quality home in NY by DeMotte Architects

Quality vs. Quantity: Which Do You Prefer?

When it comes to construction, there seems to be 2 camps of people… those that prefer quality over quantity, & those that prefer the opposite.

Personally, I’ll always choose quality over quantity when it comes to architecture & construction, because it’s all about the “quality of space” which is my primary concern.

Consider this scenario for quantity vs. quality:

For the same amount of money, you could build a 4000 SF house with “good” materials & finishes, or a smaller 2500 SF house with “better” or “best” materials & finishes. Which would you choose?

People who build the bigger house might do so without considering how it will feel & may end up dissatisfied, with an oversized house that’s impersonal because it lacks character & detail, those all-important ingredients that create “quality of space.”

Home building advice from an architect:

Having a house designed for you & having to really think about & decide what you want & need can be overwhelming for some. My best advice is to define your needs by how you actually live & what’s important to you.

  • Do you really need a formal dining room that will get used 4 times a year at holidays?
  • Do you need a formal living room that will rarely, if ever get used?
  • Doesn’t it make more sense to build a smaller house with spaces that you use every day, with some of those serving multiple purposes?

Not to mention that the materials used throughout the house can be nicer. Comfort, beauty & high levels of detail are what we call “quality of space,” which typically are not achieved by quantity of space or square footage.

More rooms and bigger spaces do not necessarily give us what we need in a home.

A house is so much more than its size and volume, neither of which has anything to do with comfort. Comfort is achieved by a smaller scale and beautiful details.

By maximizing space, you can “live large” in a smaller house without ever feeling cramped.

Think about which rooms you use and enjoy most:

  • Are you drawn more to smaller, more personal spaces than to larger, more expansive ones?
  • At parties, why do you spend more time in the kitchen and family room than you do in the formal living and dining room?

A person having a home built for them might say “ build me a big house” or “build me a big kitchen,” but a savvy owner might say “build me the best house or kitchen my budget will allow.” The emphasis & mindset has shifted from quantity (“I want it all”) to quality (“I want the best”).

Smart, value-oriented customers realize that the money spent today will soon be forgotten, while the level of quality that money bought will be appreciated for years.

Another way to approach the question of why quality over quantity is important is to look at value.

Value is the increased happiness and increased resale value resulting from the nicer materials being used & the quality of space created. Most customers are more satisfied with the value added from quality rather than quantity.

You may get more space for your money with quantity, but you may not get more value.

You want to ensure you’re making well thought out decisions when it comes time to pick out materials. Higher quality materials not only look fantastic, but they last much longer than lower-cost alternatives. You should thoroughly research materials and manufacturers to ensure you are getting a quality product.

When designing your house, my best advice is for you to think really hard about how you live & what your needs are. An architect, interior designer, or builder can offer advice & help you through this soul searching exercise, but ultimately these are your decisions… it’s your life & your house.

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