The “Jetson’s” lived in a futuristic home that combined science fiction with a hedonistic vision of immediate gratification. Even futuristic home exhibits featured at past World’s Fairs seemed like sci-fi movie sets. Although some interesting devices were featured in those futuristic homes (such as the Jetson’s Rosie the robot or their Food-a-Rac-a-Cycle), some have actually made their way into our homes; wall mounted wide screen televisions and microwave cooking are but a couple of the conveniences that evolved from “futuristic” technological advances.
Although futuristic devices are always welcome to make life easier and more fun, the evolution of the home will not occur because of the conveniences that are contained within. Rather, the future home will evolve from changes in living space and lifestyle; location, home size and interior space will be the focus of future home architecture and development.
Location has always been a main consideration when buying a home. The recent real estate market decline confirmed the higher demand for homes located in or in close proximity to major population and employment centers than homes located in “suburbia.” One of the many reasons you may buy a home closer to your job is to decrease your commute. The National Association of Realtors 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (Realtor.org) indicated that commuting costs are a factor when choosing a neighborhood. Since the cost of commuting is becoming more expensive (in terms of money and time), home buyers as well as home builders will look to the convenience of living “close in,” or at least close to the conveyances (such as metro) that will take you to work.
Your next home may be smaller than you think. The NAR 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers indicated that size matters when it comes to a home; the average size of a home purchased in 2009 was about 1,800 sf. Although the average home size has almost doubled since 1950 (to about 2,300 sf), the trend towards increasing home size has most likely plateaued due to factors that balance the home’s cost, affordability, and the desire to be in a “close in” neighborhood.
Your lifestyle has most likely changed in the last twenty years, just as the average American’s lifestyle has changed – and will continue to change. Changing lifestyles have altered many things in our lives, including how we use our homes. One example is how we entertain; long gone are the “formal” tea parties in the sitting or living room, present-day home owners plan informal gatherings instead (usually ending in the kitchen). Homes that will offer open “flexible” spaces, which are multi-purpose and can be modified by our personal lifestyles, will provide a feeling of being in a much larger home. Additionally, kitchen spaces will blend in with these multipurpose spaces adding to the flexibility and creating the feel of having a large kitchen space. The rooms can be used for entertainment and work centers, while allowing for informal dining and impromptu entertaining.
Your home of tomorrow may not be the futuristic vision that you dreamed about watching Saturday morning cartoons. However, much like current home owners who are transforming their older, “close-in” homes into contemporary “open” spaces, it will be a blend of utilitarianism and style that will be convenient to your office.
By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2010
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