"Less is more", so the saying goes, but how can a housebuilder convince customers that US architect's Mies Van der Rohe's dictum represents added value?
Coving, dados, ceiling roses and ornate architraves are added value details that homebuyers can see and will pay a premium for, but they belong on the traditional spec. For modernist homes housebuilders can find themselves selling less tangible advantages such as purity of space and light.

Without the distractions of detailing, buyers' attention may be more closely focused on the small print of the kitchen and bathroom specification, and what they are looking for are the right accessories with all the right labels. At the top end of the market, showers have to be walk-in, washbasins have to be his 'n hers, and a cappuccino maker just might be on the wish list.

Specification is simpler if your scheme has a product-designing architect at the helm, like developer Hutchison Whampoa's Albion Riverside, in Battersea, south-west London. Foster and Partners is not only responsible for the architecture of this 180-apartment scheme, it has specified its own design door handles and other items.

Bathroom taps continue to be one of the best indicator of a scheme's calibre. Not so long ago the best dressed washbasin had to be wearing shiny chrome hot and cold Philippe Starck, but now new names are appearing on the spec.

At Eagle House, in London's Westminster, Starck Addition2 taps are used alongside models from the CP Hart Charleston range in the master ensuite. For this 4299 ft2 one-off modernist house, designed by the Halpern Partnership, the spec spares no expense – it even has a home cinema with Dreamvision LCD projector and screen and an Ilight lighting system that allows 26 different lighting scenes to be pre-set. "The internal specification highlights opulent detail, including the use of hardwood joinery throughout," says Peter Harris, head of development at project manager London Town.