|The home of the future: What will it
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
Remember television shows during the 60s portraying ideas of the "home
of the future?" Some featured ergonomic furniture rendered in wild colors,
automatic sliding doors, even sidewalks that moved throughout the house.
While the shape of homes in the new millennium won't be quite that avant
garde, there will be some changes. Home builders are starting to gravitate to
new floor plans, more technology, as well as more environmentally friendly and
cost-effective building materials. Let's take a look at home change ideas from
the inside-out to see how the complexion of home may appear after the turn of
the new century.
Technology will perhaps play the biggest role in new homes. One unit
will control most lighting, heating and cooling functions, and can be programmed
by time, day or month. For example, if you want to lower the lights in the
evening starting at 6 p.m., you'd program the system to dim the lights, draw the
blinds and close the shutters. Or, if you like waking up to a warm and sunny
room, you could program the system to open the bedroom curtains at 7 a.m., turn
up the heat in the bathroom and even start the coffee brewing. Technology will
become so sophisticated in new homes that it will be possible, using
voice-control activation, to command the doors to lock and the alarm system to
activate -- without lifting a finger.
Room configuration and style will be somewhat different, too, in
tomorrow's homes. There will be more open space -- known as great rooms -- that
combine dining, living and kitchen areas. This will allow the family to have
more "togetherness." The room would include alcoves for hobbies, such
as sewing and crafts, computer units and game areas. Also look for more
mother-in-law suites in the home of the future because of the growing need to
house elderly parents, make extra space for kids who don't leave (or perhaps
return) as well as have privacy from guests when they visit. It will be complete
with its own mini-kitchen with refrigerator and microwave.
Exteriors may not look much different in the future, but take a closer look.
There will be much more use of molded plastics for everything from
foundations to sturdy, long-lasting fences. Wood and other natural products will
be used primarily for decorative purposes, not as primary materials (like wood
siding is used today.)
Landscaping will be eco-efficient, and will contain lots of walkways
and paths. Many developers will be adding broad walkways where homes sit closer
to the street. These are especially apparent in planned neighborhoods, (like
Seaside, Fla.) where sidewalks and front porches are a zoning requirement. This
allows for greater opportunity to meet and chat with neighbors, which will
create a friendly community and, hopefully, deter crime.
It appears that consumers want flexibility, comfort and efficiency in their
homes of tomorrow. Sounds a bit like the wishes of today's homeowners. The more
things change, the more they stay the same!