This was one of a five-part email auto-responder series featuring short articles that addressed frequently asked questions. The piece is intended to persuade the right prospect to take the next step with a sense of trust that the company is offering them something of real value.

SUBJECT: Custom Renovation: What’s it worth?

How much should a custom design and renovation project cost? Good question. Let’s approach that question from a different angle and talk about “special-ness.” You could substitute the words “remarkable” or “exceptional” here, if you like. We use these words to describe an intangible something that we value highly and desire. Remarkable, exceptional, special—we seek it out in relationships, in places we love, in the work & play we pursue, in the objects we collect over time.

Even when it seems entirely unjustified, people will pay dearly for special. Example:

Why would a person spend 700 bucks for a Norman Churner bar stool at Design Within Reach?

When they can get one for $16 at IKEA?

What’s the difference? Eye of the beholder, you say. You could say there is no more than a superficial difference (aside from price). This is furniture–a place to park your butt while you scarf down a breakfast cup of yogurt on a workday morning. Both are stylish and will do the job nicely.

Ask again, what’s the difference? One of them is special (in the eye of the beholder). A portion of people will notice and appreciate the difference. A smaller portion of those who appreciate the difference will feel moved by the creative vision embodied in the piece and will buy it.

“Is it worth it?” is a question each of us has internalized over time. It governs our choices. If it intrigues me, if it moves me–I value it. You may ask what all this has to do with home renovation.

In a world buzzing with mass market ideas and big box retail, special holds value precisely because it cannot be pulled off the shelf, shrink wrapped and shipped. It’s personal—made of remarkable design and exceptional craftsmanship just for you. What’s it worth? More.