New Jersey Residential Architecture Trends
New Jersey is home to 9 million people, who are spread out over 52 cities, 15 towns, 241 townships, and 3 villages. The style of architecture tends to vary from region to region, as some areas are older than others, and some areas are more urban than others. There are beautiful traditional, older homes, and there is also a lot of interesting new construction. New materials and new technologies are reshaping the way we build. Floor plans are also changing to accommodate the changing patterns of our lives. And yet, many architects and designers are also drawing upon ancient materials and building techniques. So, what will the homes of the future look like? Watch for these important home design trends.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), buildings consume nearly half of all energy produced in the United States and are responsible for nearly half of the CO2 emissions. It’s no surprise the trend is towards creating more energy-efficient buildings, but also to develop homes that use, and leak, less energy. The pinnacle of this type of design is a net-zero home that literally has no net energy consumption. This is achieved by not only reducing energy consumption, but by adding energy creation on the site, typically in the form of solar panels. Even if net-zero is too lofty a goal, architects are urged to implement as many sustainable features as possible including well-sealed building envelopes, efficient insulation, multi-pane windows and energy efficient appliances and systems. The appeal for homeowners is obvious: save the planet, save the pocketbook, and consider the appealing resale value.
Modern house designs must include spaces for work as, more than ever before, people are working as freelancers or telecommuting. If your land and zoning allow for it, you might want to consider a backyard work shed. Detached workspaces are low-cost but efficient ways to create a dedicated room for concentrated work time. Garden sheds are getting an elevation in status as these multi-functional spaces can also serve as guest rooms, or teen hangouts as your needs change. With a small footprint and efficient use of space, backyard getaways like these create purposeful space for those who need some separation to work productively.
Open Spaces with Flexible Uses
Modern house designs use open spaces to create flow, allow for zones that meet different purposes and use visual details and organization of space to add interest and inspiration. With an understanding of the way modern families live, architects are designing large, open spaces that provide flexibility for the vibrant life that makes a house a home.
Having flexible space means you can work comfortably from home while also keeping an eye on the kids’ activities or monitoring the stove, and you can shift gears whenever you need. The added benefit of these flexible spaces is they can change and adapt with your family over time. Rather than having dedicated spaces for specific purposes, this design strategy means you can use your living space in whatever ways meet your family’s needs now and in the future.
Space for All Family Members
House designs should consider the needs of your entire family, which includes even the four-legged members. If your home contains a canine companion, then you will love this new design trend. Having a specific dog-washing space in your home is excellent for keeping the mud and grime your dog brings into your house at bay.
Incorporating a pet wash in your garage, mudroom, or other space is a simple detail that can control the chaos of cleaning your pet. These areas are also great for cleaning muddy boots or any of those messy jobs you don’t want to track through your house to the bathroom or laundry area.
In a competitive, expensive housing market, smaller homes are an attractive entry point. Architects have a unique challenge in getting creative with solving problems for their clients in smaller spaces. Not only must nearly all the areas be multi-use in smaller homes, but factors like energy efficiency, simplicity, and organization become even more crucial when designing a small space.
While our earliest domiciles aimed to provide as much protection from the elements as possible, today’s architecture embraces indoor-outdoor living. That means creating rooms that effortlessly open to the outdoors with glass door systems, and maximizing outdoor space, even if that means heading to the roof. In fact, according to the American Institute of Architects 2017 Home Design Trends Survey, outdoor living space (up 20 percent) and roof decks (up 125 percent) were the two fastest-growing in-demand home features. In areas like Hoboken and Jersey City Heights, you’ll find an abundance of balconies, some rooftop swimming pools and penthouses, as well as rooftop sun decks.
Smart Home Technology
Anyone with a smart phone or voice-activated speaker, like Amazon Echo or Google Home, knows the convenience of home features that can be controlled via a simple swipe, utterance or in-home video panel. Not only are these features convenient, but many — including lighting and heating/cooling control— can reap real rewards on monthly utility bills. For architects, the challenge becomes creating spaces to house any mechanicals and the necessary wiring that goes along with them.
Housing multiple generations of one’s family under one roof was commonplace before the middle of the last century, but after WWII, single-family homes became more popular, spurred by the post-war boom and desire to achieve the “American Dream.” Today, people are living much longer, which has created a so-called “sandwich generation” that’s both caring for young children and older parents. Therefore, the demand for housing with features that cater to multi-gen living is growing. According to the AIA survey, the most popular features include first-floor master suites, elevators and laundry facilities on multiple levels.
Families and households are more diverse than ever, meaning one person’s need for a formal dining room is another person’s demand for a quiet office for their home-based business. Homes and layouts that can flexibly accommodate any number of residents, and better yet, evolve with those residents over time, are especially appealing. For architects, that can mean creating spaces that are easily divided or expanded with pocket or barn doors. Designers can aid flexibility by incorporating consistent themes and materials throughout.
Your home isn’t just a place to sleep and eat, it’s the epicenter of your life. Architects genuinely are excited to find new ways to meld form and function to solve problems for modern families. Whether it’s a modern and minimal design or impeccably restored history, when all the elements come together a house should be functional, great to look at, and above all, it should feel like home.