Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. (tkhomedesign.com) has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Housingzone.com. Todd welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248.446.1960.
Our lives are busy and getting busier. Some of the most popular new design trends focus on making life a bit easier. Simplifying access and flow to perform every day tasks is a hot topic in today's market.
The photos below illustrate two trends that are rapidly becoming very popular:
1. Laundry Room — Buyers love access from the Master Closet directly into the Laundry Room. The dirty clothes get deposited directly from the closet into a hamper (or better yet the washer). A good pocket door is a nice feature here as it can be left open and out of the way for everyday use, or it can be closed on the occasions that you are having company over for a visit. Why company may be in your Laundry Room or Master Closet is your business I guess.
2. Pocket Office — Large formal studies are still being planned into homes and can serve a great purpose. However unless you are running a home business it is a pain to have a space that you will likely use to pay the bills and check the all important Facebook status updates while keeping that space neat and organized. Buyers are looking for a small space off the kitchen that has a bit of storage and can be used as a bill payment center and general household organizing space. This area should have the option to be closed off so that it does not have to have to look like a model while entertaining.
There is an interesting sea change taking place regarding the allocation of public and private spaces. In one sense plans are becoming more informal, no longer do we keep our guests from the "Family Space" by entertaining them in a stuffy Living Room. Further the Dining Room is all but gone. Instead buyers are opting for large dining spaces that are open to the Kitchen and Family room. The Study is the next space up for grabs. The trend over the last five years has been to open the Study up to the rest of the plan and use columns and ceiling treatments as defining spatial elements. Now with laptops, I pads and all of the other fun stuff, the validity of the large desk formal Study is coming into question. Buyers are starting to require a space that is much more user friendly, convenient, and private, hence the introduction of a pocket office. The Study is becoming much more of a flex space, allowing buyers to the ability to adapt the area as it fits to their lifestyle.
When planning your next design think about the special conveniences that you can employ to help you stand out from the competition. Your buyers will love you for it, your competition will be left scratching their heads, and best of all you can do a super cool tweet about your successful implementation of a great design trend.