Seven Critical Home Design Elements

High-Rise at Veer Towers


Here are Seven (7) Design & Structural Elements everyone should have in a residential property to establish the proverbial “good bones” status. This is basically a short of list of Seven (7) Features that are tough to get around when it comes to making excuses for quality and are very hard to mitigate or upgrade in a home later on.

These elements will most likely forever separate your home from being classified as a Production Grade McMansion or that of a seriously respected Luxury Home. Consider these “no-turning back” options:

1)      Location – Let’s face it. This element cannot be overcome. Do not place the value of the Structure over that of the Location, or you will lose every time. Pay more and sacrifice if you have to, but; don’t pick a C or D List Locale to play house. Once you’ve secured that prime location, then the next items on the list are, as follows…

2)      8 ft. Doors – Really tough to get around the 4 Hinge, Solid-Core, 8 foot doors and very hard to retro-fit after the fact. This just makes a huge difference in so many ways. Now, if you are in an antique home and the ceilings and/or age of the home don’t allow such doors. There is nothing you can do. And, you’ll most likely get a pass in NYC, the UK, Italy, etc. But, in the Sunbelt States and newer markets like Las Vegas. Opt for the 8 ft. doors without question. Or, your house will never measure up to the big dogs and will always feel production-“y”.

3)      Pay attention to the Super Structure – In Southern Florida, where I grew-up the least expensive $50,000 home was built from the same building materials as a $50M mansion. Everything for the most part is built from some sort of cementitious product, i.e. CMU or Concrete Block; except for the really old stuff. Not, the case in markets like Las Vegas, where there are multiple building systems deployed through-out the market and the standard production-grade wood-framed home is most likely “barely acceptable” from a quality & efficiency standpoint to begin with. Question and determine what the basic house is built from. If it is low-grade, then pass. Because you will be forever putting lip-stick on a pig.

4)      Room Sizes – Production Homes are notorious for tiny little secondary rooms. Very tough to overcome down the road as you grow into and eventually out of a home and have to rent or sell. Don’t settle for tiny rooms, keep looking or design accordingly. I’m talking room sizes mind you, not room count.

5)      Garages – Specific Door Heights & Openings aren’t critical, but; make sure you can adequately garage something in the way of an automobile or small SUV. This is for safety as well as livability and protecting your vehicular investment. Obviously, the more garage space the better. But, not having some answer to this will severely limit your values in most markets. Ignore this one, if you live in parts of California or NYC. That’s a different planet folks!

6)      Stucco & Plaster FinishesI can talk stucco and plaster all day. But, specifications like a 3-Coat Exterior Stucco Finish or a Level 5 Interior Finish are going to separate you from a production level home vs. luxury and these specs are very, very expensive to alter or upgrade later on. So, be discriminating on these features & their benefits. You don’t put cheap tires on a Ferrari.

7)      Plumbing Fixtures & Pipe/Valve MaterialsLots and lots of plastic in production homes today. Sometimes good, sometimes — like w/your plumbing fixtures & valves, not so much. Identify what it is you are buying — or — plan on spending a lot of money either re-plumbing or re-installing pipes & fixtures down the road. Good quality fixtures and appliances last longer and perform better for longer periods of time.

For questions or to discuss these or any other issues related to buying, building or marketing a home please call Michael Hutchings direct at 702-418-2523 or e-mail him at