5 Builder Design Trends for New Homes

By Boyce Thompson

A floating tub and a master bath that's accessible from the hall as well as the bedroom is a key trend. Plan 497-46

[Note: To further illustrate the trends Boyce has identified, I have included designs from Houseplans.com. -- Editor Dan Gregory]

New-home designs may not change as fast as women’s fashion. But, as presentations at last month’s International Builders’ Show demonstrated, they are evolving faster than ever before. It’s difficult for builders to keep pace. Outdoor rooms, for instance, are spreading not just throughout the country but throughout the house, as builders create large second-floor porches off master bedrooms. Staircases are being used more frequently as design elements that integrate exterior and interior architecture. And transitional architecture that simplifies historic looks is growing in popularity. Here are five key trends, gleaned from presentations and award-winning home designs, worth considering for your next home series.

Master Bathrooms Morph Into Spas
Master bathrooms, which shrank during the housing recession, are back in full swing. In several award-winning homes, the master bathroom looked more like a spa, with a floating bathtub, natural wood elements, and large showers, some of them with changing colors and mood music. Whether a starter or custom home, “it’s all about the master bathroom,” says Don Ruthroff of Dahlin Group, adding that fitting a floating bathtub into a small bathroom is no simple chore. In higher-end homes, architects have discovered that a second hallway entry into the master bath can be real marriage saver if one spouse travels a lot or regularly comes

home late from work. She or he can enter the bathroom unnoticed, change clothes, and quietly slip into bed, as shown in the master suite layout for Plan 497-46, and at the top of this post.

Mid-Century Modern Makes a Comeback
 
Several award-winning homes incorporated elements of Mid-Century Modern architecture, noted Joe Digrado of Danelian Associates, a judge in the Best in American Living Awards (BALA). Vermillion at Escena, a Palm Springs subdivision of Mid-Century Modern homes 

built by Beazer Homes (example shown above), won several design awards at IBS. “Mid-Century detailing is unusual and needs to be done right,” Digrado said, referring to the simple, clean lines, and bright colors that define the look. Designing high glass into these homes, another common element, can be difficult with roof trusses.

Here's a Mid-Century Modern style example by The Homestead Partners in Plan 917-2.

Islands Just Keep Getting Bigger
Kitchen islands just keep growing in popularity – and size. “You just can’t make them big enough,” said David Kosco, director of design for Bassenian-Lagoni Architects. Islands are being used for everything from entertaining, to homework,
to eating breakfast, to actually preparing food and washing dishes. It has reached the point where so much is going on in the kitchen that designers are seeing demand for more prep kitchens where the real work of cooking and washing dishes is done, especially during parties. Image above is the kitchen island in Fiano, at Newport Beach, CA, designed by architect Robert Hidey for The New Home Company.

Plan 928-11 by Visbeen Architects includes a secondary prep sink, ample room for bar seating, and has 

a raised round counter for buffets and platters of hors d'oeuvres.

Laundry Rooms Grow More Sophisticated
Laundry rooms have become much more than utility spaces. As they grow in size, architects are doing a better job integrating them into overall home designs, connecting them to spaces where clean laundry is stored – linen closets and master closets. They are brightening the space with windows and carving out spaces for pet grooming. In an NAHB survey of builders to gauge the most important design considerations for 2016, laundry rooms finished second, 

behind only walk-in master closets. Plan 48-642 offers ample counter and storage space in the upstairs laundry along with abundant natural light.

Dedicated Storage
One of the first questions people have when they consider a new home is where will their luggage go, said Dan Swift, president of BSB Design in Des Moines. The second is where to put their kitchen appliances, said the architect, who carves out kitchen counter space for specialized appliances. Finding room for bulk purchases, groceries, holiday decorations, and bicycles are other important considerations. Borrowing a page from boat designers, Swift tries to design specialized storage into every free nook and cranny of a

home, such as this example showing wine storage/display between kitchen and living room in BSB Design's Lowry East Park Cottages. In Plan 51-575, shown below, the mud room includes a large walk-in closet for

luggage or big box storage.

Mon Feb 08 00:00:00 PST 2016