For nearly a decade, people who have tried to live in these big houses have visited our office and asked, “Is there an alternative? Can you design us a house that is more tailored, more beautiful, more reflective of our personalities?” The answer, of course, is yes, but there is a trade-off. Like a tailored suit, a tailored house costs more per square foot than its off-the-rack counterpart. So we advise our clients that they will likely spend the same money on a smaller custom house than they would pay for a large, noncustom house.
For those who’ve already had the rattling-around experience, this trade-off meets with zero resistance. They recognize that the emptiness they felt in their megahomes is related to scale. Slowly but surely, as a culture, we are coming to recognize that quantity and volume of space are not related to comfort, except in the most tenuous of ways. There’s a great movement of the national soul at work as we seek that which we’ve lost in our acquisitive rush to become bigger and better.