We shake our heads in wonder with the news that legendary toy store FAO Schwarz has moved into the custom homebuilding business. With prices starting at $10,000, we scratched our heads and wondered what responses might come from the likes of Toll Brothers, Hovnanian and Centex. What fun might this ultimate toy store have up its sleeve?
A little more research reveals that FAO has cleverly moved into the "mini-me" end of the homebuilding business and may have trumped Neiman Marcus for the coolest gift of the season. As an exclusive service to their customers, FAO Schwarz will now build an "exquisitely detailed scale model of your own home, beach house, or ski chalet." The process and results appear to be pretty amazing.
During the first step of the homebuilding process, the toy emporium sends its design team to your home to record and measure the details of the home to be duplicated. Once back in the design studio, skilled artisans will recreate each part of your home in 1:12 scale. If the client wishes, they will even replicate the wallpaper, paint colors, lighting and upholstery finishes. If the original wallpaper or fabric swatches are available, those will be used. If not, the material will be recreated.
Appointments will start in January, 2007. For additional information about these miniaturized homes, call one of FAO Schwarz' Personal Shoppers at 212-644-9400, x4173.
I am wondering what business or challenges this might create for Craig Schiller and other Home Stagers of note? This rests somewhere between McMini's and Barbie Manses. On the other hand, building of this sort might make San Diego real estate more affordable....