It’s an age-old real estate scenario: Buyers walk through a home for sale, and shrug. There’s nothing wrong with the house, really, they tell the agent. It’s just that the house lacks a certain, indefinable “something.”
Mary Cook has heard it before, many times – mostly from homebuilders who have called her in to put her finger on what’s keeping people from buying their homes.
Cook lives at the intersection of design and marketing. Her Chicago-based interior design firm, Mary Cook Associates, outfits 75 to 80 model rooms a year for homebuilders around the country. Beyond merely looking good, the design plans for all those models share a single goal: to make consumers want to buy the homes because, for lack of a more concrete term, they feel right.
After nearly three decades in the business, Cook has firm ideas about what it takes to get there. She recently wrote a lavishly illustrated book that elaborates on seven principles she considers the ingredients for good design.
“The Art of Space” isn’t a “get it sold”/home staging guide. It’s her philosophy about what it takes to make a space look good for any purpose.
Nonetheless, Cook honed those principles while working for homebuilders who are trying to please customers, and she said in an interview that the seven ingredients also can be helpful to anybody with a “for sale” sign in the yard.
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