Redefining “High End” construction

“High End Apartments”, “Luxury Condos”, “Exclusive Properties”
These are terms that have been thrown around a lot over the past couple years as developers and buyers got more and more caught up in the real estate frenzy, constantly looking to make fancier buildings.

But but what did “luxury” really mean? More than anything it was an aura of something we wish to attain more than anything really tangible. I was more psychological than physical. It meant shinier faucets, cool sounding name appliances, and things that were simply more expensive. The mere fact that they were expensive made them high end.

Often it was a play on the psychology of what we thing is fancy. “Italian Tiles”. The presumption is that Italian tiles are of better quality. But the aura of something coming from a far off land that is not attainable by mere common folk is just as important.

There may be cheaper and better quality tiles from John Butler down the road but that isn’t considered high end because it just doesn’t carry the same psychological mystique.

By the height of the real estate feeding frenzy people weren’t buying homes at all. They were buying an experience. They were buying the fancy suit of the Corcoran agent, the nice brochures, the feeling of being special. And it was all financed by loans and some fuzzy warm presumption that things were forever going to go up and up and up.

But life is not like that.

Things never go up forever. If they did we would not be human. We would be ethereal particles forever expanding into the universe. And we certainly wouldn’t need a home.

But back to reality. Lets redefine “High End”.

High end is a home that supports us in our life. It is the highest functional quality and the lowest realistic cost. It does not matter what name it carries or who made it. The product itself needs to speak for itself. Is it good quality, does it serve it’s perpose, is it priced well? This isn’t necessarily sexy but it is a home.

High end is holistic. It takes into consideration the overall cost of a product. The highest quality product is one that causes the least amount of environmental damage and gives the most amount of use. The product is not only beautiful, it is useful. It takes into consideration where you have come from, where you are now, and where you are going.

For example, a room that can serve as a storage area, a bedroom and then later an office is good for somebody who first has lots of stuff, then has a child and when the child goes to college the room becomes an office for your new business. It’s a weak example, but what I mean is the house and it’s parts are considered from multiple perspectives, multiple time frames, and multiple uses.

Realistically what is high end, a rain shower that pours large amounts of water on you or a low flow shower that saves your water bill and the environment? From the limited perspective of having a “wow” shower it is the later. But what is truly high end is a low flow shower that is engineered to feel like it is pouring large amounts of water on you! That is high end!

This kind of thought process takes more time and knowledge. You can’t be in it for the quick fix, either to make quick money as a developer or for instant gratification as the buyer. More thought needs to go into the process. More integrity, more of a holistic process.

High end in my view is the same as a green view. The “Luxury Condos” of the past were not green at all. They were not intelligently made. They did not afford true comfort to the inhabitants. They provided initial psychological stimulus, but if looked at from a larger more holistic perspective they did more damage than good, both to the inhabitants and the world at large.

The inhabitants’ true quality of life would have been much better served with better quality, more holistic building that was more affordable. It would have been less glitzy and sexy. But their pocket book, their piece of mind, and their overall living comfort would have been much better.

After all, at the end of a day, when you come home, it is much more important that it be supportive of you (through it’s toxin free smells, clean air, comfort, affordability, and overall feel). Whether it was sold to you by a fancy agent with brochures does not matter at all.

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