Today’s home designs incorporate a little creativity and a lot of innovation, making the most of available space in a floor plan to meet the needs of active, busy homeowners. Three nationally renowned designers share several of the innovations they’ve brought to house plans for their clients, which also serve as strong indicators of home design trends in the future.
Dual Master Suites
Not one, but two master suites. The concept of a second master suite has emerged from a variety of homeowner needs and desires, including living quarters for elderly parents or a caretaker, a home business separate from the main living space and an ensuite rental property.
“Dual owners’ suites are a wonderful solution for so many different buyer scenarios today, whether they’re baby boomers looking to age in place or millennials seeking space for a home-based business,” said Paul Foresman, head of business development for Design Basics in Nebraska.
New Master Ensuite
“The master ensuite has evolved into a very important design challenge because of the demands put on this space to function as bedroom, bath and storage for two people, as well as a sanctuary for rest and relaxation,” said Ken Pieper of Ken Pieper Associates in Colorado.
Pieper finds that more and more of his clients today want separate functionality within the same space regardless of the size of space. While Jack-and-Jill vanities are not a new concept, creating separately designed spaces within the same master closet and bedroom area for his and hers items pose a challenge for designers especially in smaller homes. In order to accomplish all of this in the master suite, Pieper focuses on prioritizing amenities and what can be sacrificed. Just because a five-piece master bath has been the standard for decades, he said, doesn’t mean that they still need to be applied today. As fewer homeowners are using the traditional bathtub, it frees up space for other needs like a walk-in shower or larger closet.
“The issue of separation and function specifically as it applies to the master ensuite will require more effort on the design team’s part in the overall house design. It’s important that we understand our clients’ lifestyle and individual desires so that we can design living space that meets their needs and budget,” he said.
Work-in pantries takes the concept of walk-in pantries to a whole new level. Beyond simply offering storage space, the work-in pantry features space for preparing meals and can even include appliances such as stovetops and dishwashers.
“This amenity has been really popular in our designs, especially for clients who love to entertain at home. Having a separate area to prepare a meal helps keep the main kitchen area clean and presentable and allows it be the focus for gathering and entertaining,” said Foresman.
In addition to the work-in pantry, Laura Dowds of Dowds Design Collection in North Carolina, said that with more homeowners opting for more casual eating areas, the concept a formal dining room has given rise to a larger, open kitchen perfectly suited to casual entertaining. “Spacious, open kitchens with oversized islands becomes the focal point in the home where everyone congregates,” she explained.
Also known as the mud room, laundry center and drop zone, this space is finally getting as much attention as the front foyer. Designers like Foresman and Dowds have worked hard to elevate this important transition space from the garage into the home, which can often be cluttered.
“By offering ample cubby and storage space for everything from shoes and outerwear to athletic equipment and laundry room items, it helps to reduce clutter and keep things organized for busy families,” said Dowds. “And why not make it attractive with lots of natural light, cheerful wall colors and beautiful cabinetry? Better organization and less clutter lead to reduced stress!”
Another innovation in design is the “pocket office” concept. The pocket office uses flex space to create an area for remote working with built-in storage and work surface, freeing up valuable square footage for more important living areas. These smaller “pocket” rooms serve their purpose with great efficiency and can be easily closed off from the rest of the living space.
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