Design Dilemma: Design and Decor for a New Era | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Design and Decor for a New Era

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Okay, so the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012. But that isn’t to say that something didn’t happen. According to Mayan scholars, what really happened was that we finished up the 13th B’ak’tun count and entered a whole new era, sort of like flipping the calendar into a whole new month. According to Bolivian president Evo Morales, the new era will be one marked by community and collectivity.

Expanding that idea into the world of design, we already feel a definite shift. What people want is changing in a very palpable way. Here are a few of our design predictions for the new age:

1) More multi-family housing, fewer single-family dwellings.

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Single-family homes were the ideal for middle-class strivers forty years ago, when people felt they’d have unlimited fuel and money to heat and cool separate dwellings. The trend seemed to build through the 1990s, as people in suburbs across America moved into McMansions located far from town centers. But in an age of global warming and modest expectations, a lot more people will be craving the modest dimensions of apartments, condos and townhomes that are easier to heat, cool, light, furnish and secure.
2) Apartment houses get more interesting.

multifamily 3 how to tips adviceFollowing up on the above trend, we predict more care and thought will be put into the look and function of apartment buildings. No longer will they be bland, utilitarian blocks meant only for those passing through for a few years. Instead, we’re going to see more artful buildings that seek to integrate into their surroundings as well as attract tenants who will want to live out their entire lives in these buildings. Each of the three multi-family apartment buildings pictured above are great examples of the design we expect to see more of. It goes without saying that these dwellings will be energy-efficient, allow for passive heating and cooling, and will incorporate sustainable materials.

3) Open floor plans become the norm. This is already largely true of most new dwellings. Developers are building open floor plans which may be cheaper and easier to build. People are thrilled to live in these homes because they perfectly embrace the desire for community and collectivism. In the room below, for example, a family can remain together, even while some family members cook and others relax on the couch or work at the dinner table.
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4) Older homes get opened up too. Here’s another trend that we’re already seeing a lot of. Where people, can, they are taking older homes with older layouts and opening them up to accomplish the same feel. Below is a prime example of an older home where a wall has been knocked down to create more light and space. Once you experience a space like this, it’s hard to go back to cramped and dark.

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5) Smaller, of course. This is another trend that is well under way, and part and parcel of the move to multi-family dwellings. In many high-cost urban areas (like Boston and San Francisco), tiny “micro-apartments” of no bigger than 300 square feet are gaining a toehold. And for those not quite willing to go to that extreme, there will still be a move to smaller homes that are less costly to live in.

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6) More quality, less quantity. Let’s see… multi-family dwellings, smaller homes, open floor plans…… Obviously in places like these, we will require less stuff. (Take a look at the apartment above). But when we do buy fewer things, the things we buy will be of higher quality. When you only have to buy one couch, you are likely to make it a really good one.

7) More built-ins. For so many years, new dwellings were just plain white boxes. It was up to the occupants to buy pieces of furniture to fit in the space. But as dwellings get smaller, designers and architects get smarter. More dwellings are likely to incorporate structures that will make small-space living flow naturally.

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