It’s all for sale

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alice Alexander and Joan Belton enjoy an outside living area in the Charity House at the 2010 spring Homearama in Founder’s Pointe in Carrollton. Décor in the homes at Homearama is always for sale, including indoor and outdoor furniture, artwork, rugs, lamps, plates, linens and towels.

In a couple of weeks, the nine Homearama houses will open to the public, and real estate agents will be hustling to remind visitors that the homes are most definitely for sale.

But there’s more for sale at Homearama than houses. Almost everything inside of the homes is up for grabs, as well.

Items in the houses, including indoor and outdoor furniture, artwork, rugs, lamps, plates, linens and towels, are all for sale.

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“There’s going to be signs that say ‘Everything is on sale,’” said Cathy Tellefsen, of Complete Interiors, who is decorating and furnishing the Tribute to the City of Suffolk house. “Everything will have price tags on it.”

Another Homearama designer, Beth Gilbert, of Gilbert Interiors, who is doing the interior decorating for two of the houses, said selling the furnishings during the show benefits the builders, the designers and the companies doing the loaning.

“We try to pre-sell as much stuff along the way as we can,” she said. “It’s less work at the end getting everything out of the house, and it benefits our vendors who provide the items.”

Although the interior pieces have always been for sale at Homearama, the Tidewater Builders Association used to wait until after the show concluded to hold a furniture sale for interested buyers.

But in recent years, TBA has wanted to press the sale of the items from the beginning of the show, Tellefsen said.

“People have sort of always known they could purchase things,” she said. “We’ve been trying to push it from the very beginning of the show.”

Tellefsen, who has done interior design for Homearama homes since 1994, said companies haven’t been as willing to loan items to the interior designers to use in the houses in recent years because they aren’t confident the items will sell.

“We’ll be able to push selling these items as an incentive for companies to loan things,” she said.

So, while there will still be a furniture sale on Oct. 31, Homearama guests can also purchase things as they tour the homes. They can also just let the designer know they are interested in something and buy it later.

Also, the home furnishings are marked down to encourage people to buy.

“In most cases, things are discounted,” Tellefsen said. “We’re trying to get everybody who donated to give the bottom-line price from the beginning.”

She said companies usually take about 10 to 30 percent off of their items during Homearama.

Schewels Furniture Company, which is providing furniture for the Suffolk house, is offering the furniture at 50 percent off the comparable retail prices, said Charles Hearn, the manager for the store on North Main Street.

“It’s a huge savings,” he said.

But for Hearn, participating in Homearama is not just about selling furniture.

“We aren’t known as much in northern Suffolk as I would like,” he said. “This is a way to get our name out in northern Suffolk.”

Gilbert said in most of the Homearamas she has participated in, almost all of the accessories featured in the homes have sold.

“The higher-priced items don’t sell as quickly,” she said. “The rugs and the outdoor furniture are sometimes the hardest to sell because of their price points.”

Although everything is for sale at Homearama and can be paid for at any time, people will not be able to take their purchases home the same day.

Gilbert said the items have to remain in the homes until the end of the showcase to keep the design intact for other Homearama guests to enjoy.

Homearama opens Oct. 15 in The Riverfront community at Harbour View and runs until Oct. 30. Tickets for the event are $10 for a one-day pass and $17 for two days.