Dispatches from The International Builders Show — Day 2
By Mary Umberger
International Builders Show, Las Vegas, January 23, 2013 — How casual are American homes getting to be? Well, if you’re planning to build, consider a family foyer — and don’t forget the family dog.
It’s all part of a big “think casual” trend here at the International Builders Show. The new home event of the year, the show attracts thousands of construction pros from round the country who’ve converged on Las Vegas this week — in search of the latest building products for your home, as well as the next big thing in home design.
Steve Moore is a principal at BSB Design in Des Moines. They’re an architecture firm that dreams up houses for 18 of the nation’s top 25 builders, so you may want to listen up. He gave a talk that echoed a quietly growing trend that’s likely to take off big-time as the housing market recovers.
Old notions of formality in home design are dead, dead, dead. The “Lifestyle Triangle” is in.
“Casual spaces rule,” Moore said. At the top of the casual heap is the inter-connected and wide open kitchen/family room/dining area. (And though the formal dining room is a lovely idea, it’s on life support, he added.)
“This ‘lifestyle triangle’ is where younger people will judge the quality of (a builder’s) house,” he said. A floor plan with an open flow of the kitchen, family room and dining area not only makes a great place to entertain, it ensures that you’re not cut off from others watching TV in the family room while you create that culinary masterpiece known as Tuesday night dinner.
Another trend: If everybody (except the guests) enters the house from the garage, then builders need to give homeowners a “family foyer,” Moore said. A gorgeous front door and foyer are fine, but there’s no reason not to give attention to the entry point that most of us use far more often.
The New Family Foyer is a Focal Point Today.
More than a place just to empty their pockets when they come home, the new family foyer is a place for backpacks and hockey sticks. It gives more room to do the laundry in an organized manner, and has ample space for all those mega-packs of paper towels and dog food that come through the door from Costco and Sam’s Club, Moore said.
Moore also advised homeowners to make this new family foyer an attractive but valued part of the house and not just a laundry room — and maybe even stick in a small “pocket office” where bill paying, etc., can get done and Mom or Dan can still keep an eye on what the kids are doing, Moore said.
Oh, and factor Fido into the equation, he said: Americans spent $51 billion on their pets in 2011, and if you’re not giving the dog his own space in that “family foyer,” then find some designated place in the house for the wire crates, bowls, grooming tools, pet toys and stuff that goes along with caring for them. Put this dog space near a door where pet and pet-lover can make a quick–and clean–entrance and exit for walks, Moore said.
And consider a dog bathing station, too. Your dog just called with that last request. It’s cold and undignified being bathed in the yard on public display! A towel warmer would be nice, too.
Mary Umberger is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and home-related topics. Her work also appears in The Chicago Tribune, Inman News and other leading print and online publications. Mary is covering The International Builders Show — the nation’s largest event for new homes and products — for NewHomeSource.
Wayne -- Visbeen Associates, Architects
Nice to meet the NewHomeSource team at the International Builders Show last week in Las Vegas. I appreciate the reporting and look forward to following you in the future!
Jeff -- Rodrock Homes, Kansas City
I agree with your ideas of casual living. At Rodrock Homes, we are seeing more and more families that want an open kitchen that is not cut off from everyone else when getting a meal ready. Depending on our floor plan, many home buyers are turning the dining room into a home office area.
Fascinating! We’ve heard this from buyers and other builders. It definitely seems like the days of a formal dining room are past for many home buyers.
Geranium Homes - Woodstock, IL
Good post. It’s the right thing to do especially when your on a budget basis. Everyone can design their home even if it’s casual or not, what matters most is the way you treat your house.
Wayne, thanks for visiting with us at The International Builders Show. Looking forward to helping you meet your goals for 2013!
Charleston South Carolina Home Builder
This is a great article that illustrates how people are moving into a more informal living lifestyle. I have a dining room that is empty and when I did have a table in it we only used it once or twice in years because when it was built there is a large eat in kitchen nook. As a builder in Mount Pleasant, SC, I advise customers to reconsider having a dining room at all. It goes without saying that almost everyone wants an open floor plan when building a new home. Keep up good info.