Observations

It all starts with the finishes.

Cara Mia Lembi
By Cara Mia Lembi
11.22.16
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We don’t just sell homes. We sell dreams. It’s Sales Speak 101. But some buyer’s dreams are a whole lot bigger and bolder than others. And those dreams can become a reality with a home that has the best of everything. With a real story behind every finish. This type of home is an emotional purchase with every nuance that communicates something to the most discerning of buyers. The ultra-high-net-worth homebuyer does not blink an eye when you describe the level of detail that goes into the construction. They know that they are looking for something different. Even if it’s just a feeling about something they’ve never seen or even heard of. If you don’t achieve that level of bespoke attention to detail in your design, they’ll search for a developer who will.

It’s a lot of pressure from a development perspective to push the envelope of sourcing from the best locations around the world and it is not an easy feat when it comes to managing the bottom line. When only the best will do, you pay a premium for the product and you must be patient with its production. Say the buyer wants Arclinea kitchen cabinetry and Misura Emme closets but the reality is that those are manufactured in Italy and have a ~10-12 week lead-time. This is how the story begins. And when the story behind the story is something extraordinary, certain buyers are more than happy to pay for the privilege of telling it themselves. And the story should be worth it. Because that story makes the dream a reality.

The first thing to realize is that to get the best, you have to source the best. The world becomes your marketplace. It’s the top brands and the top artisans that provide the materials and finishes that will set a home apart. Landmark residences don’t get their reputations without merit. They aren’t just selling the best. They’re selling the best of the best. When the finishes of the home live up to, or even surpasses the marketing effort, they elevate the value beyond the traditional metrics of location and amenities. In other words, the finishes put the finishing touch on a home’s value, both monetarily and emotionally.

So how far do you go to deliver the story? How deep does the story need to go? As deep as it has to, so an emotional connection is established with the home. It’s going the extra mile or in certain cases, literally thousands of miles. Marble is a timeless finish. But to create the story of the marble, you travel to the marble region. Once there, you seek the most renowned marble quarry in that region. And you don’t stop. You came too far. You demand to see each and every piece of marble. You investigate its history and discover that it’s the same marble used for the majority of statues in Italy. That’s a story that makes a great finish transcendent. That’s a story worth telling.

A deep search must be done with deep knowledge. It means knowing the family name of the cabinetmaker behind the company that manufactures your goods. It means understanding that the entire small town of Caldogno, Italy has employed generations of craftsman since the early 1900’s and they are still constructing the designs that the company started with. It means being there when the boat arrives from Italy with the stone and the cabinet designs that you painstakingly hand selected all those months prior and ensuring everything exceeds your expectations.

Every high-end project starts with elements and people that will set it apart. A desirable location. A “starchitect” to build the property. An interior designer of a certain magnitude to design the space and add cachet. So finding the absolute best finishes is really a logical step in the process. After all, they are called finishes. And without them, the dream home isn’t complete. And if you’ve searched the world over and you can’t find anything to meet the standards that are being set? Commission them. The integrity of the space should never be compromised. Be relentless. Remember that the story of that home is your story too.

Additional Reading
Developers Scour the Earth for Rare Condo Finishes
If you don’t achieve that level of bespoke attention to detail in your design, they’ll search for a developer who will.
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