Budgeting: How to Save Money Building a New Home (30 Years l 30 Ideas Series)

By Chicago Residential Architect Fred Wilson

After thirty years as a Chicago residential architect, I can tell you there’s one guaranteed way to save money when building a new home.

Make it smaller.

You may think that’s obvious. But you’d be surprised by the number of people who consider it a revolutionary idea. Because here’s the thing: most of us, given the chance, lean toward building the biggest house we can afford.

At Morgante Wilson Architects, we advise clients to think of space differently - since the bigger the house, the more of the budget it eats up. A better way, we’ve learned, is not to think about how much square footage you can afford, but how much square footage you really need. It may not be as much as you think.

In our experience, too-big houses end up with closets, hallways, and even rooms that are seldom, if ever, used. Take living rooms, for example. Most people rarely use them these days, preferring instead to hang out in family rooms that connect to kitchens. Our bravest clients give up the idea of a formal living room when they realize the money they save on square footage can be used toward niceties such as beautifully detailed custom millwork, or lifestyle-enhancing outdoor kitchens. In other words, what they save on square footage they can put toward things that will truly amplify the experience of living in their new home.

Of course, there are times when building the biggest house you can afford makes sense. If you expect your family to grow, for example, you’ll want to build extra bedrooms for the future. But if that’s not the case, we advise building a little bit smaller and a whole lot smarter. It’s the best way to make the most of your budget – and to ensure the most functional, livable, beautiful home possible.

For more innovative interior design and architectural ideas, please visit our most recent blogs. You’ll also find plenty of inspiration in our residential project portfolio!

Fred Wilson, AIA
Morgante-Wilson Architects

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More posts related to lifestyle and building a new home from award-winning Chicago architects Morgante Wilson:

Planning a Residential Architectural Renovation or New Build: How to Maximize Square Footage
Trends in North Shore Chicago Architecture: Downsizing
Hiring a Residential Architect to Design Your Home to Fit Your Lifestyle

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