There is no question-today's American family is shopping for a different kind of home. A home is no longer just a place to store your clothes, eat your dinner and lay your head. Today's American home is a place to relax, recreate, work and entertain. People are living in their homes more than ever. The home is once again the focal point of the family, but it has changed dramatically to fit the way we live in the 21st century.
And while people still view their home as a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, they also want to be informed and live like the outside world. Thanks to countless advances in building and communication technology, families can bring the outside world into their home. With everything from refrigerators that offer Internet access to exercise rooms, a family can create a home that lives more like a resort.
What led to this change? There are a number of reasons that families are putting so much more time and effort into creating their perfect haven of a home. Perhaps the most obvious are lowered interest rates and the downturn in the stock market. But there are more elements to the new multidimensional role of today's home.
The increased number of families with dual incomes has led to a sharing of household chores. More men are in the kitchen whether for hobby or necessity, and you've been wondering how all those "big shiny gadgets" found their way into the kitchen! Double ovens, wine coolers, dual dishwashers-technology is definitely a part of today's kitchen.
Everyone knows the popularity of telecommuting, but have you considered how it has changed home design? Most often, new homes require several different computer stations. There is usually a built-in desk in the kitchen/breakfast area for paying the household bills and organizing, a separate study/home office for the telecommuter, and a computer station outside the secondary bedrooms for the children's play and study. Prior to the home office explosion, most homes had one computer shared by the whole family. Now, the home must be designed to accommodate workspace for all members of the family.
The key to the kind of home that lives with a family is "flow." Families want a home that flows room to room and looks inviting to guests, but lacks nothing in private areas. Today's kitchen is actually a combination of the kitchen, breakfast area and family room. With such hectic schedules, family members can enjoy togetherness in a large, open room. The tricky part to this design is creating the open feel while also allowing for different activities to take place in the same room. Family members can often be found in the "new kitchen" with one member cooking at the island, another watching TV and yet another reading on a window seat. It is important to have these different areas in this open design without sacrificing the "flow" of the room.
Several of the other major trends in today's home involve the bedrooms and bathrooms. Despite so much of the new American home promoting family togetherness, family members still demand their own private space. Master suites are bigger and more private. It is important when studying a floor plan to note the traffic patterns to the master suite. Families should look for master suites that are as disconnected from the rest of the home as possible. Kids are also no longer willing to compromise on their living areas. They want bigger bedrooms and their own play/work space.
So what does this mean to you as a homebuyer? More choices and more homes that are designed to live and grow with your family. Buying a home is not only a financial investment, but also an investment in your family. With less time to spend together recreating or on vacation, today's American home has become more of a retreat, a haven, and a safe place. And while not all homebuyers can afford the tremendous luxuries of an oversized "spa" shower or a kitchen with the fanciest gadgets, there are distinct design elements that, when carefully placed, create the kind of haven any family can afford.