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  A Look at Homes in the Future   Our MA home inspection provides a MA licensed home inspector.   Quality Home Inspections at Affordable Rates  

No one has a crystal ball, but if you ask experts from a variety of housing professions and industries what's ahead for home trends, many will tell you that suburban styles often travel west to east, like the prevailing winds.

Here's what experts in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area recently said are some of the concepts likely to influence the way we live. Some of them already have begun migrating to the New York area, but if they haven't yet taken hold, look for them soon in a home near you - or perhaps your own.

The Spa at Home. "We're getting older, our bodies ache ... and (we) don't have time to go to the health club," said Kathe Ostrom, president of remodeling company C.N.Ostrom & Son Inc. That's why she predicts that aging baby boomers and other busy nesters will continue turning master bathrooms into soothing wellness retreats. Spa-like features include steam units in showers, full-body spray showers "for a stimulating massage-type shower," whirlpool tubs that shoot soft air bubbles rather than hard jets of water, tubs equipped with pulsating neck pillows and rainfall shower heads.

Room for Change. Remember the "mother-in-law apartment?" Well, the concept of a small home within a home is returning, but under a different name: flexible design or flex space. Homeowners are creating living areas, often complete with baths and kitchenettes, that they can convert to various uses as their needs change.

All About You. The trend away from standard homes and toward personalization that began a few years ago is now "roaring," said Dale Mulfinger, founding partner of SALA Architects Inc. In a globally franchised economy, "home remains the one thing . . . where we can make something special that represents us."

Factory Fresh. Manufactured housing isn't just about cutting costs. "Some things can be made better and smarter in the factory," Mulfinger said. One example: structural insulated panels, known as SIPs, sheets of factory-made wall material, including studs, offer the potential of better insulation and a shorter construction cycle.

Aging in Place. Baby boomers, it appears, are no longer in denial: They will grow old, and their homes will reflect that. Universal design, aimed at making it easier for people to remain in their homes throughout their life cycle, has been the buzz in the building industry for several years, Craig Plekkenpol, owner of Plekkenpol Builders Inc., said. This includes wider doorways, accessible showers, lever door handles and faucets.

In-Home Getaways. No time for a vacation? Pick your destination and create it at home. "I'm seeing a trend toward vacation-themed rooms," said Jim Gabbert, chief executive of Gabberts Furniture and Design Studio. "There's less desire to travel, and home is a place to retreat." If you love the tropics or the mountains, for example, furniture makers are now turning out the resort-style pieces you need to duplicate that environment in your home.

Modern Times. What's the next wave in interior design? Contemporary, said Tom Gunkelman, founder of Gunkelman Interior Design. Having gone through a very traditional period, then transitioned into an eclectic mix, we are now into a cleaner, streamlined look, driven in part by the urban renaissance and sharp increase in inner-city loft-style living spaces, he said. Wood used in contemporary ways is important here.

Being Neighborly. Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath left many Americans yearning for a greater sense of community. Homes and gardens can play a part, said Eric Baldus, owner/principal designer at Terravista Landscape and Design. In suburban areas, the backyard patio is moving to the front of the house so that people walking by can stop and talk. In urban areas, boulevard gardens are blooming along sidewalks, enticing walkers and bringing gardeners and pedestrians together.

 

Home View

What you can do to control mold-growth in your home.
Use or Not to Use? That is the question about lubricant.
Oil or Natural Gas? Which cost more to heat your home?

 

Home View

Tips on Mold

Tips on Lubricants

Tips on Heating

         
               
       
     

Vince Kotlarz - President, MA Licensed Home Inspector, performing home inspection services in Massachusetts (MA), New Hampshire (NH), and Rhode Island (RI).

       
       
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