Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Pulp - Builders vs. Designers

As I look through the hundreds of houses that are for sale there is one thought that always comes to mind, "what were these people thinking!" It's very rare to find true craftsmanship in home building. It's more about the bottom dollar.  Why are we allowing Builders to define the look of our neighborhoods? Our neighborhoods help define the landscape of our city, so we are we allowing Builders to design our neighborhoods when that is not their expertise. Before I go much further, let me say that this does not apply to all builders out there, there is always the exception.

Builders build homes, they get the job done, but they do not have the education and expertise for designing a home the way an Architect or Interior Designer does.  Many times in a Builder home, they lack detail.  They lack the basic elements of design; scale, proportion, color, space, etc.  Their designs have no reference to a style or region.  And if they do, it just looks like a sad attempt at best.  Just to prove my point, I want you to look through these houses that are currently for sale in Frisco, TX.

House # 1

 You will see this exterior again, and not even from the same builder. There is not defined style?  Is it french? or Texas?  The front porch throws off the french style totally.  

 These stairs are way too close to the front door. It's hard to tell in this picture but keep looking.

 Carpet in the dining room? BTW this is an over $400,000 house!  The crown molding and base trim is under scaled for the space.  

 Aww the angled fireplace with weird TV indention. You will see a lot of these when looking at houses. 

Lacks detail and the cabinets really should go to the ceiling.

 Very typical and ugly bathroom. The sconces should be mounted on either side of your face for the best lighting.  Why do Builders insist on mounting them above (esp. since the mirror is so big)?  This bath says nothing about the style of the house.

House # 2

 hmmm, I have been here before.  Where do I begin.....The stone and brick should at least be designed so that the stone looks real.  It's the same depth which means it's fake.  What style is this?  English? French?

 Yep, there are those carpeted stairs.

 Crown molding that is very under-scaled for this space.

 There's that angled fireplace with TV indention again!

House # 3

 Are you starting to see my point?

 These stairs are all wrong! They are too close to the front door and there isn't enough room to walk around them.

 Who came up with this TV indention!!?? 

 No crown molding and no window trim + cheap carpet = poor craftsmanship! All of these houses I am showing you are well over $400,000!

House # 4

 I am starting to wonder why Builders in Frisco are obsessed with turrets.  I don't even know what to say about this style-huh?

 This is all wrong! You don't want your house to just open up into a big wide open space. There is not receiving area for people to be welcomed into the house gradually. Also, these ceiling are way to tall for this area.

 I can't look at another TV indention!

 No crown molding and I think we've seen this kitchen 3 other times!

House # 5

Deep breathe...ugly garage doors, the lights fixtures are way to small, very funky roof...turret again.

 No crown and tiny base! Somebody doesn't know the importance of scale.

 Are you seeing a pattern?

 It is quite funny to see how people fill their TV indention spot.

House # 6

 I am running out of things to say because all these pictures look the same!

 Can you guess what I am going to say? Yep, no crown and no window trim!  Sometimes having no crown or trim is good- like in an Italian or Tuscan style home but they didn't even come close to achieving this look.

Let me just remind you that all of these houses cost over $400,000! That is just crazy to me. With such a lack of design, style and detail it's very obvious that the only reason these houses cost that much is sq. footage. So again, I ask you, why are we settling for gigantic houses with no attention to detail. I challenge you to buy houses or build houses that have design and craftsmanship. Yes, it is more expensive to have details but do you really need 4,500 sq. ft of living space? 

I am the type of person who really appreciates creativity and well-made things. This is probably why I am attracted to older homes filled with character and history. I am also an advocate for style! Nothing bothers me more than seeing the style of the exterior of a house be polar opposite to style of the interior. Where is design integrity? Why do builders build cottage style houses with Tuscan interiors? Well I can answer that for you, it's because they don't know any better! They are not designers, they are builders.

You might think I am advocating for our business, well of course I am! We have something that builders do not: creativity, an eye for design and style, the knowledge and study of proportion and scale as well as the study of the utility of a space and how the environment will function after you move in. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a master bedroom that doesn't have a wall large enough to have a king size bed and night stand.  They never take into account furniture arrangement at all.  Nor do they consider environment like which way the sun sets.  All of these things are so important and they are what make a home a masterpiece. Disclaimer: there is always the exception and I am not talking about all builders.

Here is a great example of a master planned community:

Seaside, Florida

 These houses have a distinct style and the entire city reflects that.

There are many Architects that design and sell home plans that Builders can buy.  Like Jack Arnold.
Here's a few of his designs:

Beautiful, Stylish and has DETAIL!!

It's not all the Builders fault, they are trying to save $ and make as much $ as they can.  It's our fault for not demanding detail and wanting a big house for as little $ as possible.  A house can be designed to utilize minimum square footage but have beauty and detail.  Isn't that better than a huge ugly no style house?

So again, I ask you, why are we letting builders define what our neighborhoods look and feel like. Would you let your mechanic design you an evening gown? Of course not!

 ~Jessica & Brandy


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