GOOD DESIGN DOESN'T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE. At least that's the theory behind Charter Homes' new Architect Series, which offers buyers at The Lakes community in Lancaster County the opportunity to add sought-after custom features to homes priced from the low- to mid-$200,000 range. The 10 floor plans from the Lancaster, Pa.–based builder offer such design features as an abundance of oversized windows, reading nooks, and windows at the end of hallways. The homes range in size from 2,100 to 2,600 square feet; custom features can bump up the size to 4,000 square feet.

“There's been a big movement to get more square footage at a lower cost, but a lot of that product often sacrificed architecture and design,” says Rob Bowman, president of Charter Homes. “From a design standpoint, our focus is not only on square footage but also on the principles of great design. Though many home buyers may not know how to explain what they want in the design of their new home, their preferences are clear.”

Early sales figures lend credence to Bowman's theory that good design pays off. Charter wrote five contracts at The Lakes over one recent weekend, “the most we've ever done in one weekend in any of our communities,” says Bowman. “This is a new area for us, but we're getting great feedback. We've been able to sell the fact that more design has a benefit. It adds value to the neighborhood over time.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Lancaster, PA.