Staying abreast of what’s new and innovative in design and real estate is important, not to be trendy but to learn about innovative materials, systems and products to live more sustainably and benefit the planet. Also, new uses for rooms can maximize square footage and our surroundings to add joy to our lives. The following 10 trends are worth considering since they can positively influence whether homeowners reside in single- or multifamily housing.
Homeowners Are More Apt to Stay Put
With interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage still high, home prices holding steady and inventory still low, many homeowners plan to stay put, optimizing or expanding their existing square footage. Laurel Vernazza, Home Design Expert at The Plan Collection— Scarsdale, N.Y.-based company that sells pre-drawn plans—says that for those with no plans to move, the wish list includes:
Accessory dwelling units as zoning laws change
Remodeled basements with saunas
Media centers and game rooms
Home offices as working from home continues
Outdoor space, not just at ground level but above as well
AI-driven technology to make homes easier to use and more energy-efficient
Why now? Homeowners want to be active but decrease maintenance and energy consumption. They favor sustainable materials sourced locally to pare carbon footprints and support local businesses, which is especially true for millennials and Generation Z. Many materials reflect better waterproofing, and garages may have room for battery back-up systems if power goes out, says architect Jonathan Boriack, AIA, LEED AP, principal with KTGY in Oakland, Calif.
Specialized Needs for an Aging Population
Architectural firms like The Architectural Team (TAT) outside Boston are designing facilities for specialized needs, such as The Cordwainer, which will have private and double rooms and a host of amenities including a two-story atrium, performance center, game room to stimulate the brain, and memory care garden. The bedrooms will be divided between two neighborhoods so residents can safely wander, says TAT architect Anthony Vivirito. Also critical is light to help with circadian rhythms and mood. “Biophilic elements and the focus on unique spaces for invigorating activities and entertainment required stepping away from traditional practices,” says Tamilyn Liesenfeld, president and CEO at Anthemion Senior Lifestyles, which owns and operates The Cordwainer in Norwell, Mass.