For the first time in four decades in the luxury-home business, executives at John Wieland builders are thinking the unthinkable: Maybe houses in the South don’t really need a fireplace. They’re also wondering whether new homes require 4,700 square feet of living space. Or private theaters with 100-inch screens. Or super-size-me foyers.

As they draw up blueprints for the house of the post-recession future, builders are struggling to distinguish among what home buyers need, what they want and what they can live without — Jacuzzi by Jacuzzi, butler’s pantry by butler’s pantry.

Read the full article by Michael M. Phillips, “Builders Downsize the Dream Home” in the Wall Street Journal (Nov 13, 2009).

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