Have you ever walked through a home and thought, “This feels right.” You may not be able to put your finger on exactly why it feels that way, but there’s definitely a sense of comfort, security, and of being “home” that’s no less real than finding a house in the right location and at the right price.
What you’re experiencing is likely good architectural design, and it’s no accident. Good design is a combination of proper scale, proportion, mass, and authenticity that transcends time and trends. Good design is also contemporary, meaning that it reflects current lifestyle needs both inside and out.
We seem to place value on so-called “traditional” homes and we romanticize about living in something historic or “authentic.” The truth is, however, that older homes were designed and built for another day, not ours. A well-designed house accommodates the manner in which we live today. A house that clings to past practices can actually reduce comfort and convenience.
Consider, for example, the modern kitchen: It’s a blend of kitchen, eating nook, and family room in one big area. A variety of contemporary influences have driven that design concept into almost every size and price of home. Arising from a desire to expand the home’s natural gathering place, modern kitchens have become a center for casual entertaining as well as a focal point for family activities such as dining, homework and craft projects. These big rooms also provide more natural light and greater access to the outdoors — subtle, yet critical, changes that create a contemporary sense of comfort.
And what about today’s garage? Multi-car garages are a modern reality and testify to our continuing love affair with the automobile, as well as other vehicles. Rather than allowing a garage to dominate the front facade, a large garage can be placed on the back of the lot (perhaps accessed by an alley), to the side, or in a tandem arrangement to achieve modern needs and good architecture.
Attention to detail is another cornerstone of timeless design. Assuming that the details are appropriate to the overall style of the house, one approach is to use contemporary materials that incorporate durability and longevity to execute those details. For example, homeowners can choose modern engineered hardwood floors, composite siding and composite roofing materials. These materials can achieve a rich level of detail and increase the value of the home.
Simply put, then, what is authentic is what’s current to the times, with a foundation of human scale and proportion and a respect for appropriate detailing. That’s just good design.