One of my friends is a high-end interior decorator. She is used to having a half million dollar furniture budget to spend on her clients' 3,000 square foot homes. She is in the process of building her own family home right now and isn't spending that kind of money and it's truly a struggle for her. She has expensive taste and it's so hard for her not to bring that same taste into her own home.
I am trying to reassure her that building on a budget is not all bad. I personally found that it forced me to be more creative, to think outside the box and it often forced me into design elements that I never would of thought of had I not been strapped for cash.
Here's one example. When our architect was working on the plans to add a dormer to the roof line to turn two small closets into a master bath, we learned that carrying that load down to the first floor was going to entail a lot more expense than we originally thought. On top of that, I wasn't crazy about the actual layout of the bathroom with a dormer. It was going to be a square shape with a shower shoved in a corner and a toilet in the other. There was nothing masterful about it!
Instead, our architect suggested we eat into the space of the two side-by-side rooms that these closets faced by two feet in both directions. At first I was concerned that this would shrink an already small master bedroom but then I came up with a great idea. To compensate for losing two feet, I decided to not put any furniture in the master bedroom. Instead, we had dressers and closets built under the eaves of the roofline so they didn't occupy any space in the room. Not having much furniture eating into the room makes it feel spacious and now the loss of two feet is irrelevant.
I truly believe that designing a home on a budget it is not all bad. So much of what people love about my home is what I HAD to do because I had a tight budget. If we could buy everything we wanted we'd just look like everyone else. When you can't have it all is when you end up having something unique, something special. And, it's not something you simply buy. It's something you imagine.