America’s Next Top Model Home: Cycle 2

This weekend kicked off Richmond’s latest tour of new model homes. The “Dream Home Tour” is March’s answer to last October’s “Parade of Homes,” which we covered here last fall. This one was much smaller (60 homes vs. 158) but it still a great opportunity to check out the latest design ideas featured in brandy new homes just hitting the market.

Model Home Tour Craftsman Exterior

Between dozens of cookie-cutter houses, we were happy to spot some unique, interesting and inspiring designs in the bunch. There were even some beautiful exteriors, like the swank Craftsman-inspired home above. (Sherry was so in love with this one I practically had to drag her out of the front yard).

Here are some of the trends we picked up on after touring a dozen of the “Dream Homes”:

Ceiling Details: Lots of beams, coffering, recesses and molding details spiced up ceilings in many formal dining rooms- but we found some in other rooms too, like this peaceful bedroom below.

Model Home Tour Coffered Bedroom Ceiling

Mudrooms: Yep, they were everywhere. Those stylish Pottery Barn style stations for coats, shoes and droppin’ the mail anchored the back entrance to just about every home we toured. Glad we already jumped on that bandwagon (even if we did it on a budget).

Model Home Tour Mudroom

Tile All the Way Up: When builders weren’t using those stock vinyl tub surrounds, they were showing off their grouting skills by taking tile from floor-to-ceiling. Check out this spacious masterpiece from a million-dollar home we pretended we could afford.

Model Home Tour Shower Tiled

Bathroom Built-Ins: Just when we thought our new kitchen cabinets were enough, we’ve now noticed that built-in bathroom cabinets and wardrobes are the true sign of an updated home. I guess if you’ve got the extra space, why not flaunt it? Here’s a different view of that million-dollar home’s fancypants bathroom. Oh to have all that custom storage…

Model Home Tour Built-In Bathroom

Tacky & Tasteless: And last but not least, we again witnessed that some model home stagers just can’t keep their tacky tendencies in check. Need I remind you of last fall’s jungle mural spotting? The over-the-top wall paintings were extremely abundant when it came to kids’ rooms (little boys must really love skateboards on their walls) but there was also some spillover into other parts of the house, like this faux-window in a windowless laundry room. I hope that faux-dog is enjoying the faux-breeze.

Model Home Tour Faux Window Mural

The “Dream Home Tour” continues this weekend from 11am – 5pm, so check it out if you’re in the Richmond area. It’s completely free and you can get a map to each of the homes in Saturday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch. We promise you’ll have a good time, find some design inspiration and probably have a good laugh or two. And heck, you might even snag some free Girl Scout cookies.



We Got Benched

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve rearranged yet another room in our home (right after our video house tour of course- d’oh). This time it’s the living/dining room. See, we love that we were able to move our dining table into our jumbo living space right off of the new kitchen (the whole open living plan has always appealed to us) but once we removed an arm chair to make room for the table and scootched the couch and the remaining chair over, we realized that the “living” part of the room was a little compromised. In adding a table for six, we lost an arm chair, so our living room was down to seating for three (two on the couch and one on the chair).

Now we actually do all of our lounging and hanging out in the den (which thankfully isn’t short on seating) but due to my perfectionism (read: lunacy) I knew there had to be a little adjustment that would make the living/dining room function perfectly whether it came to dinner or lounging. And then I saw a picture from with a round dining table with four chairs and a curved banquette around it. And that’s when lightning struck (metaphorically speaking). I realized that if we had some sort of cushy banquette or bench seating at the dining table it could double as seating for the living space too. And that’s when I was inspired to drag our little mini-mud room bench from Target into the room.


Of course we had to get another bench so that one could go back to living in our mini-mud room, but another bench meant even more under-bench storage. Hooray! And we actually found a slightly leggier version at Bed Bath & Beyond (the taller height was more comfy at the table) and the Target bench went back into the corner of the den where it so happily resided before. Victory.

Here’s what the living/dining room looked like pre-bench:

Living room before

And here it is post-bench:

Living/dining room after

It’s our new favorite spot to eat dinner (there’s something romantic about sharing a seat) and can also be pulled out and used as living room seating too. Gotta love multi-tasking furniture. Now we’re back to having a U-shaped conversation area in the living room, and we can easily seat 5 peeps again. I knew there was a solution. And I’m sure John’s happy that it was a cheap one, too.

Here’s the new set up from a few other angles:

Living room bench 2

Living room bench 4

Living room bench 1

Living room bench 5