The homebuilding market in DFW is super hot, and with a new year comes new trends. Candy already mentioned the emergence of the skullery, but there’s more!
We’ve asked the best and brightest North Texas homebuilders to look into their crystal balls and make predictions about homebuilding trends for 2015. They’ve also given us some sublime photos that illustrate those trends in action in their own work. You won’t want to miss this—jump to read the whole story!
1. HOME AUTOMATION
Technology integration was the biggest trend mentioned by our builders, and it’s showing up across the board in home design requests.
“Everyone wants to control their house from their iPhone,” said Les Owens, President of LRO Residential. “There is a whole new wave of wifi-controlled door locks coming out, it will not be long until every new home has all exterior locks on wifi and controlled by phone, or interior home controls.”
Buyers want to be able to control from their phones the thermostat, lighting, pool equipment, security systems, surveillance cameras, appliances, garage doors, and more. The possibilities seem to be endless and our builders predict home automation will continue to be in demand with expanded capabilities.
“Integrating technology throughout the home is making modern life easier, like [building] charging stations, being able to control everything from one place, and while you’re on-the-go,” said Mark Danuser, President and Owner of Tatum Brown Custom Homes. “I’m personally excited about how smarter technology is going to evolve the home building, especially in regard to better energy efficiency and connectivity.”
2. BIG, GORGEOUS OUTDOOR SPACES
The demand in 2015 will continue to be high for larger outdoor spaces that WOW.
“We recently finished a project that has an 800-square-foot outdoor loggia, and an almost 1000-square-foot courtyard,” said Kyle Belew, Founder & President, Veranda Fine Homes. “We added a pool bath to this loggia, separated from the main house entirely, which the homeowners absolutely love, as well as a fireplace with a raised hearth, and an outdoor kitchen with a separate eating area and sitting area.”
According to the realtors, architects, and builders surveyed for the Starside Custom Builders Design Amenities Survey in September 2014, 90 percent preferred estate-sized lot. One commented that with the relocation of Toyota, State Farm, and FedEx, people are coming to Texas looking for large lots.
“We are seeing more demand for exceptional, contemporary backyards,” said Saad Chehabi, President and CEO, S&R Development. “My favorite trend has to be a smaller, energy efficient home with a larger, over-the-top backyard.”
3. SEAMLESS FLOW BETWEEN INDOOR-OUTDOOR SPACES
With a gorgeous backyard, loggia, or pergola, buyers understandably want easy to access and great views of those areas.
“I see a continuing demand for homes that the living areas open onto the exterior spaces,” said Tom Greico, Deisgner and Builder, Greico Modern Homes. “Our clients are wanting modern-style homes that feature multipurpose spaces with large expanses of glass and seamless access to the exterior.”
Screened-in porches and motorized screens will be popular, said Owens, as the connection between indoor and outdoor living spaces continues to evolve.
“We have many examples of exterior walls continuing into the inside of the home,” said Michael Turner, Owner, Classic Urban Homes, noting that the popularity of outdoor living spaces and the importance of connecting all living areas.
4. BRIGHT, OPEN ROOMS WITH LARGE WINDOWS
Our builders say bright, open floorplans will be in demand this year, with walls of windows and modern lighting.
“Clients are wanting clear and unobstructed views to the outdoors,” said Turner, which ties back to the last two trends of big, gorgeous outdoor spaces and seamless flow inside-out.
“Floor-to-ceiling windows and doors have been ongoing trends that we see continuing,” said Danuser. “Now we’re seeing curtain wall systems that typically you’d only see in more ultra-modern or commercial settings used in homes that are more soft contemporary or transitional.”
Several builders mentioned the demand for LED lighting, which is now available in more options and sizes than ever before.
5. ‘WARMLY CONTEMPORARY’ ARCHITECTURE
Gone are the days of sterile modernity in home design, say our builders. But the demand for modern architecture is huge. The desire is for the designs to be clean and open, yet warm, with a lot of natural materials and textures.
“Everyone wants a little contemporary feel in their homes, from plumbing fixtures to lighting—even traditional homes have taken on a clean line feel,” said Owens. “I am seeing people start to push back from some of the more transitional/contemporary features and instead want a clean-lined, but very warm and livable home.”
The demand for modern houses in Dallas started about two years ago, said Marc Kleinmann, President of Bauhaus Custom Homes, and will be a major trend in 2015.
“Modern architecture is gaining steam and many more modern homes are going up around town than ever before,” said Turner. “I think ‘Olde World’ is out and people want something new and different and much cleaner in design.”
This trend is also showing up in a demand for nontraditional interior elements and a blend of materials on the exterior.
“We are seeing clients migrate toward using typically exterior materials inside the home, like marble walls, steel accents, and brick or stone,” said Danuser. “Overall, there’s been a change in the way people think about exterior features, like the use of copper or zinc paneling on the exterior and a blending of different materials, like wood, stone, plaster, and paint. People aren’t afraid to mix it up.”
6. GREEN ELEMENTS
Environmentally friendly homebuilding isn’t just about sustainability and social responsibility—it also saves on energy bills, which is appealing to buyers. Expect to see more demand for elements like foam spray insulation, tankless water heaters, and air conditioning units with a higher seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER-16 and up), as well as variable speeds.
“The last few years, we have seen a significant shift in it being the standard rather than the variance,” said Kleinmann. “I am optimistic it will become the norm for our industry.”
Builders also predict a trend toward smaller houses, which use less energy than their larger neighbors.
“I think we still overbuild, I would like to see people build smaller, more efficient homes—I think they would find they could live in them their entire life,” said Turner. “We just completed a new home for a couple in the ‘Bird Streets.’ It was just under 2,500 square feet and a one story and we got a ton of interest in this home while it was under construction.”
Belew has been advocating for smaller spaces for years, and will continue to do so this year.
“When the market turned a few years ago, we started giving each of our customers Sarah Susanka’s book, The Not So Big House,” he said. “I love this book and am still passing it out to each new customer, which is always a huge help when going through the architecture process.”
Greico said he’s getting more requests for solar panels, which are also a natural fit for his flat-roofed houses, an example of which is pictured above.
“I see an acceptance and availability of cost-effective systems that employ the sun to generate power, making the home almost self-sufficient,” he said.
7. ROOMS THAT SERVE MULTIPLE PURPOSES
Many of our builders predict the demise of isolated home theaters and oversize formal areas, for example, which are often wasted spaces. Buyers want a more efficient use of square footage, and our builders predict in 2015, they’ll be designing houses with more fully usable, multifunctional spaces that are integrated via technology.
“I think we are going to continue to see the demise of the master tub and the media room—they take up too much square footage for limited use,” said Jeff Dworkin, President, JLD Custom Homes, and Past President, Dallas Builders Association.
These spaces are not necessarily disappearing from the architectural plans, but they’re becoming more casual and functional.
“Instead of having a library full of books nobody uses, we may make that the media room, so now it’s got two purposes,” said Mickey Munir, Founder and CEO, Sharif Munir Uncustomary Custom Homes.
8. ADVENTURSOME USE OF PAINT
The age of DIY creativity has many clients investigating new looks for their interior spaces, and they’re asking builders to bring a wider variety of colors into their homes.
“We’ve seen clients embrace sites like Houzz and Pinterest, and as a result they have confidence to use color in fun ways,” said Danuser, pointing to the sage-colored study pictured above and its use of color as a trend for the year.
Belew predicts cooler paint tones in 2015, and less use of stains.
“People are becoming more open minded to painting, verses stained trim, doors, and cabinets. This allows the customer a wider variety of design options, which is providing very comfortable living spaces,” he said.
9. DOWNSTAIRS MASTER SUITE
This is not so much a new trend, but an ongoing force in Texas.
“The only way you’re going to sell a house with an upstairs master is to is an out-of-town person or a Highland Park or University Park person who’s used to it,” said Munir. “Texas people, they want that master downstairs if they’ve got a big enough lot. Always.”
According to the Starside Amenities Survey, if customers build a two-story house, placing the master suite downstairs is a major plus.
“We are seeing more demand for a first-floor master,” concurred Chehabi.
10. SMALLER HOME OFFICES
As automation becomes more common and technology keeps getting smaller and more streamlined, the need for a large home office is diminishing.
“Smaller home offices are in line with efficiencies of today’s technology,” said Danuser. “You no longer need massive storage for papers, computers and printers are smaller, and devices are multi-use.”
In fact, the “home office” need not even be a separate room.
“A lot of our clients are asking for command centers, which is a dedicated area for them to keep the household items organized, pay bills, etc.,” said Belew. “[One] homeowner commented that this is her favorite space in the house, and makes her life so much easier, as things are much more organized.”
What are your top predictions for homebuilding trends in 2015? Leave us a comment!