Contemporary-Style Homes

This catch-all describes the homes you will find on many builders’ lots today. Even if the exterior looks like a colonial, craftsman or Tudor-style home or a Mediterranean villa, inside you are very likely to find a medley of greatest hits.

Among the highlights: Showroom kitchens that are fully open to an expansive, high-ceiling family room; master bedroom-bath suites that practically count as their own apartment within the home; flowing spaces from room to room with maybe only a single step or a bit of floating wall to differentiate one room from another. They may have very small formal dining and living rooms or those little-used formal rooms might even be eliminated altogether.

Contemporary-style homes are thoughtfully designed to accommodate that way we live today. Our entertaining space is near the hearth, the kitchen and family room, because everybody knows a good party always ends up in the kitchen. Large rooms accommodate our big televisions. Self-contained master suites allow a desperately needed retreat from the bustle of our workdays, not to mention the bustle of a house full of teenagers enjoying the big television or pool table downstairs.

Though they have been designed to meet our everyday need with the help of buyer-preference surveys and focus group studies, some aspects of contemporary-style homes still take getting used to. First, with the open kitchen/family room arrangement, it can seem you are always in the kitchen. The family cook should better be tidy because there is no place to hide your mess.

Decorating can be another challenge with an open floor plan. How do you paint one room without painting all of them? Big, open spaces with high ceilings can be noisy and hard to keep clean. And if everyone in the household has a self-contained bedroom-bath area with their own television, computer and phone then you may find that you don’t talk to each other so much any more.