Changing Spaces, Shared Interests

By Dan Gregory

The catch phrase "doing double duty" is back in favor as homeowners look for greater flexibility and efficiency.

Last week in Orlando I attended the informative Metrostudy + Builder Housing Outlook Breakfast, which looked at Millennials and Boomers and their often overlapping interests with regard to home design. Our very own Sarah Susanka spoke about designing homes that are built to last and that can evolve as your needs change. It's a key part of her "build better not bigger" philosophy that she has explained in her many Not So Big House books. As shown at the top of this post, her Not So Big Show House, our Plan 454-12, is Boomer-oriented in the way the main floor mudroom and adjacent "away room" can become the main floor master suite to allow for aging in place. Or consider her Not So Big Bungalow, below, 

our Plan 454-13, which is more Millennial-focused in terms of being smaller and more space-efficient, with built-in desk and banquette allowing a corner of the living room to double as a home office and a corner of the kitchen to double as a dining room.

This pragmatic, common sense approach seems more relevant than ever as Boomers and Millennials look for home designs that reflect the way they really live. Boomers, the generation born between 1945 and 1964, are 79 million strong and control 70% of US disposable income. 89% of them want to "age in place" and 65% are open to new technologies to enable independence. Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1999, comprise 83 million people who are marrying and having children later, and have grown up online.

John McLinden, owner of Streetscape Development who included Sarah's Not So Big Showhouse in his project in Libertyville, Illinois, spoke about his successful community designs where right-sized homes and walkability are key features and all generations can mingle. He feels Boomers and Millennials want essentially the same things in a home. Hanley Wood research for their Nextadventure home bears this out. Both Millennials and Boomers want flexible spaces such as a den converting to a guest room or a laundry as hobby/office space, low maintenance, and the ability to work from home. Millennials want less driving, have an interest in saving the planet. Boomers are driving less and have more leisure time. One surprising statistic is about wine: Millennials are 36% of the wine drinking population and Boomers are 34%. Both like their vino, so it's a good thing they both want to drive less!!

These talks made me look for other plans that offer practical approaches to daily living. Of course one story

plans would be important for an aging Boomer population, such as Plan 924-4 by Truoba, where the

master suite is near the garage, there's a generous home office at one end of the great room, and lots of storage. A two story design for a smaller lot might interest a Millennial buyer, so Plan 928-9 by Visbeen 

Architects, Inc., comes to mind because it includes a wide open kitchen/living area and a patio/screened

porch for easy indoor-outdoor movement, along with a ground floor bedroom/office that can easily become the master suite thanks to the adjacent bath.

For a collection of One Story Plans click here; for a collection of Open Floor Plans click here.
Illustration at the top of this post courtesy Metrostudy + Builder.

Wed Jan 18 00:00:00 PST 2017