Subtle Elegance

When money is no object, as it typically is for the clients of Homes by Richmond in Buffalo Grove, Ill., it can be easy to go overboard when it comes to details and decorating. That’s when Richmond’s philosophy of subtle elegance is applied to prevent a home from becoming over-the-top.

Subtle elegance can be an art form, says Stephen Day, vice president. “At this level of clientele you’re trying to match their wishes with what looks great, and those two don’t always coincide. So we try to ensure that from house to house the level of detail is appropriate, throughout the home, not just in one area and not in others. Subtle elegance truly is a fine line between over- and under-done.”

Day’s partner and he have learned over the years that being a leading custom home builder takes refinement. “Every time we build a home we think we can do the next one a little better. So we’re constantly refining our craft as we go along. The goal is to create spaces where you don’t need furniture to enjoy looking at it. The architecture should speak for itself.”

Homes by Richmond’s clientele has a certain sophistication level, and understands what is meant by subtle elegance. If Homes by Richmond sees clients going down the wrong path, the builder brings it to their attention, but ultimately homeowners have the final say, he says. “When homeowners are starting to run wild, we try to show them examples of what we believe to be good,” Day says.

In the custom home business, clients are looking for a builder who takes an active interest in what type of home is built for them as opposed to a builder who is looking to churn dollars and sell whatever a customer looks at and likes, Day says. “We’re more passionate about what we do than a lot of firms out there.”

Richmond’s expertise comes at a higher price than that of its competitors, but this sits well with Day. Simply put, you get what you pay for, he explains. Some customers understand that, and others just want their home to look “good enough. There’s a big market out there for simply looking good, but we have a minimum quality standard, and we don’t deviate below it. That sometimes means knowing when to say no. There are a lot of deals that walk out the door, but that’s OK because we won’t cut what we perceive to be a corner. It doesn’t make sense to jeopardize the good reputation we’ve built.”