Archology

There Can Be Only One

[frame src=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_20100820_105321.jpg” width=”300″ lightbox=”on” title=”Unique Ceiling”]

A unique ceiling for a home that was designed to allow
natural lighting, ventilation, and a feature loft and light
fixture.

So, you’re designing a new house or addition and you’re on a tight budget.  Does this mean you’re stuck building the same bland box as everyone else, maximizing your space and minimizing your detail and whimsy?  I’d argue, no, you just have to be careful.  Everyone has enough in their budget for at least one unique feature and here’s why.  Spending the money to do one unusual, unique, inventive, or beautiful thing will not cost you more in design fees (or at least it shouldn’t, trust me, we get bored of doing boring boxes, we’d love the challenge of doing something unique on every project) and it doesn’t have to cost you more in construction costs, but when the time comes to sell, having that feature will help you stand out from a crowd and be memorable.

The trick is to first pick something useful or beautiful.  Sure, you can have the only house in the state that uses titanium siding, but that’s not likely to be a good selling point.  A good selling point might be a unique feature like a clerestory, dormer, ceiling, light fixture, balcony, extra insulation, a special bathroom or fixture, etc.  Something that is only moderately expensive but either enhances the value, function, or comfort of the house.  A lot of people are choosing to put their money into their kitchens and baths, and this is a valid option, but it’s also the least permanant.  Think about how quickly appliance and countertops go out of style and all that money you spent on that kitchen is now wasted because you have to redo it again before you can sell.  I would argue that recent surge in kitchen and bath spending is as much a function of flippers and HGTV as it is a good investment.  These influences aren’t there for the long haul, which is fine if you aren’t either, so try thinking bigger.

This is where getting an architect involved can be helpful.  We get innundated with new materials and products from manufacturers, and most of us keep up on current trends in the design world, so if you want something unusual, we’re you’re best shot of finding it.  Only once has a client surprised me with a product they wanted that I hadn’t heard of (although I called the manufacturer who I have worked with often that afternoon and got information on it, it was so new, that it was prohibitively expensive.)  If you want your house to be greener to save energy long term and boost resale value, let us know.  If you want a luxurious bath full of expensive tile and fixtures, let us know.  If you want a master bedroom that captures views and opens up to allow light and air in, let us know.  Really, we can usually help you realize any vision.

The trick is, to make the vision happen in your budget, which is where we get back to being smart.  If you want a green house, but can’t afford a ground source heat pump, maybe we just over insulate it and plan to replace or upgrade the heating sooner.  If you wanted a master bedroom full of glass, maybe we be selective on window size and placement to save some cash.  Getting an architect involved can help shape your desires to a remarkable space that is unique, memorable, and increases you’re pride of ownership and enjoyment of your house.