Design notes

2013 Parade of Homes

Model Behavior.  Dressing Up for the Parade of Homes.

Ever wonder what goes into creating a model home? Well, now’s your chance to find out! As one of the few lucky designers to work on a number of projects for this year’s Parade of Homes, I thought it would be fun to give you a virtual tour of the model home creation process, viewed through the eyes of yours truly, Christy Cassidy.

Ready? Let’s do it!
For me, preparation is the key to any model home design. So before I’m even hired to create a model, I’m already designing it in my imagination. I look over the floorplan, allowing my creative thoughts to speak to me, and as the flow of the house’s design becomes clearer, I begin drafting and space-planning to accommodate the aesthetic flow, paying particular attention to how I might accent the special features of each room.

I often find inspiration in everyday places and objects. Sometimes it’s the color or texture of a special fabric. Sometimes it’s a piece of artwork. Sometimes it’s an abstract thought I’ve brought home with me from vacation, or an idea that leaps out at me from a store window display. The point is, visionary moments can come from almost anywhere.

This year’s model homes all explore their own themes. No surprise, right? But looking a little closer, I noticed they also share something in common—a subtle homage to the beauty of nature.

Now, in the homes I create, my first step is to give myself a clear portrait of the family for whom I’ll be designing. What are they like, I ask myself? What are their pastimes, passions, and proclivities? What sorts of decorations and furnishings would they, themselves, choose if
they were in my place?

Once I have the answers to those questions, I begin to get a feel for the sort of finishes, furnishings, and special accessories I can integrate into my design plan. My homes in this year’s Parade all followed this pattern, and each was furnished with cabinetry, countertops, flooring and tile, that I selected directly from the builder’s own design studio.

I measured for draperies as soon as the house was framed (so my workroom had enough lead time to complete my window covering designs), but for the rest of the decorating schedule, I followed the builder’s lead. Which means that while construction was humming along, I was off doing what any smart, designing girl would do. Shopping!

My favorite places to hunt down home furnishings? Antique malls for one! The same for trusty old standbys like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Williams Sonoma. In short, I go anywhere and everywhere my imagination leads me, searching for whatever treasures—furniture, accessories, house wares—will help complete my vision.

Install day is the last stage in the professional design process. And let me tell you, friends, it’s both exhilarating and exhausting! It takes me and my entire design team staff to put the project together. Furniture deliveries…boxes…moving men with hand trucks…painters touching up walls and woodwork…artwork and accessories being unwrapped and arranged…they all add to the excitement of the big reveal day.

From hanging the drapery and art, to making all the beds with the custom bedding, to putting pictures in the frames, it’s always the details that matter. And it isn’t until that last detail’s in place that the house becomes a home.

When I’m finished with a project, I always take a final walk through, reflecting on how blessed I am to be one of those lucky few who absolutely loves her job. I’m sometimes asked which of my homes is my favorite, but you know I’m never quite certain how to answer that. The creative process is so personal, and so close to my heart, the truth is I’ve fallen in love with each of them.

Where can you find Cassidy Design Parade Homes this year? 

Glad you asked! We are proud to have been selected to create the following homes showcased in the 2013 Parade of Homes:


Reunion Homes

  - 2264 Reed Grass Way (80915) in Wilshire


Century Communities

- 6379 Winter Haven Dr (80919) in Rockrimmon Estates  


Classic Homes

- 1155 Old North Gate Road (80921) in Flying Horse
(Note: When you're in Flying Horse visiting the Classic Parade Model Home, be sure to pop in at Saint Aubyn Homes at 1598 Yellow Tail Drive. It's not a Parade Home, but it's one of ours and it's a beauty! )

I hope you take the time to tour all the parade homes this summer and find inspiration for your own home. I’d love to hear your comments. You can email me at

P.S. I’m always looking for photos of “model families” to frame and stage in my models. So if you have a cool portrait of yourself and your clan, send it along! Who knows, it may pop up where you least expect it!

Your Stuff. His Stuff. A Match Made in Heaven?

Summer is wedding season. So, in honor of my sister, Elizabeth, who is celebrating her 1st Anniversary this month. I thought I’d share a few suggestions on how to have a long and happy life together.

Rule one. You know that whole thing about compatibility being essential to true marital bliss? Well, sometimes it goes beyond personalities. Only sometimes you don’t know it until you’re moving in together.

That’s when the moose-head wall trophy and Barcalounger recliner he’s had since his frat-house days in college enjoy their first embarrassing sleep-over with your Queen Anne wingback and antique highboy.

Trouble in paradise?

Heck no! Not as long as you work together to find a design approach that turns “yours” and “mine” into “ours.”

In some relationships, the guy’s perfectly happy to let his girl have full reign over the home’s design. In other relationships, the reverse is true. In my experience, the interest usually falls somewhere in between, with husband and wife both wanting at least some say in the matter.

Grounds for separation? Of course not! In fact, arriving at a common vision for one’s interior style can often be a romantic, even sexy way to get closer to one another! You’ve just got to look for the best ways to compromise!

So where do we start?

Hmmm. How about the intersection of passion and togetherness?

If your guy has strong ideas about colors and accessories, and you do too, the easiest way to achieve the look that excites you both, is to sit down together and develop a style that celebrates your joint personality.

Traveling through Life Together

Shared experiences can be a terrific starting point in decoration and design. Take your favorite destinations and best-loved travel moments and use them as themes in your work.

Got a thing for Paris? Rome? New York? Look for antique travel posters, period maps, and vintage sporting advertisements that you can use as a starting point in your home’s design.

Pull out the muted blues, grays, and neutrals that come naturally with years of aging, and incorporate them into your palate.

If you want to push the design theme to even more dramatic heights (and get a little extra storage in the bargain), recruit an old steamer trunk for a coffee table, then accent your shelves with vintage globes and period collectibles—even black and white photographs.

Together, the objects of your shared love of travel (and dreams for the future) will not only make for a lovely living space, they’ll offer a wonderful point of conversation when you entertain family and friends.

Dance to Your Own Tune

Fall in love on the dance floor? Perfect! Try a muy caliente color palate based on the rich, deep, passionate hues of a Spanish dancer’s costume to inspire your interior design scheme. Be bold! Be daring! Be you! But don’t forget to share your vision with your significant other. Because, as the man says, it takes two to tango!

Bring the Great Outdoors Indoors

If the great outdoors are your combined passion, draw your inspiration there! Here in Colorado we are blessed to have blue skies, red rocks and purple mountains majesty! Use these rich earth- and sky tones for wall colors and fabrics. Consider green and blue accents to your furniture. Or bring leather (a classic, long-lasting material that looks better year after year) into the mix. Those moss covered rocks you brought back as souvenirs of your recent mountain biking trip? Display them on your cocktail table or bookcase, then add additional color with a vase of wildflowers.

The Perfect Fit

Love athletics? Flaunt it! Use your recreation room as a showcase for your memorabilia. Make an ongoing wallpaper border out of your ticket stubs! Frame a your games program! Set up your wet bar area like the concessions stand at your favorite ballpark and decorate it with team pennants and photos of your favorite players! If you let the uniforms from your favorite ball team guide you in your choices of color and fabric, it’ll rally the room’s spirits like a high-flying pep talk!

Share a Place at the Table

A lot of today’s couples are foodies. So why not whip up a little inspiration for the kitchen and dining room? Use a neutral color palette on your walls and let your dishes, serving pieces, and glassware be the star attractions. Open bookcases? Cabinets? Baker’s racks? Use them to display your serving pieces! No need to stack away all of these marvelous items behind cabinet doors.

Searching for an eye-catching entrance piece? Create a large chalkboard Menu and Shopping List that can be both functional and fun. Display oils, seasonings and baking supplies in different collected glass containers and dishes on your countertops, pantry and shelves. And for goodness sake if you have a set of china from your wedding, find the occasion to use it! It’ll make your loved one feel special and appreciated!

No matter what your coupled-design preference is, whether it is spot-on-similar or drastically different, if you focus on finding your “together style” by allowing your interior passions and shared experiences guide you, you can’t go wrong.

Finish the Chores, and Hit the Stores

Spring Cleaning through the Eyes of a Designer

Spring has sprung, the weather’s warming, and it’s time to freshen up the old homestead. Inside and out. So what’s the secret to making the whole process fun? That’s easy! Instead of looking at spring cleaning like it’s a chore, consider it a time to give your home a stunning new makeover.

Think fresh! Think new! Think organized!

Clean out drawers and closets. Unclutter, and give whatever feels or looks like junk the heave-ho. Liberate yourself from things you know you’ll never use again (even though the hobgoblins in your head tell you to keep them), and make room for the new!

Repurpose, too! You’ll be surprised how easy is!

Take down all the accessories you’ve got displayed on that tired old shelf in the living room and rearrange it—in a completely different way. Or add a few new pieces to your collection!

Got pictures hanging around, collecting dust?Spruce them up with a new frame. Oval and circular designs are a great way to give a new look to an old piece of art, and if you shop around, you’ll find you can pick up some great new looks for a song. Spring cleaning is all about renewal. Rejuvenation. It’s about taking an old friend (your home) and dressing it up so it sparkles in a whole different way. So be bold! Be simple! And above all, take chances. Move your artwork around. Change out color photos with black and white or sepia tones. Try a new tabletop spread with your books and magazines. But whatever you do, don’t be afraid to cut loose and experiment! Every choice you make can always be undone again, so be bold.

Window cleaning might be considered the ultimate drudgery by some homeowners, yet nothing does more for a home’s aesthetic than fresh sunlight streaming into every room. Want your rooms to feel airier? Your furnishings to look brighter and more colorful? Then put window cleaning at the top of your honey-do list.
Another inexpensive cosmetic fix you might want to apply is touch-up paint. Scrapes, dings, discolorations and ugly smudges can be made to go away in no time at all. And with almost no money. I suggest foam brushes for touch ups, as they’re easy to use and disposable.

Hardwood floors? This is the time of year to give them a good deep clean and polishing. It’s also the time of year to invest in (and experiment with) houseplants and botanicals that bring even more of nature’s beauty directly into your home. Look for specials at your grocery store and garden center. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can always find a something (twigs, sticks, even blooms from your own yard) to accent a room’s décor.

Great Designs Flaunt their Eccentricity

Sometimes the best way to achieve balance in your design is by pushing things a bit off-center. Try arranging your decorative items in odd-numbered groups. Add interest by staggering the tall and short elements of your design. And when putting together displays, think out of the box and avoid those boring straight lines.

End Your Cleaning Spree with a Shopping Spree

Best part about spring cleaning is, with the tossing out of the old and tired there’s room for the new and beautiful. And that means it’s time to shop!
How about some decorative pillows for the living room? A new vase for the den? Or a weathered lantern, placed just so, to brings out the antique feel of your old steamer trunk?

Whatever you choose to do, remember that it only takes a small scattering of knickknacks and decorations can give every room in your home a new point of view, and a whole new personal narrative.

An Insider’s Tip on Interior Design

Sometimes, getting it right means getting it wrong first. So go ahead. Shop around. Take chances on things you like, and if they don’t look the way you thought they would after you’ve brought them home, bring them back to the store the next day. Most retail outlets have generous return policies, and knowledgeable managers who understand that even professional decorators sometimes need to see their purchase in situ, so relax and have fun. Just be sure you bring along your receipt, and you’ll have no trouble making the exchange.