Although the housing market is slowly rebounding, Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri says the tough economy is driving several trends in the new home market: the elimination of formal living spaces; unified interior and exterior space; clean, simple design and pools for entertainment and exercise, going green for energy savings.
As a result of more cost-conscious design and construction, Jorge says consumers are moving away from ornate styles preferring a more eclectic look that showcases simple lines and clean design. “Clients want exterior design that has interesting movement and lines but without all the twists, turns and unusual spaces that overdone design creates,” says Jorge. Inside, clients want sleek fixtures, furniture and finishes that don’t overpower the architecture and bones of the home. Jorge says a style very popular with his clients is Mod-Mediterranean, a blend of Old World and contemporary elements.
Clients want practical, functional space as opposed to the voluminous showy square footage of the past. As a result, the formal living room is disappearing from floorplans replaced by a grand family room. Jorge says some of his clients also are eliminating the formal dining room opting instead for a dining/breakfast nook area.
Jorge says clients want every inch of their living space to count. They are asking for floorplans that seamlessly integrate the interior and exterior living space. Indoor-outdoor living spaces are designed so that it’s hard to detect the boundaries between the two. “I’m talking about a new breed of outdoor living where the finishes, fixtures and décor match the interior. Designs of the past were not in sync with the interiors but completely distinct with defined themes.”
For years, there were two popular choices for the pool: the Mediterranean theme defined by a quatrefoil design, water pots and pergolas or a lagoon-style pool with a kidney-shaped design, boulders and cascading waterfalls. Jorge says today’s pools are built for entertaining and exercise with clean lines and a stylishly sleek look.
The pools are elongated so people can swim laps and have new social features such as swim up seating and water platforms for sunbathing. Some new pool designs flow into covered areas for shady relaxation.
When it comes to building green, consumers have changed their view and priorities. They are more concerned with energy efficiency rather than the environment. Jorge says green building remains a popular concept with clients in theory but in practice is often cost-prohibitive. “Clients are building with tighter budgets these days because they don’t want to invest all of their net worth into their home after experiencing the housing bust. A lot of green features cost extra upfront. Clients still want energy-efficient appliances, windows, and heating and air systems. These green features are affordable but other green features are considered upgrades in most budgets and not essential.”
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