I don't believe it's influenced by marketing though. Part of it is aesthetics. Certain things appeal to me because they are either unique, or because the design is actually art. And functionality counts for something as well as longevity. Most of all, I enjoy the feel of something well-made.
I didn't buy my car because I'm a preppy snob who thinks he's better than anybody else. I bought it because it should be running 20 years from now and still look and feel pretty damn good if I care for it. And I bought it because it fits my body and is comfortable. And I like the solid thunk I hear when I close the door. And I like the way it looks. If I was a snob I'd be driving a 2008 model instead of a 2003. Honestly, I like the look of the 2003 better.
Today I learned something else. I have good taste in door knobs and deadbolt locks. And good taste can be a curse when you are on a budget. But my philosophy is pretty simple: if I have to live with it, I want to like it. And if I'm spending money on it I want to really like it.
We recently replaced our roof. I wasn't content to just replace the brown shingles with brown. It was my money (or our money) and if I'm dropping over 6-grand on something, it better not be shit-brown for starters.
The new roof is a huge improvement. Probably added twice as much value as the cost just for improved curb appeal. (We don't have curbs out here, but I like using the expression anyway.) And I wasn't going to just replace a roof without replacing two old ugly plastic bubble skylights with something more updated. And windows were ordered at the same time as the roof because they actually look worse than the roof!
Once the roof was re-shingled, it illuminated another problem: the siding on the house looked like crap. It was dirty, moldy, cracking and peeling. So I made the hasty decision to go ahead and get the house painted at the same time. Now that I can see what a huge improvement that is going to make on the house, other little things are popping up.
Like door knobs. And those light fixtures on the outside of the house. Ditto on the inside of the house. I painted a bathroom and suddenly everything has to go: towel rack, toilet paper holder, faucet and lighting.
If you're like me and had never done a lot of this, you'll be surprised when simple things you never think about become a major purchase. Who thinks about door knobs?
Walk around your house. Count the doors and door knobs. You might be surprised.
We have 18 of those fuckers in the house, six of them with exterior access which require deadbolts. It really makes me think about people who build new houses and must make all those purchases at once: every light fixture, toilet, tub, and various other hardware. It adds up quickly.
The good news is that I found a web site which sells the knobs and locks I want at discounted prices and several dollars less than Home Depot. It's still going to be roughly $550 to replace them all, but I'm sure it would be at least $700 if I bought them locally and I'd have to pay sales tax on top of that.
Ugly knobs and deadbolts: your days are numbered.
Home: a place where projects never end.