In a world where everything has gone digital, our Online Design Centre has proven to be an innovation ahead of its time.
Launched in 2017 and revamped in the past year, the Online Design Centre “is the digital version of our Design Centre,” says Heidi Hayley, who is Tartan’s Marketing & Digital Design Centre Director and the brainchild behind this wonderfully helpful and unique tool.
What is the Online Design Centre?
Basically, it’s a digital catalogue of all the options available through the Tartan Homes Design Centre and it’s meant to help show Ottawa new home buyers what options are available for their chosen floor plan.
“Everything you can do in the Design Centre is on there, including a picture of every tile, carpet, cabinet and more, that are available to you.” Hayley says.
Design Centre Manager Anna Riopelle says the online tool lets new home buyers start the process of choosing the features and finishes they want to see in their new home. Every Tartan home comes with an included (or standard) selection of features and finishes, things like tile, flooring, cabinetry, faucets, and much more. But there are also many other choices they can opt to buy, choices that are referred to as upgrades.
The Online Design Centre lets buyers — from the comfort of their own home and at their convenience — start the journey of personalizing and customizing their new Tartan home, making a wish list of all the possible choices they might want to consider.
“The Design Centre Online allows our purchasers to see specific upgrades available for their home”, says Riopelle.
It is an introduction to the design process that saves buyers from feeling overwhelmed when it is time for their Design Centre appointments, Riopelle says. It also allows our purchasers to manage their spending expectations and not feel bombarded by prices.
Just the first step
It’s important to note that the Online Design Centre is not meant for making final choices. That will be done when a buyer meets with their Design Centre Co-ordinator. The online tool is really for introducing buyers to the many options available, what they cost if they’re not included in the price of the home, and for making a wish list.
Will your powder room have a pedestal sink or a vanity? What style of sink might you want? And what type of faucet? Perhaps you know you want a pedestal, but not necessarily which one. Your wish list can include as many of the pedestal choices as you’d like.
Once the wish list has been made with the Online Design Centre tool, then you will meet with your Design Centre Co-ordinator to go through your choices, to see them and get guidance on making final selections that work seamlessly in your new home and that fit in your budget.
How do I get started?
About a month before you’re scheduled to meet with your Design Centre Co-ordinator, you’ll be given credentials to log in to the Online Design Centre. The tool includes an orientation to the platform, information on what upgrades are, why they cost what they do and why they take time to incorporate into the building of your home, and information on the design process.
Then you can take your time going through all the options, which are generally organized by room. The online tool lets you see which features and finishes are included with your home, which ones are extra and how much they cost, what a particular tile pattern or cabinet finish will look like, and what the running tally is of upgrades you’re considering. It also offers you model homes to view for inspiration.
“We don’t expect people to come in at the beginning of their Design Centre appointment and be finished,” says Riopelle. “The DC Online is a great starting point for our purchasers to have given thought to their choices. It also helps our staff to get a sense of the purchaser’s design style so that we can be of greater assistance to them.”
Why is the Online Design Centre innovative?
It’s innovative for two reasons:
- Tartan Homes was the first in Ottawa to introduce this kind of tool.
- No one else has a tool like this that is as user-friendly, intuitive and extensive.
It’s so innovative, in fact, that it won Tartan Homes a sales and marketing award from the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association and was a finalist at the national Canadian Home Builders’ Association awards.
“It definitely gives a far greater starting point than new home buyers can get from other builders,” says Riopelle. “It sparks people’s creativity.”
How did it come about?
The Online Design Centre tool (also referred to as DC Online) was the brainchild of Heidi Hayley, who has been with the company for 12 years. It was when she went through the home buying process herself that the idea occurred to her.
Combining her knowledge of database work with her experience at Tartan, she thought, “Wow, this should be online.” She began working on the project in her spare time “and then it evolved into what it is today.”
Feedback from buyers has been overwhelmingly positive, says Riopelle.
“The DC Online was a terrific tool that served us very well when we were planning our new home,” say buyers Jerry and Oksana Sikorski. “Having the chance to look over available options from the comfort of our home allowed us to manage our spending expectations and get inspired. We found the design centre process extremely organized and stress-free!”
For more on Tartan’s Online Design Centre, check out this video introduction.