09 July, 2010

Defining Luxury-What is a good value?

By Lisa Peck
It is a good bit of work to think about value. Sometimes, it is easier to listen to advertising hype about what is a good value but I think that in recent years we have linked the idea of a good value to something that is just...well....cheap.
A few decades ago a good value meant something else and I think that people are starting to see some wisdom in how our parents or grandparents defined value. I would encourage you to think about having the luxury of not having to constantly replace things. Luxury in purchasing something that you will enjoy for years, see it develop some character while continuing to serve it's purpose well.
It's a small thing but I have a colander (purchased at an inexpensive big box store) which lost it's handle recently. I swear my mother never replaced a colander in her kitchen. I know she paid more in terms of their budget than I have for small items like this but here's the kicker...she never had to replace a colander, blender or iron. I am vowing now to buy the best colander available on the market so I may never have to replace it!
Okay...that was a little rant but here's the thing. when you are designing a space keep in mind the comfort of having pieces of furniture that feel like old friends, appliances that will function for decades, finishes that will last, develop patina and becoming more perfect like a pair of old jeans. That can only happen if things are built well in the first place and if like old friends you like them enough to want to keep them around and invest a little in to keeping them up.
Return on investment. Making a purchase of something that is slightly more expensive in the first place makes sense if you don't need to replace it, fix it or reupholster it as often. Buying an inexpensive item that requires more maintenance is more expensive in the long run. Having a good return on investment is part of my definition of luxury.
Surrounding yourself with things that give you the luxury of time and value is on of my ideas of true luxury. Making the best decisions in the first place is the best path to not redoing.  Not having to spend time, energy and money replacing things gives me the true luxuries in life. Time for lolling in the sun, reading and enjoying friends and family.

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