Reimagined Mid-Century Living by Kim Gordon

Smart design strategies for today’s real estate market

The real estate market fluctuation can give any builder or developer pause. The cost of raw materials is showing very little signs of relief. After the supply chain disruptions, some costs may drop but the glory days of pre-pandemic prices are unlikely to return. The same for mortgage rates. Bankrate’s latest national survey shows the average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 7.23 percent as of May 2024. People who have fantastic rates from just a few years ago are holding on to their homes so they don’t get stuck with high interest rates on their new place, causing low inventory. It’s a seller’s market. 

Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon

New rules with your local city planning office seem to change with the wind, along with every other planning supervisor you talk to; each having their own take on the laws, potentially causing scheduling disasters and money.  

With all of this to take into consideration, today’s home builders and developers need an upper hand. The surest way to do that is to design and build something so fantastic that it will grab the hearts of everyone who walks in. Especially the women of our tribe! 

Women are arguably the ones who tend to have an upper hand in the family discussions on housing, and designers must know what these families are looking for to grab their attention along with those heartstrings. With Instagram and Pinterest constantly bombarding your potential homeowners with new ideas, you need to be well-versed in what your clients want. Design is the common thread that can separate your project from another and it’s important to leverage that to the best of your ability. If there are two houses on the block for sale and one looks better than the other, we know which one will sell faster and for more money. 

When we’re talking about design it is not only the choices in finishes like faucets, tiles, flooring, awesome room flow and good natural light. We are also talking about how a house looks sitting next to its neighbor, so it doesn’t just grab attention – it grabs envy.   

Smart features 

The job of a design builder is nuanced and requires local knowledge in what folks are looking for. You don’t want to simply design what you think is cool or only use those slabs from your brother-in-law’s marble yard. You need to really think about how your product will look and what people in that neighborhood want.  

Women walking into the house don’t mind (and often rather like) changing tiles, paint color or wallpaper, they know that is easy to customize. They know staging the sofa isn’t realistic with the dogs. What they are looking for is IFTD: Intelligent Forward-Thinking Design. The things they know they can’t change: room flow, natural lighting, good storage and smart working rooms. Think about the placement of light switches, there’s nothing more ridiculous than not being able to hang a picture because your electrician stuck the switch smack in the middle of the wall, or behind a door. Think LED shelving in the linen closet, large working rooms like laundry, kitchen and closets. It doesn’t matter who does the cooking and folding, people walking through a house with these smart features triggers a place in women that says “Oh…this is smart.” A huge bedroom with a tiny closet is not IFTD. Reconfigure your floor plan to add a big juicy closet and spa out the bathroom (don’t forget adjustable lighting at the vanity and lots of drawers). You don’t have to kit out the closet if money is an issue – that’s what the Container Store is for! Each new homeowner has different clothing storage needs, build the space and they will be filled to taste.  

Deciding on finishes like faucets, tiles and flooring are very personal and nothing can get you in trouble faster than making bad choices in this regard. The array of tiles available nowadays is literally never ending. Everyone agrees that the trend in home design is custom. People want their taste and lifestyle to be reflected in their homes and most people want to design and obsess over how their home looks and feels. If you are building a spec home or even need a default to get those permits in hand: Choose warm, natural colors and simple, unfussy shapes in faucets and light fixtures. Gray and toothpaste white paint are over. So is barnwood and clunky iron with wood. Yes, they are on sale. For a reason. 

Another huge item to discuss design wise is the landscaping. Walk your landscaper through the INSIDE of your home so they can help with your point of view. When you look out the window you want to see nature, not the neighbor’s bathroom window.   

By Kim Gordon  

Kim Gordon is the founder of Kim Gordon Designs, a Los Angeles-based design firm with projects across the globe. Following her love of beauty into the business of interior design, Gordon launched her own firm in 2014 to incorporate the Southern California sunlight, ocean breeze and local flora into unique spaces for a variety of adventurous homeowners, from private clients to real estate investors. Her exceptional living environments incorporate her passion for wellness and are inspired by her own health journey and international travels.