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HGTV star speaks at South Forsyth Rotary Club luncheon
By: Isabel Hughes SOUTH FORSYTH -- Creative, authentic and personal while also practical: Chip Wade’s description of the key elements essential to a home improvement project also described the HGTV personality himself at the South Forsyth Rotary Club’s luncheon Wednesday. Wade, an Atlanta native, spoke at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center to club members and their guests about home improvement and the future of the business. Host of HGTV’s “Elbow Room” and contractor and master carpenter on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal: The Block,” Wade has also appeared on other HGTV shows, as well as on Oprah and CNN. At the luncheon, Wade focused on how practicality and usability are often neglected when homeowners are visualizing renovations and how 360-degree virtual reality video can help mitigate impracticability mistakes. “What if you knew exactly what your place was going to look like, how it was going to live, feel, react to you and how much it was going to cost, all before you ever jumped in the pool?” Wade said. That “what if” is what Wade and his wife, Pauli, are trying to answer with Wade Works Creative LLC, “a boutique architecture, design and real estate firm.” “Maybe that space is beautiful, but does it actually live really well?” Wade said. “You would assume [so]. But are you thrilled with that space two years after buying it? [Or] did you just spend $75,000 on a master bathroom that’s only fit for a magazine cover?” Often, he said, Pinterest designs don’t translate to livability, and too many people find that their new space isn’t actually practical for day-to-day use. But there is a way to make that space magazine-worthy and livable without needing to physically build anything, Wade said. With new computer-based visualization technology, he said, a person can see a three-dimensional rendering of a space, walk through it and get a feel for what it would be like to live there and also try out different furnishings and color palates. “Three-sixty viewability: you can see not just a panorama but actually walk [through], and it’s user driven. User-driven experience is really the key of where everything is going,” Wade said. Wade Works Creative has a full staff trained in architectural rendering, and Wade said an increasing number of designs his company creates are virtual. Wade and his team start with a generic plan and then begin “overlaying your aesthetic on top of [the plan], and in the end, it’s going to live really like you’re wanting it to live,” he said. And the technology is taking off. “We’re creating this to such an extent that the product catalogues you guys are seeing in your traditional home magazine, we’re doing it. These aren’t real spaces anymore,” Wade said. He said he believes this is the future of architectural design. “In the last year, technology has gotten to a place where we’re actually creating environments that are so realistic,” he said, “and because they are computer-generated, what we can do with them — customize them — is amazing.”