The Dawn of Designed Luxury Homes

This blog was contributed by PASTELLA | BURNS.

The early late 90’s and early 2000’s marked the age of the McMansion in American real estate. The McMansion term was coined to generally denote oversized cookie cutter homes on small lots with no clear architectural style. McMansions were criticized for using stock building materials and designs that prized superficial appearance and sheer size over quality, in contrast to carefully designed luxury homes and traditional mansions. McMansions were typically mass produced in suburban communities and marketed to upper middle-class Americans who were looking for large homes and a way to show off their economic success.

Fast forward to 2022, Patrick Pastella, CEO of PASTELLA | BURNS – a full-service architectural design and building firm based in Bucks County, PA – says the luxury real estate market has shifted towards customization and individualization that puts premium value on aesthetic and design over size.

Pastella notes, “This is even more true in the last two years of the pandemic reality where our homes have become the main settings of our lives, including where we work and where our kids study.” Because people are working more remotely and spending more time at home, they are choosing to relocate to towns that better suit their lifestyles and choosing homes that are more livable, architecturally interesting, and representative of their style.

Generationally, the McMansion concept may be falling out of favor even faster. According to The National Association of Realtors, Millennials now make up the largest share of the housing market. This demographic tends to favor urban living over suburban living, and smaller properties with thoughtful construction and higher quality materials over homes built with sheer size in mind.

For the most part, these individuals are seeking homes that have more contemporary or modern architecture. However, these homes are relatively hard to find, especially in an unprecedented booming market marked by low housing inventory. To get what they want, home buyers are increasingly choosing to either purchase land to design and build a custom home or buy an existing home and renovate to meet their needs.

According to Pastella:

  • Custom luxury homes are in demand and are less defined by size and more for being highly designed with modern amenities and aesthetics.
  • Savvy buyers should look for homes that are good candidates for a major redesign and renovation. These include things that you can’t change like acreage, topography, mature trees, and neighborhood. Almost everything else can be changed especially when working with a great home designer.
  • Details matter in luxury homes. Proper scale, traffic flow, indoor-outdoor living, interesting material selection are examples of components that go into crafting luxury living in the modern home construction market.

PASTELLA | BURNS is a full-service architectural design and building firm based in Bucks County, PA, with projects across the country.  As specialists in luxury homes and hospitality, PASTELLA | BURNS focuses on developing unique architectural designs that echo clients’ personalities and compliment their lifestyle.  Their work has been published in numerous editorials and is recognizable for its bold and purposeful designs.


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