Even in difficult economic markets, homebuilders are still striving to deliver amenities that offer comfort, style, and functionality. But which amenities are popular these days has changed.
According to the National Association of Homebuilders, (NAHB), you'll find that builders are figuring out the best ways to rework spaces. Out go formal dens and in come smaller home management areas (think office but not quite as spacious or traditional, more like a "pocket office". A "pocket office", according to NAHB, can be located in a large pantry area or nearby the kitchen or family great room.) It's all about conserving and creating efficient workable spaces that also offer other functions.
Along the lines of making things more efficient, laundry facilities are now being placed near the "master bedroom's walk-in closet", writes the NAHB in a press statement.
Watch for shadow units–separate units that are built alongside the main home that conveniently accommodate other residents (like elderly parents) but still offer access to the main floor plan through a door connected to the unit. Also becoming increasingly popular are two master suites in one home. Typically one suite is located on the ground floor to ease the access for elderly occupants.
Perhaps a bit of Zen-like influence, homes are mixing materials such as metal, wood, and stone, creating a modern look in the home's façade. But the once common rectangular-shaped home is taking on new shapes and fewer roof lines. NAHB, says that homes will be "visually stimulating" and make use of as much natural light as possible. For instance, in a corner area, builders are placing two windows to allow "unobstructed views and maximum light to come in".
Instead of a rectangle, you'll notice that the family triangle area is becoming the norm. An open triangular floor plan creates room for residents to have their own space in the family triangle area. Lighting and architectural detail are vital in order to keep the family triangle area from appearing cramped or like it's just a large room. When effectively designed, the home can have an eating area, a kitchen, and a sitting area all in the family triangle and look and feel as though it has some separation from the different areas. However, homes will still have some private areas that offer a place for residents to get away to work alone.
Kitchens are still one of the most important rooms in the house. Becoming not only more popular but also necessary are walk-in pantries. These large pantries sometimes have a little kitchen desk inside–perfect for making notes about what's needed from the market. They generally have room for a laptop and paperwork and it's all out of view from guests in the main kitchen area.
Of course, outdoor living spaces are becoming more desirable especially in areas where the climate is mild year round. In the past, I've written about how homeowners are bringing the indoors outside by creating living-room like areas outside. However, the trend of building big outdoor kitchens is on the decline. It seems that while homeowners want more livable space to relax on their outdoor couch, the outdoor kitchen is one area that homeowners feel they can live without.
Good design, efficiency, and functionality top the list of things that builders are aiming for and homeowners are hoping for. (Plus, of course, affordability.)