Six years ago, in the midst of the recession, the battle cry in housing was “Price Point!” Thankfully, times have changed; the economy has improved and buyers are in search of value. While remaining cautious conservative, buyers are looking for the merger of price point and “design difference makers” that provide them something new, different, and special. To address this trend, our firm has begun integrating what we call “I Deserve It Features” into our designs. These often become features that buyers use to identify and differentiate our builder clients in the market.
The notion of “I Deserve It Features” was first identified back in 1991 by trend forecaster Faith Popcorn and the concept rings true today. Popcorn observed that consumers want more than strict utility; they want to be pampered and nourished by their purchase. Where else better to apply this notion than in the home? “I Deserve it Features” are an indulgence, an emotional reward that goes beyond standard amenities and accessories.
Here are five value-based design attributes for today’s market:
- Enduring Design: This allows owners to remain in the home for longer periods of time—perhaps from kindergarten to cap and gown without the need to move. The home flexes to a family’s changing needs. Enduring design enhances functionality of the home.
- Enhanced Specifications: Buyers notice and are willing to pay for higher quality materials and sustainability-based construction.
- Lifestyle Focused Spaces: Designs must integrate the rooms, spaces, and features of today’s lifestyles and market segments.
- Flex Spaces: Found throughout the home, these spaces can support a wide range of uses that can be determined by the buyer based on need and timing.
- Special Feeling Spaces: These provide opportunities for escape and rejuvenation, a chance to nurture the soul. These spaces take you away from the rat race…if only for a few minutes.
Here are examples of how to incorporate a few “I Deserve it Features” into your plans:
The Kitchen: Upgrades in materials and appliances are a great opportunity to utilize IDIF. Consider substituting recycled glass or polished concrete in place of granite counters giving your buyer an opportunity to be ‘Green’. Added design features such as entertainment centers and replacing the underused butler’s pantry with a kitchen alcove are considerations of today’s lifestyles.
The Master Bath has become the spa bath; no news here.Glass-wrapped showers appointed with benches and overhead showerheads add sophistication. The master tub seems to be disappearing. (Is it the living room of this decade?)
Flex Rooms. They may take the form of an enlarged owner’s entry, a second study, a music alcove off the family room, a kids’ electronic gaming room, a study area, or a project room.
The Owners’ Entry is a highly-used portal between the garage and home. Organization accessories, storage, benches, and counters stand out as details that make this zone particularly useful. This area can also serve as a home management hub and even include a project alcove—but never the laundry.