Open Spaces: Homebuilders are remodeling designs and amenities to meet changing needs
According to the National Association of Home Builders, homebuyers’ changing preferences continue to drive builders toward new design trends in the wake of COVID-19. The increased desire for larger homes, suburban locations, and more outdoor amenities is driving the design of new homes.
“Buyers these days are looking for availability and timing as the most important feature when they start their search,” says Tim Parent, general manager of CraftMaster Homes, a division of Mungo Homes. “These seem to be the first questions about the product available.”
Potential buyers are also looking for homes ranging in size from 2,500 square feet to 3,500 square feet.
“We’ve seen many people go full size in case they decide this will be their forever home, so they don’t have to leave the house or finish parts of the house later,” Parent says. .
Modern styles and clean lines are growing in popularity with buyers, says Regina Perkinson, owner of Perkinson Homes. “Linear fireplaces, decorative custom iron balusters and floating staircases have been in high demand,” she says, adding that larger exterior glass doors and windows that provide access to the outdoors are also requested items. “Retractable screens called ghost screens are also popular for porches now.”
People want homes that are not only beautiful but also functional for their lifestyle.
“That could mean anything from spacious closets and pantries, extra storage, or the ability to install a Ring camera or Nest thermostat,” Parent says. “They also want spacious kitchens with an open concept to the family room, large bedrooms for everyone and not just the master bedroom, an attic for the kids, and covered porches for outdoor space.”
Since the start of the pandemic, many families are choosing to put more money in their own backyards rather than spending it on travel.
“We’re seeing more emphasis on outdoor living than ever before,” Perkinson says. “Not just patios and pools, but also full outdoor kitchens, sitting areas, outdoor dining, fireplaces, freestanding pool houses, freestanding garages, and more detailed landscaping for the backyard.”
There is a “healthy mix of people who create beautiful paved patios with fire pits and gas grills on one side and others who would prefer a covered, screened porch with a double-sided fireplace and TV installation”, explains Parent. “Both options are easily customizable to each customer’s preferences.”
Many homebuyers are looking for anything that will make their life easier – think smart technology.
“We have increased demand for integrated lighting controls,” says Perkinson. “Customers want to be able to control all the lights in their entire home from a single button and control natural light with motorized window solutions.”
Many Parent customers focus on functional options first.
“Then they design their most lived-in spaces that guests will see and come up with plans for all the little ways to add their personal touch once the house is finished,” he says.
Interiors today tend towards clean, modern lines, especially in trim sets.
“Staircase and fireplace designs are becoming more and more unique and are now considered a centerpiece of the home,” says Perkinson. “Natural elements are often sought after to warm interiors. Customers are asking for more glass at the back of their home to bring in more light and create a smooth transition to the outdoors. »
Office spaces are also in demand as more and more people work from home. Often these spaces will replace dining rooms or formal living rooms.
“Formal living rooms aren’t something we get a lot of requests for, but there are people who use extra space in an owner’s bedroom to create a sitting area,” says Parent.
As always, the kitchen is the center of the home, and many buyers are looking for farmhouse kitchens with white cabinetry and wood stain accents. More and more kitchen designs now include larger breakfast nooks to replace formal dining areas.
“The biggest change we’re seeing for functional kitchens is adding deep drawers instead of cabinets with pull-outs,” says Parent. “Among other things, the trends we’re seeing are granite or quartz composite sinks, larger islands that also have quality storage, and some ‘standout’ wood hoods. These particular vents provide an additional eye-catching accent to which is usually the busiest room in a house.
The first floor master bedrooms still attract buyers as they give people the option to age in place.
“We’re building homes where people can feel like the house is growing with them,” Parent says, noting that the designs include ADA-compliant doors and additional blocking in the walls for future handrails.
Perkinson says she’s had more requests for “master double bedrooms – with the option of making the first floor a spacious, full guest suite for visiting family and friends,” she says.
Homebuyers 55 and older often prefer to live in 55+ neighborhoods with amenities, activities, and a “general sense of community as you approach retirement,” says Parent.
“The opportunity to have such low maintenance while living in a beautiful home surrounded by a very desirable neighborhood has been incredibly well received and is highly sought after,” he says.
This article appeared in print in Casa, a special section of the Chesterfield Observer.