Monthly Archives:June 2014
2014 Home from the Heart Survey Results Shows People Are Planning to Build Larger Homes0 Comments
The recent uptick in the economy and growing consumer confidence has emboldened homeowners with big dreams of building larger homes. It was only two years ago when Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon, worked with home builders who ordered smaller house plans, saving money on building costs, energy bills and long term maintenance. With the recession in the rear view mirror and the wealth index on the rise, it appears that people are ready to live large again.
Associated Designs in May released the results of their annual Home from the Heart survey showing people wanting a home that’s significantly larger than previous years, at an average of 2300 square feet. Rick says he’s also seeing a significant increase in the size of homes actually being built.
“Over the last eight months, I’m seeing a big difference in requests for house plans that include larger rooms, more specialty areas and bigger owner’s suites with luxury spas,” says Rick.
Every year for the past 20 years, Associated Designs has commissioned a survey on homeowner preferences, offering respondents the opportunity to define a specific style of home and floor plan with quality features that best reflect their desires. The company’s designers use the survey results to create a dream home design which, in theory, is the perfect home for the average family. According to Rick, the single-level Brightheart plan, released today, is their 2014 Home from the Heart.
The Brightheart plan is a single-level ranch, a clear survey winner over traditional country styling, which has prevailed in previous years. The popularity of the ranch home, with contemporary and clean lines, is a nod toward a cultural surge of all things associated with mid-century fashion, from furniture and home accessories to clothing and TV shows. But, the new ranch style is nothing like grandma’s house. Rick believes there is much to learn from the past, but much to gain by bringing things up-to-date.
“I have fond memories of growing up in a mid-century home, where my family gathered in the den to eat on TV trays and watch Gunsmoke,” Rick laughed, “But, in today’s ranch we’ve busted open those tight floor plans and added an ultra-modern kitchen with large gathering spaces.”
Where the ubiquitous 50’s ranch had low ceilings and dark spaces, the new ranch sports high, vaulted ceilings with abundant natural light washing in through multiple large windows. The light fixtures are flush mounted with carefully chosen and artfully designed chandeliers, post-modern sconces and energy efficient bulbs. Homeowners from the survey also suggested a desire for passive solar window orientation with a deep overhang and radiant heat.
One consistent result from the yearly survey is the preference for a casual but high quality lifestyle, utilizing informal living spaces and large, feature-rich kitchens opening up to friendly great rooms. The Brightheart plan demonstrates that concept perfectly with a T-shaped kitchen that’s plumbed and wired for every convenience, including a tech center tucked into an alcove near the door to the garage. The raised eating bar that fronts the kitchen’s L-shaped work island doubles as a dining room buffet.
In today’s ranch home, the transition to the outdoors is smooth and purposeful, connecting to natural spaces that are seen from the inside while easily luring the homeowner outside. In this plan, the sliding glass doors offer easy access to a covered patio, built to the same height as the living room, and offering an inviting outdoor space regardless of weather.
A perennial favorite from the survey, easily incorporated in a single-level ranch, is the owner’s suite on the main floor. And, adding to the functionality of a home on one level is a concept called “aging in place” and requested by 70% of the survey respondents. While our grandparents aged at home in spite of major modifications required to widen hallways and add wheelchair ramps, today’s ranch is taking those needs into account when the home is built.
The modern ranch plan includes roomy hallways leading from open great rooms, curbless showers, walk-in pantries, flush levels from garage to living space, and many more features necessary for a person to call it their forever home. Keeping some flavor from the 50’s era, the contemporary ranch home now includes quality construction, energy efficient designs and highly livable spaces. It’s a new home every generation will love.