High-end customers have the luxury of spending their money exactly as they like. Their wealth affords them the freedom to create a lifestyle to suit their needs. However, this freedom can result in wastefulness that many regard as excessive.
In a "Ten Minutes With. . ." interview, Pam Danziger, author and founder of Unity Marketing, a luxury market research firm, says that in the U.S., luxury in housing is often defined by size, with luxury consumers living in homes that are nearly two times larger than the national average.
So, when it comes to remodeling these homes, should remodelers attempt to rein in their high-end clients or should the remodeler's priority be to give clients what they want?
In her feature story, "Drawing the Line," REMODELING senior editor Leah Thayer speaks to designers and remodelers who have wrestled with this issue. One such designer, Fu-Tung Cheng, founder of Cheng Design in Berkeley, Calif., believes it is in the best interests of business and society to create living spaces that endure and minimize waste, while still supporting the companies that create them and the homeowners who live in them. In Cheng's view, luxury and conscience can coexist.
As Danziger points out, our culture as a whole is moving toward awareness of environmental stewardship, and luxury consumers are no different. When it comes to updating and enhancing their homes, these consumers are looking to the remodeler for expertise on sustainable design and products.
And as Peter Pagenstecher — partner with previous columnist Dean Brenneman in Kensington, Md., design/build firm Brenneman & Pagenstecher — says, remodelers bear an important responsibility due to their strong connection to clients' personal lives during the remodeling process. Trust is essential.
You can, in turn, use the trust you build with clients to guide and encourage them to consider green features and materials.
Nina Patel, Editor