In the last several years there has been a significant shift towards reducing energy costs and carbon emissions by incorporating green principles into home design, building and operation. Homes that consume less energy and have a lower carbon footprint also generate lower energy and operating costs. Key principles of this kind of building and remodeling include an airtight thermal envelope, proper ventilation with a good heat recovery system, superior insulation, good solar orientation for the use of solar panels and of course the use of energy efficient appliances. Homeowners are also increasingly interested in health conscious designs. Paints, insulation, wood stains, carpeting, upholstery and other synthetic materials can pose serious health problems for family members with severe allergy or breathing problems. Fortunately, non-toxic paints and natural material alternatives are available.
Another homebuilding trend is designing for relaxation. It has been estimated that people alive today are exposed to more information in one day than an average person in the 17th century was exposed to in their entire lifetime. With today’s stress and the information overload, it is easy to understand why features like home spas, home theatres, home gyms and areas designed to provide opportunities to unwind and relax are becoming more and more prevalent in new home construction.
Flex rooms are also a popular trend. Flex rooms are areas in the home that can have a range of uses, changing from a den to a guest room, for example, as needed. Architects are also designing homes to accommodate the growing elderly population who are opting to stay with family. By designing and building a kind of self-contained unit, segregated from the rest of the house in some way, it allows the elderly relative and the rest of the family valuable privacy. This kind of building also offers the homeowner versatility. Flex rooms enable maximum usage with the available space and also allow for potentially renting out the flex space should that become desirable.
Kitchens have been the hub of the home for many families for years, but now they being elevated to center stage and are often designed to be the focal point of the home. New kitchen designs often incorporate a whole range of other multitasking uses including home offices and homework stations. This allows overscheduled families to maximize the time together at home. Where the outdoors was once a place exclusively for gardens and lawns, these days builders are creating outdoor rooms. These rooms allow homeowners to expand their available living space and enjoy the enhanced presence of nature in their homes. Another trend that helps maximize available space is inventive storage capacity. More and more builders and remodelers are finding creative storage solutions such as stairways that contain storage bins in the steps, under stairs closets and little play areas and new and innovative built-ins.
Whether you are building or remodeling, these trends offer comfort, convenience, and the likelihood of increased resale value when you sell your home.
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties provided information contained in this article. For more information or to find a qualified professional, log onto MasterBuildersInfo.com.