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Character, Interest, Delight...wow Factor? (Previous Blog On Theme 30:6:12)

Posted by caliwag , 08 May 2014 · 1,033 views

I just contributed to the discussion on Whither the architect, in 'Half glass empty'...an interesting thread.

As an architect, I am keen to support the need for an architect's role in house design, if anything to halt the general complete and utter blandness, indeed of self-builds as well.
I have heard people comment, 'well we don't want to make it stand out or be too different or we'll never be able to sell it when we move'. What an absolutely negative way to look at things.

Recent experience has in fact shown me otherwise.

I have a builder mate who has quietly been 'doing up' a house, with a view to selling. Good friend, but not once has he asked for my thoughts. As a builder he knows it all of course.
As it happens he has overdeveloped the site so that there is virtually no garden or play space, yet he has shoehorned in an extra couple of bedrooms with en-suite, presumably to create a family house...er with no garden.

The front garden has been totally brick-paved over, I assume for three cars! I may say the front 3D view looks like something out of East Germany before the reunification.
The estate agent blurb showed internal spaces devoid of character (bear in mind few buyers can imagine potential).

Did I tell him? Well after a couple of pints, I suggested hiring a couple of generous climbers or whatever to celebrate the front door (heavy tubs to avoid the risk of theft) with a similar living room makeover, a few contemporary paintings or prints and good sized house-plants, oh and piles of coffee-table books, cushions, lots of cushions, interesting pots and jugs etc etc...it's not generally appreciated that Elle Decoration and other interior mags employ designers with trendy, retro interesting stuff to populate (and potentially sell) in all their room design sets.

He's had loads of viewings over about 2 years, but not a sniff.
Did he thank me? No but he bought me another pint and the house is still on the market. I rest my case.




notnickclegg
08 May 2014 10:22 AM
Absolutely agree with this post Jim.

I'd argue that by adding the right sort of character, you may lose a few potential buyers, but you'll gain a more important few who will love it - and it's almost certainly the case that people who love something will be willing to fight for it and pay more in the process. You only need two people in love with a house (in this market, at least) to have a bidding war.

Edited to add: It goes without saying that if you plan to actually live in the house, you should be designing something that will hopefully be a joy to live in!
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Ah, Jim, joined-up thinking is a dangerous thing to be avoided at all cost!

I have despaired many times, but slept better for having put my misgivings down on paper and left them with the customer.
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