by Bruce Arant, Editorial Director for The Garlinghouse Company 

Talking with Jarret earlier today, I was reminded that you had asked about trends we are observing in home design

Here are my current observations. I am sure they are far from profound, but hopefully they will be of some help as you continue to develop new designs. 

One of the most important design attributes is flexibility. Flexibility should relate to as many aspects of the design as possible, such as:

  • Flexible/multiple elevation options for the same footprint. Developers are particularly fond of multiple elevation options.
  • Flexible garage options (front or side-load) to accommodate more building sites and/or neighborhood covenants.
  • “Removable” attached garages to allow designs to be used on narrow lots.
  • Multiple foundation options (slab, crawl, full basement, basement walk-out) to accommodate regional preferences or requirements.
  • Finished basement options, to allow more flexible use of the home.
  • Nine-foot-high basement foundations to provide more of an “upstairs” feel to finished basements.
  • Screened porch and 3-season rooms to allow for more flexible use of the home, beyond the traditional living spaces.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • Beyond making the design as flexible as possible, I would say to err on the side of smaller, rather than larger square footages.
  • You can never have too many windows. Natural light is more popular than ever – especially with the aging Baby Boomer population.
  • Speaking of aging homebuyers, first-level master suites are more popular than ever.
  • Also, I am seeing interest in a offering a second main-floor master, presumably for live-in parents
  • Carriage house detached garages for use as out-of-the-home offices, hobby/art studios, “boomerang kid” apartments, etc.