New home buyers are coming back, but they don’t want the same old McMansion. They want a house they can use.
That means a “great room” where everyone can gather — and a spalike bathroom to escape from the crowd.
But usefulness also extends to lots of storage space for big-box buys. It means “drop-off zones” for recharging smartphones and pet-friendly “puppy showers.” It means a home office actually designed for work and media centers made for play. It means big closets and little nooks.
These new homes combine practicality with the way we want to live now, builders say.
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“We’re rolling out all new designs,” said Jeff Lake, national head of architecture for major builder Standard Pacific Homes, which has new tracts under construction in Rocklin and El Dorado Hills. “We completely redid our entire inventory with a huge emphasis on design.”
These designs are the culmination of a three-year process, Lake said.
“We did a lot of research,” he said. “We studied how people actually live in their homes. We found they’re more connected than ever — and not just texting.”
They want to feel connected to their family as well as to their media, Lake said. In some places, including California, they also want to feel connected to the great outdoors with windows everywhere and patio rooms.
“We realized it truly is different the way people live now,” Lake said. “(Buyers) are not as formal. They want life to be simplified.”
According to experts, today’s home buyers are much more budget conscious, a natural consequence of the recession. They demand more value per square foot. They’re not interested in rooms they will rarely use such as a formal dining room. Most of all, home buyers want a house that “works” for them.
“McMansions put a huge percentage (of square footage) into hallways and formal spaces that are used infrequently,” Lake said. “It adds up to a lot of square footage. We’re building homes with 1,000 less square feet but every room feels bigger because the house isn’t so cut up.”
A walk-through of new luxury home models in Rocklin at Standard Pacific’s Manzanita at Whitney Ranch illustrates his point. Priced at $454,000 to $504,000, each home featured a mammoth “great room” combining a large kitchen with family, dining and living room space into one large area without halls.
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