Leading by Example
The home provided a fast-paced lesson for HiFi House in how to work with the other trades. It was crucial to find the best contacts for each company: the person who could be reached easily and who'd follow through on promised work. There was also some handholding: convincing the HVAC contractor it could hook up a Crestron thermostat, for example.
In the 2002 model home, Blanchard had to convince the builder that the theater walls should not be solidly attached to the ceiling and floor to improve the room's acoustics. When asking the builder to use special brackets, dry wall sheeting and rubber matting for sound dampening, says Blanchard, "they start looking at you funny. Normally they could dry wall a whole room in a half-hour. Now I've just made it a six-hour project."
Blanchard was stationed at the home to answer questions and demonstrate the systems. Blanchard doesn't see HiFi House's participation translating directly into sales, but he has encountered clients who have become more familiar with technology by touring design homes. That, by itself, makes it easier to talk with them about available options, he says.