Jeff Rutt here. Today, I want to talk about making homes useful again.
In a news article I was recently reading, the writer brought up a point that I believe many people in the industry would agree with; while the buyers are back, they aren’t the same. Today’s buyers are looking for a house filled with spaces that they can use.
What does this mean exactly? It starts with less formal living spaces and more flexible living areas. This means instead of designating a purpose for every room, you can allow for more “flex rooms” in your home designs; these rooms are meant to be used as a study, extra bedroom, craft room, media room…whatever the homeowner actually needs the space for. Buyers also expect more luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms where they can escape to and relax after a busy day.
Another major component of usability for homeowners is the ability to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out. For many builders, this means incorporating expansive window walls that flood the room with natural light or outdoor living areas that flow seamlessly into the indoor spaces.
However, usability isn’t just about living space, it’s also about storage. Homeowners want areas like mud rooms or “drop zones” for storing and charging, and they want home offices actually designed for work with other spaces in the home designed for play. More storage also means larger closets; it isn’t uncommon today to find walk-in closets as a standard feature for many secondary bedrooms instead of just the owners’ suite.
Today’s homes have a space for everything, but as builders, we need to use that space wisely. In the past 40 years, the average new home size has increased 44 percent. A majority of today’s buyers expect their townhome or single-family home to have 1,800 to 2,400 square feet, so we are challenged to build smarter aka larger homes with less wasted and more useful space.
How are you building smarter? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below.
Until next time,