sore eyes and a great incentive to entice the crowd for more information. As a new homeowner and professional designer, I was intrigued by all the aftermarket utilitarian and functional products that were available. I convinced my husband to accompany me with the rule that he was able to spend freely with no restrictions.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the highlights and vendors that I had a brief chat with. As you’ll see, these Home & Garden shows are full of new products and inspiration for even the most seasoned of design professionals.

Custom Home Guides

Building the home of your dreams, shouldn’t be stressful for the homeowner or the professional. With the help of a custom home building company, it’s easy to see your visions come true. They hire the crème de la crème of contractors, suppliers, vendors, and financial providers so that the designer can focus on showcasing his/her expertise. They have in-house architects as well, so in reality, this becomes a collaborative project with all the trades. They provide construction expertise, organization and collect options from multiple bids. The designer has an opportunity to mark-up profitability while focusing on the homeowner’s overall budget. From the financial side of the business, they help the homeowner by cutting out the middleman and going straight to the source for all construction services. This is a great opportunity for the designer to offer these services in a one-stop-shop package deal.

Water Softeners

Often overlooked by most construction companies, the water softener is an integral part of any home. The water softener is a water treatment conditioner that uses the latest technological equipment, to filter and soften the daily intake of water. A stainless steel tank that is embedded with a hygienic filter purifies chlorine, chemicals, and any heavy metals. The goal is to create crystal clear drinking water for everyday usage. Unfortunately, most designer centers do not offer this feature as an option to add to the overall homeowner package, so a Home & Garden show is a great venue to make connections in this niche market. Do note that water softeners can run with a pretty hefty price tag, anywhere from $3000-$6000 to install. I would highly recommend providing this as a design service or even educating the everyday homeowner about the long-term benefits.

Cabinet Storage Options

As a previous kitchen designer, I know that maximizing cabinet storage is a must for any utilitarian and functional kitchen, saving homeowners time and adding to a home’s value. It’s also an easy way to break the age gap barrier between all members of the family. No matter the age of the home, custom glide-out storage cabinets can be installed to existing cabinets. Custom solutions that are installed on top of new or existing shelves to utilize every inch of space for pots and pans, trash/recycle bins and everything else you could imagine. With a 100lb weight capacity, these shelves stretch out and push back with ease. Dovetail construction is used for strength and stability. The next time you have an opportunity to design a kitchen, consider all these new product options and details.

Garage Organization:

The garage can be a difficult space and most commonly overlooked as a great utilitarian area for extra storage. At the Home & Garden show, you’ll see innovative organization systems that can hold up to 800lbs of capacity for overhead storage. And, it fits the test of sturdiness, since not one but three people can hang from it! From a designer’s perspective, this product is innovative, resourceful and budget friendly. The next time your client is looking for extra storage, peek into their garage and imagine all the possibilities!

Stone Decking

In the 21st century, it’s all about bringing the indoors outside. The big trend in outdoor design is creating a functional environment, where you can entertain and enjoy the outdoors. A hub of activity for the family, it’s the perfect place for your next gathering. Fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, pools, bars and patio seating all require a great foundation to walk on; this can be achieved creatively through stone flooring. The choices and options are unlimited and you can collaborate with a professional to maintain the design style and vision of the homeowner.

Concrete Leveling

The core of a well-designed home is a quality foundation. With a cracked foundation, eventually, everything will sink down or turn into shambles. Concrete repair has come a long way with new and innovative technology. Polylevel injection foam is polyurethane foam which is injected beneath the concrete to fill the gaps of soil erosion. It is a fast-drying, strong, waterproof, stable, quick and non-invasive. Consider collaborating with the construction company on choosing quality products, before you begin the project.  

A Feast for the Design Senses

A few of the other types of vendors you’ll run into at a Home & Garden show include: door and window manufacturers, pool companies, solar shade producers, kitchen remodel and design-build companies, paint contractors, energy saving specialists, clean air companies, etc. As a professional designer and homeowner, it was beneficial to see the after-market options available for both existing and new homes.

As a designer, I would highly recommend convincing your clients to consider some of these solutions for long term financial return by investing in energy saving and quality products. It was an eye-opening and educational afternoon for this designer. Unfortunately, my husband came back empty-handed, but I put a smile on his face with a $5 bag of roasted sweet pecans. Win-win for all!

About the Author
With over nine years of professional interior design experience and a Master’s from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Ramya is a hybrid writer. She focuses her blog topics on the business side of interior design by merging the lessons learned from design professionals and our podcasts. She currently works full time for an Allsteel dealership and plans to go solo by opening up her own business — in a few years. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling, exploring the local music/food scene, creating new dishes and spending time with her husband and her Maltipoo puppy.

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