How do the needs you have for your living space today compare with even a couple of years ago? Life doesn’t standstill. Your household grows and shrinks at different points in your life. You need your home to fit your lifestyle. Sometimes that means moving to get what you need. But what if your home were more flexible? As New Home Inc developed our floor plans, we thought, “What’s in a future-proof home?” Based on tons of customer based research and finding out how COVID changed home design, here’s what we came up with.
An open floor plan is great, but…
The open concept has been a hugely popular feature for many years. Combining the kitchen, family room, and dining room into one large, wall-free area makes it much easier to stay connected. If you’re in the kitchen preparing a meal or grabbing a snack, you’re not cut off from what’s happening in the living room. Entertaining is certainly more enjoyable because you don’t have the issue of everyone crowded into your kitchen, or missing out on the fun in the living room because you’re busily getting the food.
We love the open concept, but our research shows that what homebuyers want is a better balance of private spaces and the open floor plan. Togetherness isn’t always desirable. Maybe someone wants to slip away and have quiet time, or the kids want to play video games without parents watching over them.
New Home Inc’s floor plans reflect this shift in homebuyer thinking. We include flex spaces that let people tune out from the activity in the open main living area.
A formal dining room isn’t required
Home designs often include casual dining, usually a nook off the open floor plan’s kitchen. In addition, a nearby room is designated as the formal dining room. But guess what? Formal dining isn’t a mainstay of daily life. Busy schedules and active families find that casual dining in the main living area is more suited to their taste.
So, we nixed the formal dining room. It just makes sense to use the space for something that fits into the way people live in the home.
Flex space is a must-have
This is a continuation of the demise of the formal dining room and the need for flex space. The New Home Inc architects and designers looked at the various ways people want to use an extra room. The greatest need stems from the sharp rise in working from home (WFH): the home office.
Sure, we could decide that what used to be the formal dining room in the front of the home could now be labeled “Home office”, but is that really the right space? Does it make sense, productivity-wise, to be working by the front door? If you’re welcoming clients, that might be nice, but if not, you’ll be interrupted by deliveries and unwanted visitors. So, the New Home Inc floor plans provide a smarter location for a home office, but most importantly a space that gives you audible privacy.
What other uses for a flex room do you have in mind? A home gym has become a popular choice. Imagine a dedicated, fully functioning fitness room where you can enjoy a solid workout uninterrupted. Which is why we allow space in the home that’s dedicated to your fitness routine, but not having to trip over treadmills, Peloton bikes, or dumbbells.
The kitchen island isn’t a kitchen feature anymore
During the time spent sheltering at home, are you one of the many thousands of households that had to make space for kids to attend school virtually? Were you also in need of a workspace where you could multi-task—supervising kids, preparing meals, and, oh yes, actually keeping up with your workload?
Often, the kitchen island was the place where everyone gravitated for these tasks. Recognizing the heavy demand on the center island, New Home Inc applied our “Future-proof” thinking and designed islands with seating on more than one side. The surface is larger and extended farther beyond the base so you can comfortably sit without banging your knees and not able to have a normal conversation. Don’t “sit at the bar” at home too!
Messy kitchens need a “messy kitchen” of their own
We know that the kitchen represents the heart of the home. It’s where everyone congregates. When there’s food or drink involved, people head to the kitchen—from the first cup of coffee to start the day to a quick snack to mealtime. And it seems that when one person is there, others follow.
The kitchen is the busiest place in the home. We looked at what kind of traffic flows through there to determine how to improve the design. Some of the flow comes from preparing food or cleaning up afterward. Another is the hit-and-run kind that swoops in to grab something quick. There is the lingerer who stands around to chat with the cook, sorting mail, or hovering over the coffee machine.
The solution to removing bottlenecks in the kitchen is what we call a “Messy Kitchen”. It’s an adjacent nook we’ve created, like a flex space just for the kitchen. Use it for storage, like your plethora of small appliances and an abundance of serving pieces that you don’t use regularly.
A New Home Inc Messy Kitchen can serve as an all-around beverage station; set up your coffee supplies along with a small fridge that contains bottled water, sports drinks, soft drinks, and juice boxes. Family members can bypass the kitchen to get a drink. Include after-school snacks and reduce even more kitchen traffic. Add a wine chiller, dedicated icemaker, second dishwasher, or whatever it is that helps you live life better. The good news is, the choice is yours!
Owners’ bedrooms can be smaller
Here’s another part of the home that needed a refresh. The owner’s suite is an important consideration when choosing a new home. You’re the head of the household and deserve something more luxurious as a private retreat. But we learned from our homeowner research that people don’t necessarily want an expansive bedroom.
They don’t spend a lot of time there. Most of it is for sleeping when they’re totally unaware of the room’s dimensions. We reallocated some of the oversized and wasted owners’ bedroom square footage to the spaces that needed more room, like the walk-in closet, on-suite bathroom, and connectivity to the laundry room.
Home deliveries need their own zone
How often do you get a package delivered? Is it more frequent than two years ago? The volume of online shopping skyrocketed in 2020. Consumers became accustomed to the convenience and have continued to place orders for everything from groceries to meals and just about anything that used to require a trip to the store.
The New Home Inc innovation that responded to this cultural change is the Smart Door Delivery Center. All of our homes offer this intelligent, contactless feature. It’s a nook inside the front entry, protected by an exterior door with smart lock. Get your favorite delivery company access to this area to securely place the packages or groceries (because it’s heated and cooled space) inside your home. Due to the protection and security of the included smart door lock, the delivery person can’t access your home’s interior, only the delivery space.
Once the package is placed inside, the door automatically locks. Your packages are out of view from passersby (including porch pirates) and safe from the elements (heat, cold, rain, snow).
You can’t be future-proof with outdated Wi-Fi
Combine the increase in the number of connected devices in your home with the number of users and the amount of time they’re online, and it adds up to lagging connectivity. There’s just so much bandwidth to go around. If homes were wired with anything, it was outdated CAT5 cable. Like the original iPhone and dial-up internet service, it’s outdated. We use CAT6 ethernet cable, which delivers the fastest file transfer rate. Compare CAT5’s 10 to 100 Mbps to CAT6’s 1000 Mbps (= 1 Gigabit). CAT6 also covers a larger distance than CAT5. It’s just the better way to wire a future-proof home and not have to deal with “dead spots” with weak Wi-Fi!
Start with a smarter home
How many devices are you controlling from your phone? The television, thermostat, security cameras, front door, garage door, and even appliances can be managed from the palm of your hand, whether you’re at home or not. And you’ll likely be adding more smart home automation as it becomes available.
That means you need the technology to accommodate it all. Every New Home Inc home includes a smart panel system. This hub allows you to easily integrate new technology without calling in a technician. Our standard smart home automation also includes a smart door lock, Ring Pro Doorbell, Brilliant Tech Smart Light Panel, and smart thermostat.
Future-proof home design
Your life will continue to move forward. Are you going to let your home hold you back? Our “future-proof” approach to home design has resulted from extensive research and experience into what homebuyers want. New Home Inc is changing homebuilding by paying close attention to shifts in homebuying trends and being flexible enough to innovate in response.
If you’re looking for new homes for sale in Raleigh and the surrounding areas, look at our plans for communities of single-family homes and townhomes. We’re growing right along with you.