The first home show specifically geared toward remodeling ideas and projects takes place this weekend at the Dulles Expo Center.
“For the past 10 years, we’ve had the spring and fall home shows and huge numbers of people are coming to these shows looking for remodeling ideas,” said Annmarie Kelschenbach, executive sales representative for DMG World Media, the company that presents the shows.
“There seems to be a huge need for this type of thing. With real estate as expensive as it is, people are deciding to make their current home their dream home,” she said.
The excitement for the show is apparent: it usually takes 11 months to organize and sell exhibit space for a show of this size, and DMG has put it together in a little over four months.
“The companies we went after to be included were chosen because they had something unique to the area,” Kelschenbach said. Plans for next year’s show are already underway, with hopes to include more local vendors.
“Northern Virginia is an excellent market and the housing market there has been growing by leaps and bounds every year,” said Kim Giordano, the show’s manager. “Real estate is so expensive, people are looking to remodel what they have.”
The vendors participating in the show reflect the major interests and areas of remodeling, she said.
“Windows, doors, roofing and siding are always big areas when it comes to remodeling, we’re still seeing that trend,” she said. “The nice thing about these shows is that they allow for one on one contact, which is important for the consumers and the contractors.”
WHEN SOMEONE is spending “thousands and thousands of dollars on a project, it’s good to have the chance to talk to a lot of contractors about it,” she said.
Chase Floors and Tile owner Mike Salimi said he’s been participating in various home shows for about eight years and prefers to exhibit in shows in Northern Virginia over Washington D.C., because most of his clients are from the Fairfax County area.
“We have a 10-foot by 10-foot booth which will have a display of hardwood, carpet, tile and some granite, Corrian and Zodiac countertops,” he said. “Everything we sell we install.”
For every $2,000 purchase, Chase Floors will take $200 off, Salimi said. “We’ll also be giving away pens and pencils with our names on them and a lot of brochures,” he said. “We remodel bathrooms from scratch and are capable of doing plumbing and kitchen work besides the floors we do, along with custom staircases and handrails.”
Changing the floors in a room has a great impact on the feel of the room, he said. “Hard surface floors add value to a house. If you spend $5,000 on a floor, you’ll most likely get $10,000 more if you sell the house,” he said. “It’s a good investment.”
Steve Ginsberg, co-owner of Preferred Siding in Reston, said his company offers fiber cement siding, an alternative to vinyl siding that looks better and proves to be more durable over time.
“This is a unique, upscale siding that looks like wood but is made out of cement,” he said. “We’ll have some samples at the show along with some pictures of jobs we’ve done.”
Changing the exterior of a home is one way of remodeling, Ginsberg said. “When the outside material begins to fade and people want to maintain the aesthetics of the house, this is an alternative they might want to consider,” he said. “When people get tired of painting their homes, we come in.”
Preferred Siding has been around for “many years,” he said, but he still hopes to continue spreading the word about the services they provide.
“In this market, this type of siding is a new market. We’re the only show room in the area dedicated to this type of siding.”
In fact, they’re the only show room in the country dedicated entirely to the Jim Hardie siding they sell, Ginsberg said.
“We focus on the details up front” when starting a project, he said. “The installation can get pretty complex. We try to exceed consumer expectations and we’ve never had a warranty callback.”
“USUALLY, REMODELING is about doing an addition, gutting a room, things like that,” said Sandra Hambley, regional director of Décor and You in Vienna.
“Remodelers sometimes don’t work with designers or decorators when working on a project,” she said. “One little change in a room can throw everything off.”
She was called in once to help a family whose kitchen, originally designed to have an island in the center for up to four children to sit at, had been slightly modified and could only fit three. “The whole plan was ruined,” she said.
Designers can be called in during a remodeling project to “talk with the homeowners and builders during the design state so when someone has a specific idea in mind, the project will be able to work,” she said.
“People want to put a king-sized bed in a room but don’t measure for them,” Hambley said. “People don’t think about functional things like they’re supposed to sometimes, and form always follows function for us, as it should.”
Participating in the home shows, and the remodeling show, helps to foster relationships with contractors and customers alike, she said. “Usually, we give seminars about different topics like color, which are really well attended, but not this show.”
Their booth will have new fabrics, furniture styles, window treatments and texture ideas, she said. “We’re expanding our market tremendously and as reputable remodelers we might be able to help avoid simple mistakes however we can.”
TWO OF THE NEWER companies in the area, Windows to View and Fairfax Marble and Granite, both of Chantilly, are hoping to take their expertise and expand their business through participation in the Remodeling Expo.
“We’ve been in business about five months, but between Fazli and myself we have about 25 years of experience,” said Linda Teel, sales representative for Fairfax Marble and Granite. Fazli Celik, the owner of the company, owns and operates a similar operation in his native Turkey.
“We are natural stone fabricators,” she said, fabricating and installing marble, granite, sandstone, limestone and other natural stone fixtures from vanities and tabletops to full panels in homes and commercial projects.
At the Expo, they will have several 8-foot-tall panels of stone to allow passersby the chance to get a close up look at the styles they offer, she said. “We’d like to see some orders come in and develop a relationship with some of the contractors at the show as well,” Teel said.
“We went into business because we feel that, in some other operations, they don’t have the same level of integrity and quality as we want to show,” she said. “We won’t put something into someone’s home that we wouldn’t put into our own.”
Kim Lawrence relocated to Northern Virginia from Richmond last summer and is hoping to “get some name recognition” through participating in the Expo.
A designer and creator of window treatments, Lawrence uses a “technological approach” to designing drapes, curtains, blinds, shutters and shades for a room.
“I have a program that allows me to input the measurements of the walls and windows in a room that will give the customer a chance to visualize what the treatments will look like,” she said. “It’s a good tool for people who can’t visualize it in their heads.”
She hopes to develop a customer base in the area. “Face to face time with a customer is so much better than just sending a piece of mail,” she said. “It also helps to know the person when you’re designing something for their home.”