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Designing for Quality Over Quantity

When building an Expressive Home, the focus is on quality over quantity. The reason building a new home feels so exciting is the way your imagination conjures dreams to recreate powerful emotions important to you. Think about it. Your design preferences typically reflect a lifetime of experiences with favorable emotions. You may like contemporary architecture and modern designs with their simple themes and clean lines. This may stem from the feeling of order and balance, which helps you feel peaceful and relaxed. You may prefer European influences as they invoke a spirit of adventure and uniqueness. Whatever your preferences are, they will typically be tied to an emotional experience. A good architect will seek to understand what emotional connections you want from a home, as well as how you intend to live in it.

Homes today are becoming larger and larger often because they are trying to fulfill a need without first understanding the emotional connection. Prominent designs include more rooms, grander scales, and lofty proportions. We are led to believe this is what we want, and we will be happier with the luxury these extra spaces can provide. Why then does happiness in a home continue to be so elusive?

Having a big home is not a problem as long as you don’t compromise good design for more square feet. The idea is no matter what size your house is, make it an Expressive Home. An Expressive Home is a well-designed home paying particular attention to the details important to you, and ultimately reflects your passions, interests, and the way you live. An Expressive Home embraces you every time you enter and continually comforts you as you move through its spaces.

When building your new home, take note of the way you feel in different parts of a house. What are you trying to accomplish? Many people fondly reflect on warm cozy spaces where they feel comfortable and can relax. They feel at home. Many home designs today are spacious and impressive. Twenty foot ceilings in great rooms and entryways abound. What they often lack is personality. Think about where in your home you spend your time today? Which rooms do you use the most? Take the time to consider why you use those spaces the most. Where do you go to relax? What is your favorite part of the home? Would you rather invest in rarely used spaces like formal dining rooms and living rooms, or spend the money on a smaller, but carefully detailed home, more fully expressing your personality.

Sarah Susanka is one of the most preeminent architects helping people rethink how houses are designed and what characteristics make it a home. She wrote the book The Not So Big House, which emphasized the wonderful design concept where the quality of the home is much more important than how big it is. These principles are probably even more relevant today than when she first introduced them.

We are gobbling up land faster than ever and spending a fortune to construct colossal homes everywhere. We seek to improve our quality of life through larger homes and more features without first understanding what it is that brings meaning to our life, and what role our homes play in the process. By improving the quality, design, and accoutrements of the spaces in our homes, the living experience becomes more expressive of who you are and the way you really live.