Home Office Spaces

If you have a home based business or telecommute, you’re one of the millions of Americans who probably have or want a home office.  What seems to be a staple of modern living wasn’t always so. 

The home office most likely developed from the “study” that existed in the larger homes of the well-to-do.  These rooms were usually separated from the rest of the house providing privacy for the home owner to read, meet with others, and of course conduct business.  As the middle-class grew, their leisure time did too.  The two or three bedroom home was getting too small.  Home owners desired a separate designated space to read, hobby, and do other work.  The standard middle-class home grew in size and added other features, such as a family room, rec room, and the home office.  Although the home office, like other specialty rooms, lost its popularity after the Great Recession, it quickly regained popularity as the recession subsided. 

Although the room may have looked like a standard office with a desk and chair, early home offices weren’t really used as a full-time space for the home owner’s job.  Most mid-century occupations required employees to report to a place of business.  However, as technology developed, the ability to work from home increased.  According to Allied Telecom (alliedtelecom.net), Jack Niles coined the term “telecommute” in 1972 when he “remotely” worked on a NASA communication system.  Working from home gained popularity during the 1970’s energy crisis, when employers needed to reduce energy consumption and employees found they spent increasing amounts of time in rush hour traffic

Home Office
Working at home

The demand for the office space didn’t serendipitously coincide with home buyer activity, but actually increased due to changes in the Americans workforce. Additionally, the popularity of the office space can most likely be gauged by the growth of affordable technology.  The advent of home computing in the 1980’s allowed many office workers to bring their work home.  Modems allowed employees to remotely connect to their employers.  However, it wasn’t until the development of the internet and subsequently broadband that full-time telecommuting jobs and home based businesses flourished.

A home office is very important to home buyers.  According to the Q2 2018 American Institute of Architects Quarterly Home Design Trends Survey (aia.org), thirty-five percent of respondents indicated that having an office space is a trending home feature. 

Of course, home design has changed through the years. Besides allocating a room for a home work space, technology has had a hand in redefining the office space.  The home office has transformed from the dedicated room to do actual work, to a “home tech flex space” that may contain a desk, printer, and router, while Wi-Fi allows the home owner to roam the home (even outside).  It’s not uncommon to see your neighbor on their deck working on their laptop.

Finding a home that fits your lifestyle is essential.  If you’re a home buyer who telecommutes or has a home based business, you want a home office.  Unfortunately, you know that housing inventory is low, and homes with this feature are further limited.  To help with your search, consider homes that have flexible spaces that can be used as your office.  Also, because there are many home renovation loan programs, including loans with streamlined options, you might consider homes that have the potential to expand for a home office.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2019

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2019/08/11/home-office-spaces/

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3D printed homes

3D printed homes
3D printed home building

Imagine a time when you can print a new door knob, a sink trap, a cabinet, or any other house component right in your home.  That time is rapidly approaching, thanks to 3D printing technology.  3D printed homes may be your house of the future.

When Sean Mashian recently wrote about the potential of 3D printing technology (The impact of 3D printing on real estate; Cornell Real Estate Review; 2017. 15, p64-65.), he was correct to say that the technology has the potential to change the home construction industry.  3D printing may also be the ultimate affordable housing solution, printing on demand homes and apartments at a fraction of stick-built homes.

Mashian stated:

Currently, 3D printing is most often used in the real estate industry as a way of creating scale models for new developments. As the technology grows and becomes more commonplace, there may be huge changes coming to real estate from this emerging technology…Right now, 3D printing is expensive and still in rudimentary stages. As we learned from the explosion of e-commerce just a decade ago however, a rapidly growing trend can quickly become a way of life. If 3D printing continues its swift rise to prominence, real estate will change and well positioned assets stand to benefit.

But 3D printing is already making an impact on housing design and construction, as Eric Schimelpfenig wrote in 2013 (Design and the 3D Printing Revolution; Kitchen & Bath Design News; 2013, p20).  He talked about one New York company that was already manufacturing personalized 3D printed bathroom fixtures.  Besides custom faucets, 3D printing tech will also bring us on-demand custom cabinets and other fixtures too.  Schimelpfenig said, “that future isn’t far away… and it’s going to be awesome.

Schimelpfenig’s future is unfolding before us as 3D printing technology is rapidly advancing.  The technology has come a long way since the first 3D printer was created by Charles Hull in 1983.  Originally, 3D printing was used for 3D modeling.  As the technology become cheaper and widely available, 3D printed modeling become a hit with hobbyists.  However, the potential in commercial applications didn’t really make strides until the turn of the century.

Although, 3D printing is not yet widely used in home construction, there are companies already 3D printing entire homes.  Apis Cor (apis-cor.com) not only builds 3D printed homes, but claims to be the first company to develop a mobile construction 3D printer capable of printing an entire building completely on site.

We are the first company to develop a mobile construction 3D printer which is capable of printing whole buildings completely on site.
Also we are people. Engineers, managers, builders and inventors sharing one common idea – to change the construction industry so that millions of people will have an opportunity to improve their living conditions.

Apis Cor 3D printed a home in Russia last December in 24 hours.  The one level home was rudimentary, and had 38 square meters (about 409 square feet) of living space.  But this was a demonstration of the flexibility of the 3D printing technology.  The endeavor not only showed how a home can be 3D printed on site, but that it can also be done in the cold of winter.  The company claims that 3D printed homes can be any shape, and designs are only restricted by the laws of physics.

Apis Cor states that 3D printed homes can also cost less because an onsite 3D printer “frees up resources.” Construction costs are lower because there is a cost reduction in labor, construction waste disposal, construction machinery rentals, tools, and finishings.  They claim that one 3D printer “can replace a whole team of construction workers, saving time without loss of quality.”

Original published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2017/09/03/3d-printed-homes/

Copyright© Dan Krell
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Trendy is not for home staging

interior design

Departing from the safety of natural materials and earth tones, big and bold interior design has become popular this year. Many designers have talked about 2014 as the year of using bright colors, brass and other yellow metals throughout the house. But if you’re selling your home, tread cautiously– because trendy may not be the best choices for staging your listed home.

Kelly Walters of HGTV (Color Trends: What’s New, What’s Next?; hgtv.com) talked about color use in the home, over the last ten years, being a reflection of our need for safety after 9/11 and the Great Recession. However, this is the year for change, and it’s reflected in the colors we choose for our interiors. A palette of gray hues is replacing the use of browns as the favorite neutral color; while reds, pinks, and violets are trending in popularity.

Using brass throughout the house has been the buzz during 2014. Kate Watson-Smyth reported the popularity of brass (Why brass is back as the new must-have metal for home décor; Financial Times, January 24, 2014; ft.com) as being a trend moving away from shine towards warmer tones. The use of brass and similar metals has also expanded from stylish bathroom finishes and hardware to fixtures as well as furniture.

Remember wallpaper? It’s back! Realtor® Magazine’s Barbara Ballinger wrote about how wallpaper has made a comeback. Relegated to accents, wallpaper is once again acceptable as wall covers (Wallpaper: Back in the Game; Realtor® Magazine, October 2014; realtormag.realtor.org). The new generation of wallpapers are eco-friendly and easier to use; inks are typically water based, while many papers are designed as “peel and stick” to be easily removed and reused.

Kitchens are important to many of us, and what could be better for the home chef than their own hydroponic garden. On her blog The Entertaining House, Jessica Ryan (jessicagordonryan.com) describes the Chef’s Garden Wall hydroponic system, “Fresh is the new green.” Because some kitchen hydroponic systems are low maintenance, you don’t necessarily have to be a gardener to have fresh greens at your finger tips all year.

Although trendy interior design may seem modern and stylish, it may not be the best choices when selling your home. Melissa Tracey wrote in her Home Trends Blog (5 Design Trends You May Want to Avoid in Staging; August 11, 2014; blogs.realtor.org), “Staging in trendy fabrics, colors, and finishes may offer up buyers a feeling that the home is up-to-date and move-in-ready. But getting too trendy can also backfire, particularly if it’s too personalized.”

And about those interior design trends I listed above? Tracey says to “steer clear.” Although wallpaper may be a tempting and easy way to brighten up a room, she says to stick with paint because wallpaper may interfere with a buyers’ vision of living in the room. And when painting, she says that trendy colors may be “too bold” for buyers; sellers should stick with neutral colors, using bolder colors as accents (such as pillows, rugs, and lamps). And although many designers are going all in on brass, it’s best to use it sparingly as accents when staging your home. The trend toward doorless kitchen cabinets is to be avoided, because buyers will undoubtedly ask “Where are the doors?” And finally, Tracey points out that the highly popular Tuscan and French Provincial themes are giving way to transitional and contemporary styles.

By Dan Krell
©2014

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Trending home designs

by Dan Krell
© 2012
DanKrell.com

Trending home designs

You might be amazed if you stopped to think about how much the home has changed over the years. From modest beginnings, when most homes were one or two rooms, the home has transformed from the humble shelter to today’s technological marvel that expresses your personality and popular tastes.

Early home architectural designs were very practical, and may have changed along with heating/cooling innovations. Before the furnace was a standard feature in the home, most homes were built around the fireplace; in very early homes, a central fireplace was where the homeowners cooked their food. Further advances in home design occurred as new building materials were developed; the use of drywall may be responsible for the spread of “tract housing” in the 1940’s and 50’s, as home builders realized they could make homes faster and more affordable.

However, a driving factor in today’s home designs is popularity with home buyers (because that’s what sells of course). The American Institute of Architects (aia.org) conducts the quarterly Home Design Trends Survey to track architectural trends and reveal what home buyers want in their homes. Besides the fact that a wounded housing market reduced the demand for the McMansion, what else is trending?

Economy and energy efficiency design features and appliances have been trending since the financial crisis. Since 2007, there has been a significant increase in demand for high efficiency furnaces, tankless water heaters, and more insulation.

Highlights of the recent Home Design Trends Survey (2nd quarter 2011) reveal how the economy has impacted home design. Most “Special feature rooms” have declined in popularity; except for home offices where people can telecommute, there was a significant decrease in the demand for interior greenhouses, media rooms, interior kennels, safe rooms, kid’s wings, and exercise rooms (demand for au-pair suites has remained steady). Informal living features continue to trend as people are increasingly staying home to entertain themselves and friends; a demand for “home-centered activities” spaces and outdoor living spaces are increasing. Requests for indoor-outdoor transition rooms, such as mudrooms, remain strong.

Special features continue to focus on energy efficiency, as well as increasingly on accessibility. Insulation seems to be a major home buyer focus as extra insulation or the use of alternative insulation techniques are in high demand.

As visitability laws gain momentum nationwide, home accessibility design features have increased in demand. First floor owner suites, height adjusted fixtures (sinks faucets and light switches), ramps, and even elevators have increased in popularity among home buyers.

Technological advances also dictate home buyer preferences. New energy efficient devices continue in popularity as well as low-maintenance products. High performance windows were a top requested item, as were water saving devices. Home buyers are also demanding more low maintenance engineered materials in their homes; such as floors, siding, and decking.
As technology changes, home design is anticipated to change as well. For example, some foresee that the demand for the home office to diminish as wireless communication technologies advance such that people won’t anchor themselves to one room as they work from home.

If you think that trending home design features are only for new homes, think again. Popular design features often filter into older homes as home owners renovate. As a design feature’s popularity increases, so does the chance it can be found at the Home Depot.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of February 6, 2012. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2012 Dan Krell.

Should we call it a colonial? Home styles can even confuse professionals

That brand new colonial you may be considering to purchase is not like your grandfather’s colonial. In fact it may not even be a colonial at all. It is not uncommon for architects and historians to disagree on the exact nomenclature for any particular home style. Most new homes built in the U.S. today incorporate a rich and diverse history of American home building. Home styles that originated from construction techniques brought from colonists’ home lands, continually transformed into more modern homes through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Back to that new home you’re thinking of buying: although the style is based on the colonial home, the technical style name is the “neo-colonial” (or sometimes known as a “two-story modern”). Most new two to three story single family homes built today do not stick to the “pure” construction elements of the colonial, because they might be considered too bland for modern tastes. Rather, the neo-colonial incorporates many design features from other home styles and periods as well; as using modern construction materials and techniques that allows for dramatic exteriors and open interior floor plans.

Today’s neo-colonial style home can trace its roots all the way back to colonial times. Although the basic structure of the colonial was a two or three story home that was usually square or rectangle, the colonists often built homes with construction knowledge from their homeland with functionality to their surroundings. Immediately noticeable among early colonial style homes are the differences in roof pitch and gables, as well as the size and placement of the fireplace. Other differences can be described as ornamental, but may be due to construction techniques. Some early examples of the American colonial style include the New England colonial, German colonial, and the Dutch colonial. These early colonial styles later developed into the more opulent Georgian and the Federal styles that became popular in the early 1800’s.

The Cape Cod style home also originated during colonial times, and was often simple one or one and a half story homes that were built in the north east United States and Canada to be functional and affordable. The central chimney and steep angle pitched roof were common features of these homes that developed as a function of the climate. Later variations of the Cape Cod included dormers (which are the windows that protrude from the roof) as well as stylistic features from other architectural styles.

Some point to the Cape Cod as the inspiration of the modern bungalow, which gained popularity in the early twentieth century. Because some bungalow styles have dormers, they are often described as a Cape Cod (such as the Craftsman style or Chicago Bungalow).

Of course there are many other significant architectural styles that developed and gained popularity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Architectural home styles were often influenced by art, history and geopolitics. Revival home styles often incorporated features from history or the recent past, while period styles were influenced by the essence of a specific time period (such as the Victorian style). However, some artistic styles (such as Prairie, Bauhaus, and Art Deco) seemed too esoteric for the average home buyer.

In the end, although you may not realize its pedigree, it does not matter what you style you label the house you purchase; what is important is that you call it “home.”

by Dan Krell © 2011

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.