“We have an open living room that buyers can close off if they want to make it into a study or a more formal living room,” said Leslie Fitzpatrick, vice president of sales and marketing for Michael Harris Homes. “The major trend in all of our homes is to have a very large center island that functions as a gathering space.
“In our single-family homes, we don’t have any sink or cooktop on the center island so that it becomes a clear surface for the kids’ homework and craft projects.”
Ms. Minich said 75 percent of the homes K. Hovnanian sells include a morning room either as a standard or optional feature that expands the open kitchen, breakfast area and family room with more space for seating or dining.
Mr. Hughes said many buyers are requesting a first-floor bedroom and bath, often with a master suite on the main level and a second one upstairs.
“Some people are doing this for extended family members such as their parents or their adult kids who are moving back in,” Mr. Hughes said. “In single-family homes, most people want four bedrooms and the option of a fifth bedroom in the lower level to add some flexibility for the future. People think they will be in their homes a lot longer, so they want more flexibility and the ability to customize.”
Ms. Minich said her buyers also are requesting first-floor master suites, sometimes for their future needs and sometimes for a multigenerational household.
Whether the master suite is upstairs or downstairs, the emphasis in the master bath has shifted from an oversized soaking tub to an oversized shower.
“Seventy-five percent of our buyers say they would get rid of the soaking tub completely, but they are concerned about resale value,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “About 15 percent of buyers do choose a master bath with just a shower.”
Ms. Ellisor said that more than 50 percent of their buyers choose the larger shower without a soaking tub.
“We’ve also been building vanities with open shelving for a more contemporary look, with the option of adding doors,” Ms. Ellisor said. “So far, no one has added doors.”
Ms. Ellisor said Miller & Smith’s smaller single-family homes typically don’t have a master sitting room, although master baths are still large.
“Some of our buyers opt for an open loft on the upper level instead of a fourth bedroom, a space that can be used as an upstairs family room for the kids,” Ms. Ellisor said.
Homebuyers today tend to opt for more usable living space rather than the two-story family rooms and foyers that were popular years ago.
“Two-story spaces cost too much to heat,” Mr. Halak said. “People want to maximize their space, so they will have a loft or an extra bedroom instead of a two-story space.”
Mr. Hughes agreed that two-story spaces are a thing of the past both because of energy efficiency and a trend away from grandeur and formality.View Entire Story
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