You know the old saying, pick two of the above. This is even more true today as rising prices and interest rates make people think harder about what they’re getting. We’re seeing more and more people capping the size of their house to save money. And this is, usually, a choice we can get behind. It depends a lot on your goals, but your budget is often dictated by how much even more than by how nice.
Size and Budget
This choice is what led to the old McMansions that are finally going out of favor. Huge houses with little detail or cheap finishes. You still see this in a lot of places and there are design trends that are solid approaches to a large, open plan. Barndominiums are a great example of large structures that are designed to maximize area under roof. However, they may lack the details or quality many people expect in their homes. This is usually the choice of someone with a large family. Or it can be someone who loves to entertain and needs a lot of space, but may not have the budget they’d like.
As a side note, the open plan is also starting to die out. Thanks to the pandemic, people had trouble using their wide open living spaces for multiple activities. Activities like home schooling and office work at the same time caused problems. This has led, maybe coincidentally or not, to homes with more discrete spaces. They can then be used for activities that might not need everyone but could use some privacy.
Size and Quality
This is the choice of the lucky few who have an unlimited budget. Actually, that’s not even a thing. There’s no such thing as unlimited money. Everyone has an amount they want to spend, the difference is usually how hard the cap is. This is usually someone who’s bought an expensive property and has the money or desire in the bank to maximally develop it. Usually the idea is that it’s going to be a legacy home to leave to their families. Sometimes it is a space for the entire extended family to gather on occasion. Once in a while, it’s intended to be multi-generational which helps defray costs of caring for grandma. Given the costs of assisted living, this can actually be cheaper than building smaller.
Quality and Budget
This is the trend that people are moving towards though, when they can compromise on space. We’ve been doing more and more homes that are not maximizing the area on the lot. These projects are renovating an existing structure rather than starting over. Sometimes they’re leaving room for future expansion, if needed. We’ve cut space out of existing designs to meet the budget. People are choosing, more and more, high quality places to live over having as much space as they can afford.
There are probably a few reasons for this. One can be the empty nester syndrome. A lot of designs, at least in our market, are for people who have grown children and don’t really need a ton of bedrooms. We still have people who design large houses for the grand kids. However, even then, a large bunk room for them to sleep in for a couple of days communally is often preferred to individual bedrooms or suites. In addition, in greying America, these homes are often the last home they plan to live in on their own. As such. they’d rather do it right once than renovate later. Lower maintenance costs, energy bills, and mortgages are all attractive when you’re looking at a future fixed income as well.
In the end, there is no “correct” balance between those factors. Your needs may vary, and may change over time. In which case, phased projects which may spread the cost out over years as you actually need expansion can be a good way to maximize your value. And maximizing value is the role of a good architect or designer. Our job is to listen to you, and help you choose from the array of options that comes with building a new home. And if we’re doing our job correctly, we can guide a client to the best balance of size, quality, and budget that they can achieve given their goals, money supply, and desired lifestyle.