The Smaller Home the New Big Idea

Our clientele’s quest for a better (quality vs quantity) life has had an impact in the field of home design. The opulence and grandeur of the “castle”  (4000 plus square feet) has given way to the rise of  " beautiful things that come in small packages” and a renewed  interest in the more modest sized home of 1600 to 1800 square feet. 

Maybe size does not matter after all.

The many benefits of the smaller home – construction money used for higher quality finishes, lower taxes, cheaper upkeep, seem to be gaining traction with the boomer.

We have seen an increasing number of requests for the “smaller but better” home and cottage. A greater focus on quality space for living rather then space for  opulent  expression, is growing.  The typical “who is going to clean it” or “budget issues" or simply the “family has fled the nest” all change the landscape in respect to the size question, when design the new digs!

In fact size is what they want to control, yet all the while, not sacrificing. …anything....

This has led to design challenges and a different approach to how one goes about designing a home or cottage. The task is to design living spaces not just rooms. How do you accommodate all the same lifestyle activities in a smaller footprint?

First we must rethink the concept of the room. 

The days of accommodating one dedicated activity to one room, are over.  The designer must think in terms of spaces not rooms. Multiple spaces within the room now need to accommodate the multiple activities of the homeowner.

A sewing area, a computer station, and an office space must all be accommodated within a common area, and sometimes the same area. The implication of an active lifestyle on a smaller footprint does not mean compromise but rather a smart approach to design. A thoughtful and personal approach to design is demanded.

Also we must deal with the delight factor.

For many, the trade from size and grandeur to small and “delightful” is real and needs to be addressed. The boomer wants this house to be their “best” house yet, not a compromise to their current circumstance.  The devil is in the details and details mean finer finishes, smart layouts, better windows, etc etc.. and workmanship that speaks to the need to have the finer things in life, especially in their home.

The good news is the smaller footprint gives resource to quality over quantity.  Money is no longer dedicated to rooms that go unused 90 per cent of the time but rather improving the functionality of what is in use every day.

And finally while size may not matter, style, character and quality do.

Our customer is more sophisticated then ever in their tastes and choice of style. Whether Pinterest, Houzz or HGTV are the source of stylistic inspiration, the exposure does lead to a greater sense of personal style when it comes to making the choices that ultimately culminate in their dream home or cottage.

Make it fit my life, make it smaller, delight me with a flare of style that is uniquely mine and by the way,  at the highest standards of workmanship. 

It has never been a better time to be a home or cottage designer and builder.

Ed FreibauerComment