Saturday, March 13, 2010
VALUE, VALUE, VALUE: 21ST Century Accent on Design
With the current economic downturn, homeowner’s are not only seeking the ‘right’ location, they are seeking VALUE. Value matters because it insures security for the future, an investment that will increase its inherent worth. Homeowners want to invest in improvements that last. In addition, these home renovations – whether architectural or decorative – are a “return to basics;” that is, a return to core values, items that show a useful purpose and are not mere flourishes. Basics parley into quality investments where “less is more.”
In terms of Comfort, one needs to start with warm, inviting, casual environments. Neutral fabrics and colors for decorating the inside and solid building materials for constructing the exterior are all important. Not commercial grade fabrics, but good quality, long-lasting classic fabrics are essential to both the warmth and comfort of the family, who is now spending a lot more time at home. Soft fabrics, quiet fabrics (with little or less pronounced patterns) are timeless and best. For instance, velvets, smooth cottons, sueded leathers with tone on tone patterns create these more subdued images. Not slick, but soft; not loud, but subtle – these are the hallmarks of today’s style. In addition, more inviting furniture arrangements require an ambiance that allows for better communication, bringing people together.
Three aspects of home / apartment building assure good value: Kitchen renovations, bath renovations, and an excellent master plan. The first two working projects are obvious. Customers look at the state of the kitchen and bath when making explicit value judgments about home investments. David Estreich of Eastland Kitchen and Bath Design says, “What is less apparent, but more important, than the physical alterations to the kitchen or bath, is actually how a space “Feels.” He continues, “It is an implicit understanding that before a space can ‘look attractive, it must evoke a good feeling. It is not something seen; it is something felt. Therefore, one needs to get a good feeling.” The space flows, properly. Like a bespoke suit, it feels as though it was meant to be, falling into its proper place, fitting just right. No bias pulls, just soft and easy.
The Secret: An excellent Master Plan. The plan sets the pace, the pace sets the place. Like a puzzle, the pieces fit perfectly together. This is true Value. All great designers and architects know that to begin with the general, with a coherent concept is key to great architecture. This notion has fallen from design graces. We seem to think that pretty backgrounds, fancy furniture, fussy finishes will increase value. They do, but only after its foundations are set firmly in place. We value the explicit, where trends dictate perpetual change. But real inherent value lies in the subtle, quiet, classic and classy choices. When one enters a house or apartment, it is the entry which evokes a sensibility that all is well and in place. The rooms effortlessly flow from one to another. “Value” is knowing that your investment will last, that it will pass from one generation to another, if so desired. Quality generally infers something more expensive, but it also means a product that will be longer lasting, an investment that is not ‘spur of the moment’. It means thinking before buying, knowing that less is more and investing in a piece of furniture that will not depreciate the next month, but perhaps perpetuate. Well-upholstered pieces that will endure and solid finishes that are not flashy and cheap are those that will stand the test of time and endure.
Renovations need to be utilitarian, quality-conscious, and comforting, as more households spend more and more time at home. Along with kitchen and bath renovations, quality merchandise creating comfort and ease, the mark of design success is a great plan. VALUE, VALUE, VALUE is the keystone of today’s building marketplace.