It's All in the Details

December 3, 2019
Conceptual design typically begins with general concepts of form, scale and massing. But while these elements define a building’s overall shape, its true style is developed through details. Consumer appeal can be heavily impacted by effective detailing. Although it can be a difficult decision to dedicate significant resources to seemingly “minor” visual details, these elements directly affect appeal by highlighting the unique features of each project.

Details that Drive ROI

Click either photo for an exterior video tour.

In some cases, the design focus is entirely about detail, and that was the case for the Belleview Inn. The hotel was built in 1897 and needed restoration to bring it up to 21st century standards, so preserving the original intricate detailing was a critical feature to its success. The peaked gable roof lines, uniquely curved overhangs and green colored roof were key features that paid tribute to the original design, so the team carried them over to the new 55+ community surrounding the inn.

nullInside, historic preservation required that every detail was catalogued and recorded. The doors, knobs and wood boards were removed and rehabbed to their original beauty. The team salvaged everything they could, reusing items in unique ways that will contribute to the inn’s continued success for the next 100 years. The building exudes charm and elegance and has become a highly sought-after venue. The Belleview Inn is often booked out months in advance, and the homes surrounding it are selling well.

In Peoria, IL, the developer of a boutique multifamily complex committed an extensive portion of his budget to detailing in order to stand out and stay true to the “luxury living” experience he marketed. The use of contrasting colors and styles of metal panels alongside CMU block add dimension to this contemporary infill product. The units have large floor to ceiling windows, and the corner units have large, wrap-around balconies made of industrial steel. The focus on detail and high-end materials paid off quickly, resulting in a sold-out building shortly after construction concluded.

Getting Creative

Some developments may not have a large budget for design but still want to add simple, noticeable accents to help the project stand out. Creativity is essential to ensure budget-friendly details will work for many workforce housing and student housing projects. 

The Hudson at Northgate in College Station, TX, utilized a challenging site to develop a unique, highly detailed building footprint. Although the building cladding is relatively simple, the intricacies of the community layout become a detail in and of themselves. The complex is filled with community-focused spaces within the nooks and crannies throughout the building, giving student residents plenty of memorable places to live, work and play. 

nullVeranda in Lehi, UT, is a workforce housing development that used color on stucco rather than additional spendy design features. Contrasting colors highlight the fenestration patterns and parapets to achieve a high-end look without additional costs. Minimal use of brick adds warmth and a more sophisticated cladding without overextending the budget. 

When Lacking Detail is a Good Thingnull


Clean lines and distinctive yet simple roof pitches make Kasper Modern stand out. The all-white, simple cabinetry, limited trim and exposed ductwork impart a sense of great style and design despite the relative lack of detailing throughout the home. Less is more for Kasper Modern, and the design is perfect for buyers who love the minimalism of the mid-century modern style. Sometimes, the best detail is no detail at all.

Detailing plays a major role in project success and should not be overlooked, especially when allocating the construction budget. Although it can be easy to make cuts in the design stage, most consumer research proves that buyers will notice your attention to detail – or lack thereof – and will make buying decisions based on the quality of your detail selections.


These projects were all featured in Volume 9 of inspire Magazine.

Check it out here!