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Secrets of a Model Home Designer

These eight two-minute videos reveal secrets from a model home designer to inspire key rooms in your home

Mary DeWalt Secrets of Model Home screenshot

Mary DeWalt of Mary DeWalt Design Group

Ever wonder how you could make your home look like a model home, with its crisp style and on-trend look?

It’s easier than you think – especially when you’ve got tips from a model home designer. To help you create key rooms in your new home from scratch, NewHomeSource enlisted award-winning model home designer Mary DeWalt. Together, we created the eight short videos below, each chockfull of hot design trends and decorating ideas for either your personal use or for model home decor.

Mary and her team at Mary DeWalt Design Group specialize in model home merchandising. They’re behind some of the most appealing model home designs in the nation – rooms that elicit oohs and ahhs.

In addition to her advice in each video below, Mary also shared her Top 10 home design tips:

  1. Don’t be timid when selecting paint colors. It’s the most important and affordable tool for creating ambiance in a room.
  2. Make sure every room has a visual exclamation point.
  3. Art, wall hangings and window coverings that contrast with the wall color make interior spaces come to life.
  4. White shades on lamps and hanging fixtures make rooms bright and inviting.
  5. Add sparkle and reflective elements with glass tiles and shiny accessories.
  6. Use fewer, larger table accessories for a less-cluttered look.
  7. Group colorful accessories over the kitchen cabinets in lieu of plants and baskets.
  8. Address high volume areas of the home with large-scale artwork. Room-dividing screens can be taken apart and hung together for an affordable way to fill the space.
  9. Save the splashy print fabrics for pillows and accent pieces and select solids for sofas; it will be less expensive to change the look of a room.
  10. If you only purchase things for your home that you really love, you’ll really love your home.

The videos below provide an insider’s look at homes built by Jimmy Jacobs Custom Homes and designed by DeWalt in Caballo Ranch – in a new home community in Cedar Park, Texas, near Austin. Their work on these homes received a 2012 Silver Award in The Nationals, a leading award program for builders. Room by room, you’ll find inspirational design ideas, model home decorating ideas and loads of fresh, fun and wildly helpful advice from DeWalt.

When it comes to your home’s interior space, good design is easy to attain. As DeWalt reveals, there are various ways to add pizzazz to your space, many at a surprisingly low cost. One simple technique? Paint.

“It’s the most important and affordable tool for creating ambiance in a room,” she explains.

Other pointers DeWalt provides include using drywall to mimic wainscoting; selecting a lower height for the kitchen island to expand the room; and accessorizing solid furniture with print fabrics and accent pieces that you can easily and inexpensively change, should you want to freshen or redesign the space down the road.

Whatever your budget and tastes, tune in as DeWalt reveals her secrets of a model home designer to give you the lowdown on what’s trending behind the front door:


Jay McKenzie heads up content and social media for and Builders Digital Experience. You can find him on Google+.
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