What’s hot and not in home styles this year

 

Modern gets the thumbs up.  

                                 

Spa-like and eco-sensitive, the  “New American Home 2012” being unveiled in Orlando this week by the National Association of Home Builders in conjunction with the boulder design firms, is a warmer take on the classic “White Box” of mid-20th century modern design.

“A lot of people want a spa feeling and a spa look that’s very analogous to modern,” said Luis Juaregui, a Texas-based American Institute of Architects accredited architect. The 4,200 square foot, $3.5 million gray stone and glass home has free flowing entertaining spaces,  floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, a stone staircase with open risers, clear glass balustrades and clean geometric lines, tempered by dark wood cabinets, area rugs and soft furnishings.


Still, to fit into more traditional looking neighborhoods, architects are increasingly going hybrid, mixing distinctly modern, techno-savvy interiors with colonial details, Tudor-style roofs or Craftsman-inspired touches on the exterior.

A home to call one’s own has long been part of the American Dream. But as tastes, technologies and regional preferences change, propelled by demographics and the socio-economic climate, the style, scale and comforts of that coveted real estate evolve.

During the bigger- is-better 1980s and 1990s, homes ballooned in size.  Compact single story ranch and cape cod styles gave way to ever grander two-story neo-colonials. When the economic bubble burst, they retrenched. These days, downsizing is cool; supersized McMansions towering over smaller homes are not.



Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders said that houses shrank about 10 percent from their 2,500 square foot peak in 2007, and are expected “to get smaller and more efficient” with open floor plans, master bedrooms on the first floor and dining rooms distinguished only by a chandelier or architectural detail.

One-story ranch homes, post World War II suburbia’s signature easy style, are slowly regaining favor, thanks to first time buyers with tiny tots and aging baby boomers seeking accessibility.

Craftsman style homes, popular before World War II, are also enjoying a revival, said Gary D. Cannella, an architect in Bohemia, N.Y.  “It’s the style not the size.” Adaptable to sizable abodes or small bungalows, these one or one and a half story homes boast  low-pitched rooflines, tapered columns, oversized eaves, gables and the front porches “that everyone wants and no one sits on.”

The split level, a hallmark of suburbia in the Brady Bunch era, is nearly obsolete. Despite the aerobic benefits of tri-level living, “all you do is walk up and down stairs all day long,” Cannella says. “You can’t go anywhere without steps.”