Posts Tagged ‘home design’

My friend, Janet Harriman, recently told me about some local folks who are doing great things toward helping us live more lightly on this old Earth.  A couple of years ago Iredell residents Drude and Angelina Corbet designed and built a home in New Hope township in north Iredell that’s highly efficient in the use of materials and energy- a “green” home.  They are using the home as a demonstration of the idea that such a home can be built in a way that is economical and appealing to the average home buyer.  They have formed The Mobius Company to help advance their ideas and help others build what they refer to as the Mean Lean Dream Green Home.  New home building is just starting to show signs of life again after the economic downturn.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could reset our expectations to include the idea that good quality, affordable new homes can be built this way instead of the old paradigm that such homes require a premium price and a long payback period.

The Corbets should get a nice boost to their goals tonight because they’ll be a part of a WBTV program called “Going Green” at 8:00PM.  It looks to offer lots of advice on changing lifestyles to ensure that we don’t make a mess of our home- an idea that really appeals to me since I’d like to leave this place better that I found it.  See more about this special HERE, and tune in tonight.

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I spent some time today talking with a local developer and a local builder.  A good bit of our discussion had to do with answering one very big question.  The question is, “When the housing market comes back (yes when, not if), how will buyers’ preferences have changed from back a few years ago when houses were selling like hotcakes.  In other words, what will be the “new normal” in new home construction.  Of course, this matters a lot to developers, and builders (and designers) because they have to build a certain number of inventory homes in order to attract buyers, showing their design options and quality of construction.  They want to put a product on display that rings true to today’s buyer, not a just rehash of what was popular a few years ago.  Guess right, and they get to sell a home.  Guess wrong, and they’ve got an expensive problem on their hands.

Having shown a lot of homes to buyers over the years, it’s remarkable what changes you can see in what “normal” looked like in houses built over the years.  If you go out today to look at resale houses on the market, you can see a wide range of preferences for things like how much space is devoted to kitchens, baths, and closets and note at what point we went from formal living rooms and dens to great rooms.  Average houses used to be quite a bit smaller than those being built just a couple of years ago.  People used to get along with much more modest wardrobes that didn’t require large walk-in closets.  Bathrooms used to be very small and functional- people were just happy that they were indoors!  Kitchens, too, were very small and functional, yet grandma could feed a small army from it.  Today, we watch The Cooking Channel and all want gourmet kitchens.  With the economy having gone through a punishing several years, you have to wonder if people will put their emphasis on different characteristics than they have in the recent past.  Apart from sheer space, how much will they care about things like energy efficiency, “green” building materials and design, storage space, extra living space for multi-generational families, low maintenance materials and designs, and home offices.  Will they still like the open, airy feel of vaulted ceilings or opt for useable floor space up there that is easier to air condition?

People’s housing preferences change with changes in their economic condition, their age, their family makeup, their work arrangements, societal influences and many other details of their lives.  Developers and builders work hard to understand what the buyers of the near future  are looking for in a new home. 

I’d love to hear any ideas you may have along these lines.  What will be the hot button design features that you and your friends will be looking for when home shopping in the next few years?

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