For more than a month, Lindsey Semonski and Spencer Strickler, both 17 and students at East Peoria Community High School, have been designing the interior of a new house. But this isn't just any house. It is the Homeway Homes house set to rise later this week inside the Peoria Civic Center as the centerpiece of the Home Builder's Association of Greater Peoria's 2010 Spring Home Show.
She calls herself a "scrapbook-aholic." He's a self-professed HGTV junkie.
Together their passions blend into the perfect talent for tackling a monumental challenge sure to be unmatched by any area high schooler.
For more than a month, Lindsey Semonski and Spencer Strickler, both 17 and students at East Peoria Community High School, have been designing the interior of a new house.
But this isn't just any house. It is the Homeway Homes house set to rise later this week inside the Peoria Civic Center as the centerpiece of the Home Builder's Association of Greater Peoria's 2010 Spring Home Show.
"It's been a lot of fun," said Semonski, the project leader. "I've learned to take more of a leadership role rather than following other people's ideas. It will help me a lot in college."
The pair have been the creative geniuses behind everything that will go inside the house. Their first assignment was to select paint colors for the 2,032 square-foot, ranch-style house that features 9-foot ceilings, three bedrooms, two and a half baths and a living room with a corner fireplace.
"Me and Lindsey have never worked together," said Strickler. "We both have the same taste colorwise (and) everything (else) we picked out."
The pair also visited Bed, Bath & Beyond in Peoria for bathroom and bedding accessories. They selected furniture from the Homeway Homes model homes to be used throughout the house. Accent pieces were picked from Little Betty's Designs in Morton.
"I honestly didn't think it was so much work or as expensive as it is," said Semonski. "If we didn't have the vendors then we probably wouldn't be able to do the project because the furniture and stuff is so expensive."
Semonski and Strickler were chosen out of a group of six students from the high school to be the designers for the home. While they have collaborated on most phases of the project, they individually are responsible for designing the layout of each room.
Strickler did his design work on a computer using a 3-D design layout program. Semonski tapped her scrapbooking skills and presented her design in a portfolio.
The high school's design teacher, Jo Moore, will judge both of their designs with help from a group of professional designers. Individual design ideas will then be chosen and implemented in the house.
"The two students work extremely well together and have been a joy to work with," said Moore. "Our field trips and work hours together have been some of the best in my career.
"They both have outstanding work ethic, professional attitudes and unique taste in design. They have an eye for using the elements and principles of design."
Moore's repeated class trips with her students over the last five years to tour the Homeway Homes construction facility in Deer Creek and model homes in Goodfield unknowingly put her on the company's radar. In a good way.
"When we were looking at this home show we were looking for something different to jazz it up and get community involvement, give it a little different draw," said Homeway Homes general manager Ted Schieler. "It was the first thing that came to mind" to correlate Moore's students into the design phase.
So the idea was born to solicit design ideas from high school students as a way to give them real exposure to the field of interior design. Schieler contacted the high school and was directed to Moore, who put the project into action.
"Its been wonderful," said Schieler. "They seem to be really excited about the opportunity."
Strickler said he volunteered for the project because when he was a little kid he always liked rearranging furniture in his playroom. That constant need to redecorate or try out new ideas has continued into his teens.
"Now when I'm bored, I rearrange my room," he said.
The inside walls of the Homeway Homes house are already painted and are scheduled to be brought to the Civic Center on Tuesday. Furniture and other accessories will begin to arrive Thursday evening and Friday morning.
From there, it will be a race against time for the show's opening to set up the house according to Semonski and Strickler's designs. The students won't find out until Wednesday which designs Moore selected. The trio will help with setup on Friday, making final decisions on room arrangements.
"I'm excited Friday night to see the reaction from all of the people coming through, to see how they really feel about it," said Strickler.
Leslie Williams can be reached at (309) 686-3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.