When I was a kid, I longed for a Jetson-style home. A translucent tube would suck me from my flying car directly into the kitchen, where Rosie the robot would be waiting with a cool, refreshing drink.
Alas, that hasn’t happened (yet). But a girl can always dream!
What I am seeing in new construction lately, however, excites me almost as much as the thought of owning a Jetson-home. Here are the three hottest trends I’ve observed:
The Great Recession has been a huge factor in the popularity of home designs where the entire extended family lives under one roof: grandparents, Mom and Dad, and their post-college children who can’t find a job. In fact, 69 million Americans live in homes with two or more adult generations (compared to 49 million in 2008 and 28 million in 1980).
What does this mean, in terms of home design? According to this video on CNBC, we’re going to see a lot of new homes with:
- Separate entrances
- Separate kitchens
- Wider hallways
- Add-on apartments
- Two master suites (one upstairs and one downstairs) Two master suites
- Elevators and other amenities for those with limited mobility
- Walk-in kitchen pantries
This doesn’t mean the homes are gigantic; they’re actually smaller, but they’re using the space more efficiently. The 3-car garages of the housing boom have morphed into in-law suites.
Speaking of smaller homes, you would be correct if you guessed that today’s new homes are shrinking in size – by 2015, new, single-family homes will likely average 2,150 square feet (down from today’s average of 2,400 sq. ft.).
Keeping construction costs low is a huge factor for both builders and home buyers who purchase pre-construction homes in new communities. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of simple, clean rectangular designs with interiors that blend modern and traditional elements.
And, of course, nearly all new homes include environmentally-friendly design elements – solar panels, Energy Star appliances, geothermal central heating, and “green” use of materials.
Flexible living spaces
Because homes are getting smaller, home designers have been forced to get creative with the way they structure the living space. To save on square footage, open floor plans – great rooms – are making a comeback. Open floor plans usually include the kitchen, living area, and dining area, and feature large windows that let in the light, which gives the illusion of spaciousness.
Private outdoor “rooms” that blend seamlessly with the indoors and serve as an extension of the living space. Covered outdoor spaces that include fireplaces, grills, and comfy seating are hugely popular throughout the U.S., even here in the Pacific Northwest where it’s often cool and drizzly.
You’re also likely to find nooks and crannies throughout the interior of new homes – areas for charging cell phones, shelves under staircases, and built-in cubbies to house all the stuff you want to keep, but don’t necessarily want on display.
“Pocket offices” are popular. Unlike the formal home office, these small spaces cater to our mobile society; you’re likely to find them near the kitchen or in other open areas of the home.
What’s your favorite trend?
Have you toured any new homes lately? What design trends most appeal to you?
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net