For the last 30 or so years, cathedral ceilings have been a signature element in many second homes — from modest vacation chalets to Chapin McMansions. In the past few months, I’ve been out with a number of buyers who see these vaulted, voluminous spaces as more a liability than an asset. Basically their comments come down to, "Wow, that’s a lot of useless space to heat." Certainly this reaction to cathedral ceilings is a function of rising energy costs, but also seems to reflect a new attention to the overall, ongoing costs of running a home — from taxes to utilities to maintenance. And all things being equal, smaller is cheaper.