Just add water: architecture startups!

What’s it worth??
September 17, 2014, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Startup

For the last month, I’ve been working on FFE package for a gut renovation project.  This means endless hours staring at websites like 1stdibs, lightology, hivemodern, etc.  on the great hunt to find the furniture/furnishings/equipment that will be the right size, shape and color at just the right price. Not always the easiest achievement, especially when you have super picky clients who spend endless hours trolling through Houzz photos.  While its probably easier to just head over to Design Within Reach or West Elm, there’s still an interest of mine to find furniture that’s handmade, or designed by local and/or small businesses.  A lot of really great furniture makers are out there — they might not have the marketting capacity in the big design magazines, but they’re doing great work.  Head over to: Etsy, sondermill, etc.  The downside is these places might have the right size, shape and color, but since they’re not doing the bulk quantities of Walmart, nor are they fabricating everything in China, the cost may be higher.  What I’ve ended up doing is surveying the cost at the Big Box stores, then working with small businesses to make custom pieces that are within that price range.  The issue here is that it forces the market to dictate the value of handmade or local?  How is it that we are willing to pay more for gluten-free but we aren’t putting as much value to handmade?

In some ways, I see some clients also apply this same consumer logic to architecture.  The value of built-ins or the architecture isn’t a question of “does it works best for your needs or the space,” but it can be translated by “Would I buy/pay that in a store?”