In the distant past, a reasonably dry cave was the favorite dwelling of the day. Mud huts were “in” for a while, followed by the split level ranch home. Since then, though, there haven’t been any major developments in home design. At least until now. It may be too early to declare a full-scale revolution under way, but there are some pretty big new trends in what Americans are asking for in residential home design.
Residential Architect, the magazine of the American Institute of Architects has an online article about these new, and very telling trends. Economics, changing attitudes and generational differences are in play. A lot of it has to do with simplifying lives, downsizing and focusing on what’s important, rather than what’s impressive.
Residential Architect calls the top trend “Honest Architecture.” This means less glitz and shine in interior design, and instead focusing on natural materials and clean, simple lines. Architects are also simplifying the exteriors, rediscovering beauty in boxier designs, which are easier to build and maintain. That was part of the idea of the house addition we designed, shown in the illustration.
New homes are trending smaller and more efficient, too. This is obviously encouraged by the tight economy. But we wonder if it’s also just a growing overall preference for simplicity in our lives. The Residential Architect article points to the “Sensible Series” of homes designed by D. W. Taylor Associates. The floorplans in the series range in size from a very modest 1,560 to 2,400 square feet, and are designed to maximize space and comfort. Very sensible, indeed.
Architects are also hearing from clients that they want their new homes to be what you might call environmentally aware, if not completely green. Again, there’s probably a view to long term money savings, but there is also certainly a growing environmental consciousness among homeowners. Look for new homes designed with solar panels already installed, or rain water catchment systems and perhaps even home oriented to make efficient use of sunlight rather than necessarily flush with the street.
The Residential Architect article has much more to say about this. It’s short and worth a look.
Residential home design is a big part of what we do here at Leslie Saul & Associates. We have years of experience in green design, and we certainly believe in creating homes that are efficient, comfortable and very livable. Call us to discuss your next architectural or interior design in the Boston area. You can reach us at 888-488-2895.