Curb appeal or functionality of space; Which to choose?

by WOHe

Have you ever been faced with choosing between great curb appeal and interior functionality? Which did you choose? Which would you choose? Or, do you believe there’s a way to have both?

One builder I met recently said that if the homeowner is involved in the design process, the home will be designed from the inside out. By this the builder meant the focus will be on room layout, traffic flow and functionality of space, because that’s what matters most to clients. The builder then said if an architect is in control of the design process, the home will be designed from the outside in. The implication here was that architects will focus on a home’s exterior rather than giving clients an interior space that functions well.

While I’m sure this builder had some bad experiences with architects that drove him to this conclusion, painting with a broad brush is never the right way to go. So, let’s not go there. Instead, let me take a shot at explaining the design process using a TV commercial I remember from years ago.

The commercial used a long, skinny balloon to explain the process of buying a car. One man stood in front of this balloon, which represented the total cost of the car including fees, taxes, rust-proofing, and so on. He explained that if the dealer decreases the fees, which he illustrated by squeezing one section of the balloon with one hand, the rest of the balloon — representing other costs — became larger. Then he squeezed the section of the balloon labeled “taxes,†while we watched the rest of the balloon get bigger. The point of all this was that a dealer could play with fees, taxes and other costs all day, but ultimately the total cost is the same.

I think this balloon analogy can be applied here, but in a good way. If the exterior is disproportionately fantastic compared to the interior, the solution is to sacrifice a little curb appeal for the benefit of the interior space. If the kitchen is the gem and the master suite is less than satisfactory, take away from the kitchen to add to the master suite.

Perhaps recalling the TV commercial was an unnecessarily long way to go to make my point. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve over-explained something. But my point remains valid.

Or does it? What do you think?

Share your thoughts by sending me an e-mail. Or, scroll up to the first paragraph of this blog entry, look to the right and click where you see, “Leave a comment†or “Post or view comments.â€

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