by: Vern Uyetake, The Renaissance design center team photographed in December 2005. From left, Jean Johnson, Amy Weber, Heather Donnelly and Darby Sargent help clients choose personal selections when building their dream home. The center is set up like a Renaissance Home so clients can view materials, such as light fixtures.

Renaissance Homes has always prided itself on its ability to give its customers what they want. Those who purchase a home from the company have the unique opportunity to pick and choose what goes into the final product, everything from light fixtures to countertops.

Renaissance's lavish design center in Lake Oswego gives buyers the chance to stroll through model rooms in a relaxed environment while picking out the details for their dream home.

'The goal was to make (the design center) feel like a home. We wanted this beautiful center that really works well for the customer,' said Heather Donnelly, Director of Design and Merchandising for Renaissance Homes.

Donnelly was one of the co-creators of the 1,200 square-foot design center, which was recently honored nationally at an event in Florida.

At the National Builder Conference in Orlando, Fla., the company won the Gold Award for Best Professional Design Center.

'It's a pretty big deal and we're thrilled. We knew we were getting an award but we didn't know it would be the top prize,' Donnelly said.

A handful of employees, including Donnelly and company president Randy Sebastian, attended the black-tie event and received the award.

Renaissance was nominated along with a number of other design centers across the country. Judges took into account the variety and quality of products offered to customers as well as the center's overall appearance.

'It's really one-stop shopping. Everything is right there,' Donnelly said.

The current design center has only been open for a year and a half and was created and built by Renaissance Homes employees. Along with Donnelly, Robert Wood (Vice President of Central Oregon Operations), Jean Johnson (Design Center Manager), Dennis McCrea (Project Manager) and Darby Sargent (Design Center Consultant) all had a hand in putting together the facility which is only open by appointment to Renaissance Home owners.

'We also really appreciate our trade partners who came in and did things like paint and sheet-rock. We couldn't have done it without them,' Donnelly said.

In addition to the Gold Award for the design center, Renaissance Homes also received a Silver Award for Best Green Building Marketing Campaign.

Renaissance has recently started a promotion in which buyers of select homes are also given a Smart Car, which gets 50 miles per gallon of gas.

The Design Center is located at 16889 SW 65th Ave. in Lake Oswego.

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