Home Depot's recent purchase of Creative Touch Interiors (CTI), a San Diego-based installer of flooring, countertops and window treatments and a provider of design services for home builders, is another example of Home Depot's ongoing expansion far past its core focus on sales to home owners.

While Home Depot does not yet install electrical systems, at least one industry observer says the company wants to dramatically increase its installation service offering in the near future.

Walt Stoeppelwerth, a columnist for Remodeling magazine who has tracked Home Depot for years, believes by 2005 Home Depot will offer to install every product it sells. The company already provides some lighting design service through its Atlanta-based Georgia Lighting Supply Co. Inc. subsidiary, a residential lighting distributor it purchased in 1999.

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution that was published by www.builderonline.com, Home Depot wants a bigger share of the $32 billion installation services market and last year did 2.2 million installations (approximately 10,000 each weekday). Its 2002 net service revenue was $2 billion, driven by the installation of roofing, heating and cooling systems, countertops, sheds and fencing for home owners who wanted to purchase materials and hire a contractor from one company.

The 200-employee CTI is now part of Home Depot's Builder Solutions Group, which offers turnkey solutions in flooring, countertops, window treatments and design services for the largest home builders in the United States.

Home Depot launched its Builder Solutions Group in 2002 when it acquired several flooring installers. The Builder Solutions Group operates design centers and coordinates the supply chain for flooring, window coverings and countertops, from assisting home owners in their selection through finished product installation.

With the addition of CTI, Builder Solutions Group now operates locations in 13 states and the District of Columbia.