5 things to splurge on – and ways to save – when building a new home

Except for that rare person for whom “money is no object,” every client’s wish for their new home will be constrained by their budget. Rather than dashing their dreams, help them focus on the splurges that will really matter to them at the end of the day. Plus, some tips on where they can shave some money off the budget.

The kitchen

Splurge: The kitchen is the heart of any home and really should be a focal point for the design. Open-concept kitchens built around an island are still all the rage. And why not? Mom and Dad can keep an eye on the kids while they’re doing homework at the counter or chat with their guests while preparing meals. For a real eye-catcher, consider a “waterfall counter” where the material flows over both ends of slab to the floor for a seamless look.

Save: Encourage your clients to shop around for deals on appliances. Most manufacturers offer discounts – or will throw in a free item – if they equip the entire kitchen in one brand.

High-efficiency HVAC systems

Splurge: Most people want to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint, and heating and cooling is the largest energy draw in most homes. Investing in top-rated HVAC equipment costs incrementally more upfront but will actually have the owners come out ahead over the long-term with lower energy bills.

Save: Programmable thermostats make it easy for homeowners to reduce heating and cooling at night and when the house is vacant.

Exterior cladding

Splurge: Curb appeal quite literally means how appealing the home looks from the street. And there’s nothing more appealing than the look of masonry, whether your client is seeking a classic or contemporary look. They’ll also appreciate that masonry is a virtually maintenance-free product that will last as long as they live in the home – and beyond.

Save: If your client doesn’t have the budget for a full masonry exterior, suggest some options that incorporate masonry paired with other lower-cost materials, such as siding or stucco, in complementary tones.

Energy-efficient windows

Splurge: Today’s double- and triple-glazed windows with Low-E coatings and inert gases between the panes bring in maximum natural light without impacting interior comfort. Many modern designs incorporate bold, black-framed windows to tie into or offer a striking contrast to the exterior cladding finish.

Save: Operating windows always cost more than fixed ones. Help your clients trim the budget by selecting operating units only for where they’re needed.

Outdoor living space

Splurge: Modern home designs increasing include large overhangs to provide sheltered outdoor seating areas. These are often enclosed with retractable screens or glass panels. The addition of an outdoor fireplace makes for a natural gathering place for family and friends – who isn’t mesmerized by the flicker of a flame. The heat output also enables owners to extend their use of the space well into the shoulder seasons.

Save: Pools aren’t generally recommended as a good return on investment. Unless the owners are avid swimmers, suggest shifting those resources towards landscaping and outdoor furniture.

Get more design ideas by reading our blogs and checking out some inspirational projects that use Shouldice Designer Stone.