Urban Natural Homes July 10, 2015

Home Trends in 2015: Smaller, Greener and More Open


It’s intriguing to walk into homes of different eras and imagine the lifestyles of the individuals living there at the time. Home building trends definitely change to meet the lifestyle philosophies of the times. During the 80’s and 90’s we saw the McMansion, “bigger is better” era where size definitely took precedence over quality. Gradually, it appears that we are starting to see a shift away from this obsession with size. The National Association of Home Builders recently published a study called “New Homes in 2015 will be Smaller, Greener and More Casual.” It suggests that it was the recent recession that was finally responsible for changing America’s perception on what types of homes are now desirable. Smaller homes with more open floor plans are more energy efficient and more user-friendly. Gone are the days of formal living rooms and kitchens separated from the rest of the house. Today’s homes are now more likely to feature a “great room” which combine both the kitchen and living room spaces and forgo a formal living room. This study actually reminded me of Sarah Susanka’s book, “The Not So Big House,” which originally came out in 1998 and encouraged us to question society’s obsession with larger homes and realize the benefits of smaller, greener homes. Susanka says “…comfort has nothing to do with how big the space is. It is attained by tailoring and personalizing homes to fit the way we really live and the scale and proportion of the human form.” Perhaps even more applicable for those of us living in the core of Seattle, where most homes bought and sold are not newly built structures, but rather pre-existing homes, is her follow-up book, “Not So Big Remodeling.” This book addresses the fact that the majority of us are not going to be building a home from scratch, but that we want the benefits of tailoring our homes to fit the lifestyles we are now leading. She revisits the concepts of quality over quantity and opening up and greening our homes so that we might restructure our existing homes to reflect the way we live in 2015.

National Association of Home Builders

The Not So Big House
Sarah Susanka
Tauton, 2008

Not So Big Remodeling
Sarah Susanka
Tauton, 2009