New Homes, New Trends

If you’ve toured a newly built model home recently, you may have noticed a few things missing: a formal living room or the once-popular two-story family-room. Today’s new homes are a bit more practical and reflect the way people live: in their “Family Center” an oversized, open great room with a center island kitchen, a casual dining area and a family room.

Washington area residents generally prefer traditional homes, but local builders and architects say that even though exteriors remain mostly traditional, buyers increasingly are looking for more contemporary interiors with open floor plans.

Now that new home sales are making a comeback along with the rest of the housing market, builders are incorporating these new ideas into their home designs. Builders scaled back home sizes and features right after the housing crisis in order to be at a particular price point, but now it appears that they are bringing back larger homes in order to meet buyer demand.

Buyers are a little different now. They’re looking at values more carefully. Builders now use every possible square foot as efficiently as possible, without any two-story spaces but with an open feeling from 9- and l0-foot high ceilings that are standard in many new homes.

The most notable trend in new home designs is the contemporary style open floor plan, ideally with an unobstructed view from the front of the house to the back. One option would include view of a porch or sunroom since people want to see outdoor space if they can.

One way to bring the outdoors inside is to build a covered outdoor corner room within the footprint of the home and accessible through glass doors to the family room or kitchen.

It’s an efficient way to create an outdoor living area without adding an appendage to the house. company offers an integrated outdoor living space as an option on some of their models with glass openings to the space from the family room since that’s where most people entertain and spend time with their families.

Even if the lot configuration doesn’t allow for an outdoor room, most new home designs focus on creating an open primary living space rather than on formal rooms. Many times buyers want an open kitchen with space to spread out and entertain.  Even if you don’t have space for a large kitchen, you can design one that’s well laid out with an ample island and a walk-in pantry if possible.

A living room is a rare find in all but the largest new homes, but some still offer a separate dining room for buyers who want a more formal space for entertaining. When the recession hit many were predicting the end of the large home but after years of shrinking layouts, homes are getting larger once again!

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