Enter The Studio: Ashton Woods Customizes Consumer Experience

Enter The Studio: Ashton Woods Customizes Consumer Experience

Ashton Woods strives to be different, first, featuring a design center and, then, taking this idea of consumer personalization to the next plateau.

Thus, “The Studio” was born five years ago.

A concept exclusive to Ashton Woods, the company sets itself apart through these unique design centers, which utilize practical and digital experiences to provide an optimum, personalized experience for the homebuyer.

And, it all began with a conversation.

Scroll to the bottom and explore photos from Ashton Woods’ Studios in Houston, Atlanta and Austin.

Plus, a time lapse video of its Phoenix Studio’s construction over the course of three months!

Talking Leads to a Triad of Technology

“We were having a very important conversation about the role of technology inside of our studios and how we wanted them to service our customers,” says Leigh Spicher, national director of design studios for Ashton Woods.

First on the technology checklist was studio operation such as how to use lighting to improve the look of the center, how to design with energy efficiency in mind and how to factor in all tech-related costs.

The palette library in Houston's Studio.
The palette library in Houston’s Studio.

Secondly, Ashton Woods posed the question, “How do we want to use technology to help homeowners design their homes?” The answer comes in the form of massive, life-sized HD television screens that allow buyers to customize while feeling like they are actually inside of a specific room.

Spicher adds that while Ashton Woods isn’t working in this realm currently, infrastructure is built into these displays to eventually accommodate augmented reality and other future-thinking technologies.

Finally, and most importantly, the company places a strong emphasis on using its studios to focus on the actual technology that buyers can install in their homes.

“Most buyers, a high percentage of them, are visual,” says Jeremiah Marchand-Simons, studio manager for the design center in Austin, Texas. “If they see it, they’ll usually get it, whether it’s looking at a catalogue or seeing something on their phone.”

However, Ashton Woods takes this concept beyond a catalogue or phone. The studio experience allows users to interact directly with technology, which in turn can help boost sales.

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Lighting in "The Studio."
Lighting in “The Studio.”

From Smart Bulbs to Decked Out Media Rooms

All of the tech in Ashton Woods’ homes can be added on as an upgrade feature. This includes automation from URC and Elan, appliances from Whirlpool, KitchenAid and Genair, as well as smart locks from Kwikset.

The builder also works closely with lighting company, Ketra, using its smart bulbs, sensors and lighting control to educate people on the importance of light—from how circadian rhythms encourage heathier sleeping habits to how Kelvin temperatures of bulbs influence the interiors of spaces.

“They truly are a premium product,” says Marchand-Simons. “When it comes to lighting, the Ketra is your Mercedes. The features and the quality of light are just so much better.”

Despite this wide range of offerings, Marchand-Simons finds a large amount of homebuyers gravitating towards media rooms and entertainment-based technology.

“I’d say 30 to 40 percent of our buyers get a media room, and then deck it out fairly well,” he says.

A Personalized Digital Experience

While Ashton Woods already differentiates itself through “The Studio” and its many offerings, the company has one more trick up its sleeve for truly delivering on its personalization promise.

Every single division has an expert low voltage provider that buyers can meet with directly to learn more about the potential technologies that can be added into their homes. Spicher calls it “one of the best things I think we do at Ashton Woods.”

“The meeting is about personalizing the digital experience in the home,” says Spicher. “For us, to be able to provide the homeowner with a local expert, someone who is truly going to be able to deliver on what they specifically want in the home, will eliminate some of the challenge for them.”

Ashton Woods is truly setting itself apart from the national competition with these options. High design at an affordable price combined with tech-rich personalization and livability makes “The Studio” a concept worth revering.

EXPLORE “THE STUDIO”

Photos and video from Houston, Atlanta, Austin and Phoenix

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Houston

"Studio" in Houston.
“Studio” in Houston.
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Houston

About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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