He Said. She Said.

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They have produced movies and television sitcoms for decades based upon the premise that men and women see the world differently. The bestselling book, “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus”, further cemented the notion that men and women are different in their priorities and perceptions.

Four veterans of the housing industry decided to test the premise that there are distinctly different, gender-based priorities in the selection of a home. The “He Said, She Said” panel consisted of Builder Tony Crasi, interior designer Doris Pearlman, panel co-creator, Architect Anne Postle, and Architect Jerry Gloss.

They started out with a survey of housing consultants, clients, sales representatives and marketing experts. It was hardly scientific, and they make no claims that it was.  In the survey they asked respondents their age and gender and to rank their top 10 priorities for a new home, from the following fourteen choices, with  no other qualifiers, descriptors, or information provided:

  • Function, function, function
  • Family interaction space
  • Outdoor living space
  • Curb appeal
  • Garage/Workshop
  • Home Technology/AV/Controls
  • Entertaining Space
  • A wonderful Master Suite
  • Bonus space (loft, basement, craft room, fitness room, flex room, etc.)
  • Green-ness
  • A great kitchen
  • A place to work (home office, pocket office, study, command center, etc.)
  • Space for guests
  • Kid’s space

To quote Builder Magazine, “When it comes to what’s important in a home…the battle of the sexes isn’t much of a fight.” Simply put, given the age-old Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus banter, the four panelists were a bit stunned by the survey results, which indicated an unexpected agreement between the Women’s Top 10 and the Men’s Top 10.

Women’s Top 10

  1. Great kitchen
  2. Function, function
  3. Wonderful Master suite
  4. Family interaction space
  5. Entertaining space
  6. Outdoor living space
  7. A place to work
  8. Curb appeal
  9. Space for guests
  10. Garage/Workshop

 

Men’s Top 10

  1. Great kitchen
  2. Function, function
  3. Wonderful Master suite
  4. Entertaining space
  5. Family interaction space
  6. Outdoor living space
  7. Garage/Workshop
  8. A place to work
  9. Curb appeal
  10. Technology

 

So, what can we conclude or speculate about the outcome of the survey?

While the gender rankings are surprisingly in lockstep, we can safely say that there are different factors considered by each gender for each selection. For instance, curb appeal for a man may mean an implied sense of value to a home but for a woman, it may be a wider based sense of community.

The original premise, that men and women have different priorities, was borne out of first-hand experiences the group had over decades of working with custom clients, community projects and navigating through decades of design parameters and data. Assuming that differences did exist, what factors have led to this assimilation of priorities?

First, there has been a blurring of gender-based activities: Men cook and women have invaded the garage for kids’ activities and gardening.  The center of family life has shifted from the family room to the kitchen.

Secondly, the past years of economic turmoil have shaken us to our collective value-based roots, returning to the understanding that kitchens, baths, and master bedrooms enhance and help maintain a home’s value. Perhaps as the economy further rebounds, differences in priorities may become more distinct.

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