In redesigning the Homemakers Furniture store in Des Moines, Iowa, architect International Design Forum was charged with creating a more contemporary, consistent and appealing furniture shopping experience that established the brand as an authority.

The architects were faced with several challenges. The old space was dark and had low ceilings, had a mechanical room near the main entrance that could not be moved and boasted a mezzanine level that historical underperformed. The new space also needed to highlight the chain’s expanded accessories offerings.

To deal with these challenges, the team came up with a design that raised ceiling levels and added new energy efficient lighting system. It also created a impulse accessories zone at entry, which is reinforced with additional column tower displays throughout the store. The new design also moved two destination categories (bedroom and mattresses) to the mezzanine while adding escalators to increase the flow of circulation through the store. Lastly, to hide the mechanical room, the team created a 16-foot square fireplace tower that serves the practical purpose of disguising it while providing a warm welcome inside the grand entrance.

The new open and inviting space breaks the typical furniture store paradigm. The designers evolved the plan from a generic grid of furniture pads into an open drive aisle flow, punctuated with brand experience moments that highlight key departments.

The palette of materials reflects Homemakers’ place in the market by using the latest styles as a backdrop to highlight its broad assortment. Flooring and ceiling details add residential warmth and realism to the enormous environment.

With a space of this size, it was essential to make it easy for the customer to understand and use the store, so the new design improved ease of access, visibility, vertical circulation, traffic flow, merchandise displays and check out.

Customers can pay for purchases in the front checkout area or at any of the 79 point-of-sale stations located throughout the store. These strategic towers play dual roles, carrying the brand message and serving as work stations where customers can find assistance, obtain information or place an order.

Project Name: Homemakers Furniture
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Square Footage: 400,000 square feet
Architects: Interbrand Design Forum
Client: Homemakers Furniture
Structural Engineer: LJB Inc.
Civil Engineer: Bishop Engineering
General Contractor: Hansen Company Inc.
Wall Panels: Marlite
Flooring – Carpet: Patcraft Commercial, Shaw Contract
Flooring – Wood: Shaw Hardwoods
Flooring – Tile: Daltile
Textiles: Knoll Textiles
Furniture: Furniture Lab, Kessler Industries, Cambridge Upholstery
Graphics: Design Fabrications
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Plastic Laminate: Wilsonart, Formica
Wallcovering: Koroseal