Not all homebuyers are looking for a house with a massive floor plan – and a massive price tag. In fact, a wide variety of lifestyle changes are motivating many home owners to downsize to something more manageable. And, many first-time buyers are seeking something other than the traditional “starter” home.
Their reasons may vary, but their goals remain consistent: find a home that fits well, maximizes space and offers value. Home builders recognize the home-efficiency needs of today’s buyers, which is why an increasing number of them are finding innovative ways to deliver big value in a small(er) package.
To those who think buying a smaller home means sacrificing quality amenities, they might not know about what many refer to as the “jewel box home.” Ranging between 650-2,500 square feet, jewel box homes are generally smaller than the average single-family home, and built with high-quality materials and custom finishes tailored to the owner’s preferences.
Such homes are most appealing to newlyweds, single professionals, empty nesters or retirees – anyone with a less-is-more mentality who wants to live in a custom, yet relatively affordable home.
Every area within a jewel box home is designed with a purpose – sometimes more than one – to augment efficiency. The designs typically rely on blurring the lines between the indoors and outdoors by incorporating large sliding glass doors that open seamlessly to exterior dining and entertaining areas.
Other design elements that create space include the use of bright, chrome-brushed finishes, pocket and barn doors, dramatic lighting, floating shelves, abundant windows and continuous flooring throughout. Functionality is often enhanced with kitchen islands that double as dining tables, creative storage spaces beneath stairs and purposeful cabinetry and built-ins.
Yet still, for some, “small” isn’t small enough. A few years ago, many thought the “tiny house movement” was a passing trend, but some extreme minimalist home buyers still view tiny homes as a viable option because of their small impact on the environment and on their checkbooks.
Costing a fraction of the price of a typical single-family home, these diminutive dwellings are also a fraction of the size, often ranging between 100 and 400 square feet. Those who tend to be the most interested in tiny houses are millennials (between the ages of 25 and 34), particularly the ones who dislike home maintenance almost as much as they do the idea of a long-term mortgage.
For most people, the appeal of a simplified life in a tiny house won’t be enough to forfeit a good amount of their personal space, or outweigh the inevitable climb up a ladder each night to sleep in a loft. But home-buyer intrigue in the “tiny” concept continues to spur micro-living-inspired efficiencies within larger, more mainstream home designs.
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