2013 is an interesting year so far. The stock market is trending higher than it has been since the Bust back in 2008. Home sales are starting to increase and inventory of distressed housing from the Boom is being gobbled up. So what does this mean for house design features for 2013?
That is a combination of influences: technology, building design & construction knowledge, new laws and codes, storms and what they do to us, and just plain smart things to do that will make your house better.
Homes will start costing more, as this year moves ahead. So: get your Architect going now on that dream house design. Costs will likely never be lower than they are right now, meaning: they are probably going to start normalizing as the old short sales and foreclosures are consumed. Also, interest rates right now are the lowest they have been in about 60 years. Do you really think that they will remain here? The Fed is already rumbling about increasing rates. Had to happen sometime. Every few months, this architectural firm prepares a Top 5 list of features, to illustrate how these factors are evolving.
So what do all these factors have to do with house design feature so far this year? Quite a bit. Everything is connected. So let’s get into the top 5 features:
1. Houses are getter a bit larger than from just a few months ago.
They had been shrinking, but aging Baby Boomers who have thinking that they wanted their retirement house to be half the size of their present residence are starting to understand what that means. Smaller yes, but not quite as small as they may have previously imagined. They still want their children and grandchildren to be able to visit on holidays and stay for a few days. So that usually translates into at least a couple of spare bedrooms, or perhaps a sofa bed in the home office. Maybe the next house doesn’t really have to have a formal dining room; a dining area in the Great Room space will work fine, and have a better view. Home offices are becoming more popular and some of them for two people, with a shared “partner’s” conference desk. Definitely at least two computer stations in there. So: people are starting to understand that money will probably not be cheaper in their lifetimes, so they may opt for a little extra space and a few more features while the getting is good.
2. Houses are becoming more Energy – Efficient.
This is a trend that is never-ending. As utility costs continue rise, there will be reason to increase the energy conservation of your house. At least one Architect puts much of this efficiency into the ceiling: the HOME ARCHITECTS ®. “Any mechanical engineer can tell you that most of a house’s heat loss and gain is through it’s roof, ” said senior staff Architect, Rand Soellner, ArCH/NCARB/LHI. “Our company specifies an R-49 insulation in our project roofs & ceilings (click here for more information–> R-49 Roof Insulation ). That’s about 22% more than most code requirements in this area of a person’s residence. And this extra insulation can be had for mere pennies on the dollar.” Also, the firm has not neglected their walls. They created their SupR-Wall last year, which delivers an R-27+, which is nearly twice the insulative value of most household exterior walls. And delivers it for just pennies more, in critical areas. People are understanding that a little more money spent on insulation, on an Architect-designed house with passive solar features and the like are a good investment now. They will recoup that investment in lower utility bills as time moves forward. Their houses will also be more comfortable and be healthier.
3. Houses are becoming more Durable & Healthier.
This particular architectural firm is using more durable materials that don’t shrink, rot, or burn like materials used just a decade ago did. And their houses are more resistant to bugs. And their residential designs are cleaner: for a healthier house. For instance, “Encapsulated Crawlspaces” is another feature this firm is exclusively using for its projects, because it works. They have encapsulated some projects as test cases and in some of these have noticed Zero Bugs. Amazing. By cutting off the ability of insect access from the crawlspace, it is possible to achieve a nearly 100% insect-free house. Of course, having regular exterior treatments from a pesticide company will help. Also, their encapsulated crawlspace projects have a dryer atmosphere in them, which is healthier for the air you breathe, because they also specify a crawlspace dehumidifier. And these are just s few of the features that can be designed into your house to make it more durable and healthier. Click here for more information about Healthy Home Design –> Healthy Home Design .
4. View: it’s all about it.
People want a view. Primarily from the “rear” of the project, looking into nature. It doesn’t matter if it’s trees, mountains, a pond or a lake. A view: period. And lots of glass looking at whatever the land has to offer.
5. Houses are becoming more accessible.
People are realizing that as they age, they may prefer to live primarily on one level. Perhaps a basement or loft can have mainly guest spaces and that works just fine for some people. But they have seen what happens to their own aging parents and they certainly would prefer to live out their days in their own house rather than the dreaded nursing home. What makes this possible is your Architect, carefully planning the transition from the Garage into the Kitchen and from your doorways to your decks, and from your Master Bathroom floor into your Master Shower. All of these transitions, if more than a few fractions of an inch, can render these situations inaccessible. This particular architectural firm is aware of this and plans accordingly, insuring that their clients can “Age in Place,” an important step forward for people who would like to remain in their own residence for the remainder of their lives, enjoying the spaciousness, light, warmth and familiar surrounding that they love so dearly. This is the sort of thing that your have to plan for, well before it becomes necessary. Good planning and design pay off with benefits, years later that are very valuable to those in such situations. Click here for more information about–> accessible house design .
tags: views and house design, accessibility, durability, energy efficiency, top 5 design features spring 2013 , cashiers, highlands, hendersonville