10 Design Trends for the New Home Market: Part 2

Our look at production home design trends continues this week, starting in the kitchen. (If you missed part 1 of this blog, you can read it here: 10 Design Trends for the New Home Market: Part 1)

6. Back Kitchens

The back kitchen area provides extra prep space, as well as a place to hide prep work or dirty dishes while entertaining. Pictured: Copeland Model by Village Homes. Architecture by KGA Studio Architects, PC.

From a design standpoint, the kitchen is still the most important room in the house. It still needs to serve as a place to prepare daily meals, but now it serves as a meeting place, eating place, homework place and anything else that needs to be done on a clean flat surface.

That clean flat surface is getting bigger and bigger. I had a client once refer to it as a “kitchen continent”, not an island. As big as they are, we don’t want them cluttered up with things like sinks or cooktops. Those appliances have moved to the back wall. So, now we need to find a place for all of those small appliances (coffee maker, blender, etc.) that used to be back there.

They have moved around the corner where the Pantry Closet or Butler’s Pantry once were. In this extended kitchen area you’ve got space for all of those appliances and gadgets that get used once a day. This is also a great place to hide unwanted prep work and dirty dishes during wild parties.

Copeland Model by Village Homes. Architecture by KGA Studio Architects, PC.

7. Showers

This Master Bath features a zero-step entry shower, a popular feature with the 55+ market. Pictured: Valencia Model by Vantage Homes. Architecture by KGA Studio Architects, PC.
This Master Bath creates a “spa-like” atmosphere with double shower heads and a dry off area

Now let’s move into another design hot spot in the house: the Master Bathroom. Here the buyer is looking for a place to escape their hectic day. “Spa Like” is the buzz word. The bathtub is starting to be a relic like the formal living room (remember those?).

Taking the place of the tub are oversized showers with built-in features like benches, soap & shampoo niches, and drying zones. The roll-in or zero threshold shower is also a great feature for the 55+ market.

Modern fixtures that spray, jet and rain on us have taken the routine shower to a new level. These fixtures still need to meet the stringent EPA water flow restrictions. We’ve even been putting a TV alcove within viewing distance of the shower.

Another added benefit of getting rid of the tub? Extra floor space. This can be reallocated to the master closet or a new linen closet.

8. Free Standing Tubs

There are still people that want that tub to soak away the stress of a long day. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too.

The old plastic 18” deep, deck mounted tub does not evoke images of luxury and indulgence. We are seeing free standing tubs take their place. And these tubs have come a long way from the steel claw foot tubs of the 19th century.

free standing tub

Materials like acrylic, light weight concrete, and even recycled plastic (probably from those old deck mounted tubs!) allow designers and manufacturers to create sleek, modern, and (dare I say) sensual soaking tubs. The water supply for these tubs is as much a work of art as the tubs themselves.

The room seems to become larger just by getting rid of the tub deck and allowing the flooring to extend under and around the free standing tub.

9. Larger Garages

Our minimum garage depth is 22′, with an added alcove to make sure steps and trash bins do not encroach in dedicated vehicle space.

The 20’ x 20’ 2 car garage no longer meets the needs of our Colorado lifestyle. The topography and soil conditions here are a huge challenge when designing a real, usable garage.

We are taking this and other features into consideration when we design new product. Our minimum depth is 22’. This should provide enough room for most of today’s vehicles—with the exception of the larger heavy duty trucks—the key being this is dedicated vehicle space. The steps into the house must not encroach into this floor area. Instead, we provide an alcove off to the side or at the rear of the vehicle space for the steps and two large trash bins. We also try to add additional space in this area for gear storage. The bikes, golf clubs, and skis all need a place to go!

If your team has gone the extra mile to design this into your plans we recommend that you merchandise and show it off. A simple full light French door to the garage would give buyers a peek at this extra thought.

10. The Millennials

8.3 million new Millennial households will form in the next 5 years.

This isn’t really a design trend yet, but just wait. In just three years a majority of Millennials will be reaching the age of 30. That’s when they will be ready to spend 1.6 trillion dollars on home purchases, according to research by The Demand Institute Housing & Community Survey. That’s a lot of money to be made.

They realize that the urban areas are financially out of reach, so they are heading to the first and second ring suburbs of the city. Why am I telling you this now?

Because now is the time to be preparing for these buyers. No one is REALLY sure what they will be looking for, we all have assumptions based upon research and what their lifestyle is now. For example, we know they love their technology, and have been living in apartments that have a lot of amenities. These are a few ques that we have used in developing our Millennial targeted plans.

We are recommending to our production builders to provide at least one Millennial targeted floor plan in any new series they create. This way we can start to get a temperature for what they are looking for and provide it to them when the bigger market hits the streets.

Source: Millennials and Their Homes, a study by the Demand Institute.

About the Author:
John Guilliams brings 30 years of experience in residential architecture to his position as Director of Design for KGA Studio Architects, PC Production Design Studio. He first presented the material in this blog at “60 Design Trends in 60 Minutes” on June 18, 2015, an event put on by the Remodelers and 55+ Housing Industry Councils of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.