By Ed Roskowinski, CR
What makes one home better than another? We all have our architectural preferences; we may prefer the sleek lines of a Modern contemporary, the ornate detailing of a Victorian, or the homey feel of a Cottage style home, but once you get beyond first impressions, what really makes a home sing quality?
One place to start is the functionality of the home. How does the home function for day-to-day living? Is the garage in close proximity to the kitchen counter space, so groceries can easily be brought in and put away? Are spaces used efficiently or are there rooms or areas that don’t have a real purpose? A home should make your life easier not more difficult by having inefficient spaces or excess volume that needs heating, cooling and maintaining. A well designed home is no larger than it needs to be, with every space having a purpose. Even better, is a home with spaces that are multipurpose, like a dining area that is comfortable and cozy for every day family gatherings, but can be expanded to seat the extended family for Thanksgiving dinner.
Quality and durability of the materials you see and use every day is extremely important. Think about how many times you open and close the silverware drawer in your kitchen or use the faucet in your master bath. Not all products and finishes are created equal, and some research is important to gain an understanding into what products perform over the long hall. This is often something we’re asked to assist homeowners with when they’re in the market for a home or building a home. We look at cabinetry, flooring, plumbing fixtures, doors and millwork, paint finishes, appliances, lighting, as well as windows and doors. Having remodeled thousands of homes over the past 35 years, we’ve seen many good quality and poor quality products and finishes.
Another area where it’s a good idea to seek counsel is the assessment of the quality and durability of the products you don’t see. This can be everything from the type and quality of insulation in your home to the type and quality of the heating and cooling system. These are things that can dramatically affect the operating costs of your home as well as the quality of the indoor living environment. We all pay close attention to the MPG rating when we purchase a car, though few consider the fuel efficiency of their home. You can have your home, or potential home tested for its level of efficiency (an MPG rating if you will). This rating can be compared to other homes, or be compared to your home once improvements are made.
These days we all want more value from our investments. That’s why we find ourselves trending away from quantity and toward quality. A home that is not only beautiful, but functional, durable, and efficient is simply a better home.
Ed Roskowinski is General Manger and VP of Vujovich Design Build, Inc., a 35-year design build firm specializing in building and remodeling unique Twin Cities homes for unique homeowners.