Smaller Homes, Outdoors Spaces: Hot Stuff in 2007
Smaller homes and the abundant use of outdoor rooms are among the hot design trends for 2007, according to architects and interior designers who judged the latest Best in American Living Awards (BALA).
Other hot trends, as seen in the BALA entries and outlined during a panel discussion at the recent International Builders’ Show in Orlando, include:
- The re-emergence of contemporary design, particularly in interior furnishings and design, but also in exterior design
- Vertical living where land is scare
- Green building and sustainable development
- Urban revitalization and redevelopment
- Specialty spaces and features, including rotundas and stair towers
Participating panelists Victor Mirontschuck, of EDI Architecture, a global architecture, interior design and planning firm; Kathy Browning, of Design Consultants, a model home merchandising and interior design company in Virginia Beach, Va.; and Barry Glantz, of Glantz and Associates Architecture, a full service residential architectural and consulting firm based in St. Louis, discussed the “hot” design trends they see coming to the fore in 2007 during a recent press conference at the builders’ show.
All three panelists defined “hot trends” as those trends that were prominently featured in an abundance of the entries in this year’s BALA competition.
Smaller Homes, Higher Level of Finishes
“Small doesn’t mean less appealing,” said Browning, while noting that the smaller homes entered in BALA featured high levels of quality and finish.
The smaller homes entered in BALA were as small as 1,500 square feet. A few of the smaller homes had as much as 3,500 or more square feet of living space, but were considered small because they “had a small feel to them,” Glantz said.
“There was a higher level of finishes in smaller homes in this year’s entries,” added Glantz. The homes featured interior items such as wrought iron, built-ins and furniture-grade cabinetry. “They were all cozy, warm and very, very livable."
Smaller homes are gaining appeal because of higher energy costs, Mirontschuck said.
Another reason, Browning added, is because more people are downsizing their lives and “shedding stuff.”
Outdoor Spaces Have Year-Round Appeal
Browning said the use of outdoor rooms and spaces is no longer popular in just warm climates. She said they are being created in homes in more moderate climates for three-season use, and even in some colder climates.
Contemporary Makes Initial Inroads Inside Homes
All three panelists said that contemporary design was primarily appearing in interior design trends, rather than exterior designs.
Contemporary design was also making its way into homes through retail outlets like Target and home furnishing stores, Browning added. “Contemporary design is coming into homes little by little,” she said. “It can be found in second homes” where many people are simplifying their lifestyles. “It’s not all across the country. It’s almost like a lifestyle change.”
Glantz said the contemporary push in design is not universal. It is primarily popular among the younger market segment of young singles and couples and young executives.
“More interiors are featuring playful geometry, the strong ― bold ― use of color,” said EDI’s Mirontschuck. Contemporary design can also be found in the variety of materials used, such as concrete floors that are stained or polished, and exposed ductwork, he added. “The kitchen seems to be the pivot point for contemporary design.”
“Contemporary lines today are very simple,” said Browning. “They are clean lines, less bothersome. There is less of the Old World,” she added. “There is more of the modern feel from the 1970s, but not the hard feel from the ‘70s.”