The Seven Strategies
Turn renters into buyers by zeroing in on what they want in a new home, starting with the price tag.
Older, established enclaves and outer-ring suburbs offer affordable land in locations that appeal to new buyers.
Properly scaled elevations with simple detailing, regardless of style, turn buyers' heads at any price point. ...
High-performance techniques conserve time and money while cutting down on owners' energy bills.
Scale, proportion, open plans, and flexible spaces make a smaller house look and feel like its million-dollar neighbor.
Thoughtful details such as frosted doors, dimmable lighting, high ceilings, and built-ins create a luxury look for less.
When it comes to helping buyers with interior product selection, less can be more.
Hiring, training, and retaining talented employees and subs should be job No. 1 for builders trying to manage costs.
Industry pros agree that creating an interior ‘wow’ factor is best achieved by focusing the budget on details homeowners experience daily. Using stock products in innovative ways gets pronounced results. Architect Carson Looney, founder of Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK), advises paying close attention to the often overlooked hallway between garage and kitchen. “It’s the owner’s entry, so why not plan and design to make this space just as important as the front foyer?” he asks. LRK architect Mike Sullivan advocates designing one or two really strong elements that define the interior, such as spending more on kitchen cabinets and a ceiling height of 11 feet. LRK often takes advantage of local products and craftspeople to create these statement pieces.
“The millwork shops in Baton Rouge are so strong that we do custom cabinetry in every house in that market for less than production cabinets,” Sullivan says. “But even with off-the-shelf cabinetry, we do a 42-inch upper cabinet and then another one above that so you get this strong vertical line.”
Other off-the-shelf products can be made to look custom, says architect Donald Powers. His firm looks for places to include alcoves; it then buys stock furniture to slide into the space, seals it, and trims it out for easy, inexpensive built-ins.
Precise lighting placement also can create interior drama with minimal cost, shares developer Bill McGuinness. “Just put in slightly smaller lights on a dimmer and place them closer to the wall,” he says, “then you have a room that’s like an art gallery and the atmosphere is so much better.”
His other standard upgrade is to put a frosted door on any windowless room. “It costs a little more,” he admits, “but it allows daylight to brighten the room or at night with the door closed, light filters out into the adjacent space like a Japanese lantern.”
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Baton Rouge, LA.