Home Design Expert Advice: Build a Home That Serves Your Present Lifestyle

Posted on | October 12, 2016 | No Comments

Ok, so you’re thinking about building or remodeling – and you’d never dream of including a 1960′s vintage styled kitchen – but does your vision allow you to get the most use and enjoyment out of your home? Often times, the answer is no, which means that it may be time to let go of some elements of the past that don’t serve our present lifestyles. Kevin Holdridge, owner of premier Charlotte residential design firm KDH Residential Design, has seen a shift to a less formal lifestyle and a more transitional aesthetic, but frequently finds that homeowners are still held captive by outdated floorplans. He gave his take on the subject to North Carolina Design.

“Decades ago, our lives were very different,” Kevin observes. “Most women were not in the workplace. They spent a lot of time alone in a segregated kitchen preparing elaborate meals. Children spent a good portion of their day outdoors, so there was little need for a large play area indoors. Things were a lot more formal, and lives – and homes – were a lot more compartmentalized. Times have changed, but homes have not completely kept pace with those changes.”

According to Kevin, this failure to evolve translates into a lot of wasted space. “Today, life is a lot more fluid,” he reflects. “In many homes you have both parents working, and sharing the household chores. Families often cook together, and share casual meals right in the kitchen. Kids spend a lot of time inside the home, playing, doing homework, and using electronic devices. People tend to congregate together, doing different things in a shared space.”

“Because we are still building and renovating houses in the old way, we are ending up with entire rooms that are closed off or barely used. These rooms are cold and unwelcoming, and they make people feel isolated and disconnected. People who have mobility issues can have trouble navigating older floor plans, and may end up relegated to one section of the house. Every space in a home should have a purpose, and everyone who lives in a home should have access to and enjoy the whole home.”

Kevin points out that it’s not a matter of style preference, but of whether or not homeowners are making the best use of their space. “It’s about having a formal dining room, not because you want it or use it, but because you feel you ought to,” he explains.

Homeowners feel obligated to stick with older floor plans for several reasons. “Some people feel they should carry on tradition,” notes Kevin. “Others are afraid of damaging their home’s value. They believe that their ideas for the ideal floorplan are too unique or unusual, and that most homebuyers will want something more traditional. What they don’t understand is their ideas aren’t unusual at all. Many other people are asking for the same things they are.”

Kevin works hard to alleviate his clients’ concerns. “I point out that there are things they can do to serve both current and future purposes,” he says. “They can build flex spaces that can grow with their family and appeal to future buyers.

“I also remind them that there’s value in living in a house that’s comfortable, welcoming and functional for their family. Resale is important, but you don’t want to waste space, or waste time living in an unpleasant space, because you are worried about the future. Your home should allow you to enjoy your life, and your family, in the best possible way.”

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