For five years Boston magazine’s annual Design Home event has shared the latest home building and decorating trends and inspired new ideas for visitors while supporting local charities. Builder and developer Eugene Mattie loved the program but saw some great opportunities in marketing these distinctive homes to people in the area.
The site for the Design Home was located in Mattie’s exclusive Cowings Cove development in Norwell, Mass. Cowings Cove was developed so each of the seven home sites exist in harmony with their natural surroundings, bounded by stone walls and walking trails that he purposefully preserved to be enjoyed by everyone. Andersen windows are the standard specification in Cowings Cove. “Andersen affords itself fantastic brand recognition and a great warranty,” Mattie said. “It gives me the confidence to install them, and know customers will be happy. I'm also extremely impressed by the diversity of Andersen's product line. No matter what the application, Andersen seems to have the right product.”
When Mattie — a third-generation builder with a lifelong connection to the area and, it just so happens, an undergraduate degree in marketing — was invited to build this year’s home, he came to the planning meeting with some unique ideas to leverage the high-end look with some lofty promotions. “This project gets some incredible visibility in the magazine, so why shouldn’t local celebrities be connected with it?” was the question Mattie posed to the planning group.
For the Boston Design Home, it was the custom Andersen window on the third floor that inspired Mattie’s unique approach to marketing the property. The space was intended to be a game room, but the dramatic window design took Mattie’s mind another direction: an ultimate Mom’s Retreat, specified and furnished by Lisa Donovan, a popular local radio personality with a large drive-time audience. Donovan’s work on the Mom’s Retreat became a natural conversation topic on her show. In the kitchen, he invited celebrity chef Paul Wahlberg to review the plans and change the design to suit the needs of more adventurous foodies. Perhaps the most compelling marketing technique was what was found inside the garage. While most model homes save the garage space to house a resource library with sponsor information, Mattie wanted to keep it a garage space, and fill the driveway with high-end BMWs from an area dealership. Doing so not only completed the picture of an occupied home that visitors would see as they entered the front door, but also as they left through the garage. According to Mattie, it sets a mental trigger for what people aspire to and what they dream of seeing in their ultimate home.
The marketing techniques might seem basic on paper, but Mattie hadn’t had an opportunity to apply them to a house before. This included partnering with Derby Street Shoppes, a destination retail center nearby, to promote an all-day adventure including lunch and shopping at the retail center before stopping at the Design Home for a tour. The effort expanded the reach of the home from a one-hour driving radius to well over a two-hour driving radius.
“The outpouring of support has been tremendous,” said Mattie. “It really paid off.”
For more information on the home, visit http://www.bostonmagazine.com/boston-design-home/index.html.