Confession to Make!

So, I can finally admit out loud and in front of the world (or at least to you) that I love McDonald’s cheeseburgers.  Since I was a kid I loved them.  In fact, I think I can still remember my first time in a McDonald’s, back when the sign read “Over 20 Million Served.”  Even today, when the mood strikes, I have been known to drive up to the window of my local establishment to purchase two cheeseburgers.  Yes, my doctor and my weight frown upon this.  But, it happens nonetheless.

For me, there is just something about the convenience of buying those burgers that makes me happy.  First, there’s no work.  Likewise, there’s no thinking.  It’s easy from the moment I drive up the window.  Plus, those burgers have tasted pretty much the same for the past 40 years or so.

However, very soon after eating the burgers (and sometimes actually in the middle of), I feel guilty along with a strong dose of self-loathing.  Ultimately, the unhealthy food does me absolutely no good.  For example, it does not help my weight or my coronary arteries.  And, furthermore, the nutritional value is limited.  Not to mention, most times my stomach hurts afterwards. Unfortunately, I’ll most likely in for a long night of discomfort.

Marketing, Convenience and Price Point

Yet, knowing the outcome, why do I still buy the food?  For me, the answer is simple:  Marketing, Convenience, and Price Point.  In reality, we are all led to believe that we like something through constant images and reminders.  As a result, we begin to associate ourselves with that “brand.”  Over the years, I’ve have been trained (brainwashed) into believing I like McDonald’s cheeseburgers, partly because they are fast and cheap.  And, at $3.00, I find value in that proposition.

These homes look beautiful, but do they actually work for you, your family, and your future?

Buying a Home or a Cheeseburger?

Basically, how we shop for our homes is not unlike how we shop for our fast food.  I have noticed throughout my residential design career that most people buy (or sometimes build) their homes the way they buy their cheeseburgers.  On the whole, people base their purchasing decisions on marketing, convenience, and price point.

Many agonize about the location, thanks to the famous realtor marketing slogan – “location, location, location.”  Yet, very few people spend the time and effort researching if their future home will truly work for them, their families, and their future.

For instance, we buy mass-produced homes that are designed to meet the needs of many, not specifically you and your family.  In fact, most new homes built today (more than 90 percent) are of the mass-produced variety.  They are designed and built for sales efficiency and to appeal to as many people as possible.  Moreover, less than 10 percent of homes are truly customized for the families that will eventually move into them.

Ask the Right Questions

To illustrate, imagine spending $300,000.00 on a home.  The investment in time and money is huge.  However, we spend very little time and effort in making sure we are getting the right home for us.  When making a huge commitment like a new home, ask the right questions:

Does the plan work for us? Can it evolve as our family changes? Will I enjoy how the spaces are configured? Where would I drop the groceries? Is there enough of the right kind of storage?  Can we make any changes easily and cost effectively?  The list goes on and on and on.

Is Your Home Designed for You?

As an architect, I truly believe that the designs of our homes can and should affect the way we live.  In fact, if done well, homes can make our lives better, our families happier, our daily chores easier.  For this reason, I challenge you to take the time to truly understand if that new home you want to buy is designed for you.  Yes, put effort into this.  Please, don’t take the easy path.  In summary, do your research and make sure there’s value for your family in that new home.

So, how do we look at a home and tell whether or not it will work for us?  Well, I’ll explain this in upcoming posts.  In the meantime, check out previous posts in our “From The Architects” section to get a better understanding of design from my unique perspective.