By Rich Binsacca. "In merchandising, the purpose is to engage all of the senses," says Gabe Pasquale, vice president of marketing for Spectrum Skanska, a builder in Valhalla, N.Y. "Color engages both emotion and feel. You hit two senses at once."

At Mansion Ridge, a 220-unit community of golf villas in Monroe, N.Y. (about 60 miles from Manhattan), Pasquale needed to merchandise models to attract above-market prices. "The townhome market was dead above $300,000," he says. "We needed to design something that would change the perception of the market and attract a higher-profile buyer."

Color became an obvious -- and distinctive -- way to push the envelope. On volume spaces and accent areas, especially, Pasquale and interior designer Lita Dirks sought to use color and texture to create "flash points" that would be memorable to prospective buyers. "Our philosophy is, 'if you spend the money to build it, you should spend the money to show it off'," says Pasquale.

The Highland model's formal living room, for instance, features a tapestry over the fireplace to accentuate the height of the wall, while bold colors pervade the kitchen, bedrooms, and baths. "We wanted to be playful with color and texture," says Pasquale, who warns that such a tactic requires a patient painting subcontractor.

Photo: Fred Forbes & Associates

A dramatic tapestry over the fireplace adds color and texture to the living room of the Highland model and reduces the mass of the two-story chimney wall. In the guest bedroom, the design team recycled tin ceiling tiles to create a unique and charming headboard. "Its texture and Old World style creates impact and a memory," Pasquale notes.

Mansion Ridge opened in June 2001 with prices in the low $300s and is poised to sell out ahead of schedule this year. Several buyers have taken the hint and incorporated more color in their homes. "They find that color really adds a lot to their homes, in terms of comfort and sophistication," says Pasquale.

Campaign Details

Program: Interior merchandising; Builder/Developer: Spectrum Skanska, Valhalla, N.Y.; Price: low $300,000s; Interior designer: Lita Dirks & Co., Englewood, Colo.

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