Return to Information Selector A Testimonial and More...

The best testimonial to any business is the recognition that it receives in a public forum. It's especially compelling when that recognition is in the form of an article published by a prestigious paper such as the Chicago Tribune. A writer for the Tribune came across the booth for one of our licensed businesses (Home Visuals) at a home show in the Chicago area. The innovative aspects of the visualization service and its wide-scale appeal to the paper's subscribers caught the writer's attention. One thing led to another, resulting in the paper writing a featured article on the business.

A special thanks to Home Visuals for sharing their story (excerpts from the article are shown below). It's more than a testimonial because you'll gain a sense of how the business works and the benefits for a wide range of customers and applications. The article also humanizes what it's like to be a licensed owner of the business. Like yourself, our owners have interests and responsibilities other than their career. Fortunately, the business helps them to pursue these interests in a manner that was often more difficult or impossible to do previously.


Visualizing a remodel before it's a done deal

April 9, 2004

Most homeowners, even those with the keenest sense of style or artistic training, suffer the occasional buyer's remorse. The higher the expenditure, the more likely they are to second-guess their decisions. Buying an ottoman in the wrong color only dents the budget $100 or so. But, adding a room that doesn't fit the house or installing the wrong color siding are costly mistakes.

Enter Dolly Sinon. Armed with a digital camera, scanner, computer and reams of photo-quality paper, Sinon creates photographs of homes, with proposed cosmetic or structural changes included.

"Most people can't visualize the `after' picture," says Sinon, owner of Elburn-based Home Visuals. "This way, they can change their minds as often as they want before they make any purchases. I can help them get the `what ifs' out of the way--`What if we add a door here?' or `What if we choose a different kind of garage door?'"

A client can select a color with the assistance of Sinon's software then take a color printout to a store to have the paint matched.

For clients about to build new houses or begin remodeling, Sinon's images help them narrow down their decisions. Some clients have attached the images to their remodeling permit applications. A few new homeowners have used her service to create preliminary sketches for their landscape designs.

"I've even had a few clients who have made copies for neighbors to show them their remodeling plans, so the neighbors know what to expect," says Sinon. "They could also use them to get approval from homeowners' association boards."

Sinon begins by photographing the client's house. She enters the photos and/or blueprints in her computer program, then adds rooms, dormers, roofs or whatever is on the client's wish list. Clients can order hard-copy images, which look like photographs of the finished projects, or CDs. They also can access their images through Web pages, which Sinon links to her Web site.

Sinon keeps each client's project linked to her Web site until the project is completed, so the client can continue to make changes. Some clients invite their subcontractors to access their pages, too, to view proposed changes.

The cost, Sinon says, is in the set-up. (The base price is $100 to $300 for projects that involve cosmetic changes, extensive remodeling and whole-house plans are more.) No matter how many times the client changes the type of kitchen countertop or the color of the dining room walls, the cost remains the same.

In addition to homeowners, Sinon's clients include small- to medium-size contractors who use her service to help their clients visualize proposed projects. They include new-house builders, remodelers and specialty contractors, including one who builds outdoor kitchens.

"It helps him in the winter, especially, because he can use the service to `remove' the snow and `add' some flowers," she says.


Dolly Sinon (right) uses a computer to help clients envision the remodel of their home's exterior.

Sinon launched her business in 2002. Home Visuals has grown through word-of-mouth. News of Sinon's service travels quickly through neighborhoods in which remodeling is common, such as a Fox Valley subdivision where dozens of homeowners are replacing their faulty synthetic stucco exteriors with siding or brick.

The mother of three sons, ages 12 to 19, Sinon is a native of Evergreen Park. Now, she's raising her children in Elburn, in a neighborhood where she says, "everyone's watches out for everyone else's kids." In her free time, she coaches her sons' soccer teams and reads the books her sons are assigned at school. "Now, it's `Animal Farm,'" she reports.

Now that her own house is 17 years old, Sinon says, she, too, is remodeling. She uses her Home Visuals program to visualize changes she is considering.

Last year, she finished her basement and tiled a bathroom floor. This year, she plans to paint the living room. She's considering a bold cranberry paint, or perhaps a subdued tan. Or, maybe cranberry on the fireplace wall and...

Whatever she dreams up, her computer helps her "see" it before it's done.

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One on one with Dolly Sinon

Q. What's the upside of running this business?

A. It's something new; people didn't used to have this option. As a mom, having my own business enables me to work around my kids' schedules. I can drive them to their after-school activities then get back to work in the evening.

Q. What's the downside of this business?

A. It is so much fun, I spend too much time on each project. I have to remind myself to stick to whatever the client requests.

Q. How would you have used your service to change your own house that you built before you launched this business?

A. I would have made the bedrooms bigger and added a front porch. And, with three boys and two dogs, why didn't I include a mudroom? If I had Home Visuals then, I could have `walked' through the house and seen my mistakes before I built it.

Sinon's after image of the client's house, with new cultured stone and cedar siding.





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Last update: 11/28/17