Pocket Neighborhoods: Why Small Developments are The Next Big Thing

It was writer Howard E. Koch who mused, “You can be a good neighbor only if you have good neighbors.” Of course, you don’t get to choose the people who live around you. Still, a new type of development can help limit the chances of living next to a dud. Pocket neighborhoods are small developments of 12 houses or fewer that are specifically designed to encourage neighborly interaction. By structuring the development around common areas and purposefully keeping homes on the small side, these little neighborhoods can have big benefits. Before you consider whether or not a pocket neighborhood is right for you, get to know the next big idea in small developments.

Neighborhood with similar houses

Pocket neighborhoods offer shared amenities. Image: Konstantin L/Shutterstock

The Basics

The idea of these smaller neighborhoods was actually the brainchild of renowned architect Ross Chapin. His idea was to create smaller patches of housing that encouraged neighbors to interact with one another. And, since he hailed from California, it makes sense that he would crave less populated areas where neighbors had more day-to-day dealings. The idea caught on; today, there are hundreds of pocket neighborhoods all over the country.

The idea behind a pocket neighborhood is to create a central meeting place or shared space that encourages the neighbors to socialize. That’s also the idea behind the magic number of homes: 12. Chapin suggested that it was the ideal number of homes for a smaller neighborhood. By limiting the homes, it’s easier for neighbors to get to know one another on a personal level. It’s interesting to note, however, that several pocket developments can be linked together in one larger development. Each neighborhood would still be limited to 12 homes and still center around a shared space.

Neighborhood homes with gardens

Gardens and walkways create a sense of community. Image: Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Why Cities Love Them

Larger cities love the idea of pocket neighborhoods for a few specific reasons. First, they can really use up forgotten space between commercial and residential areas. Second, they’re typically well-kept and can increase property values in and around the development. They may even be used to split too-large lots that are a hard sell for a homeowner or developer. While pocket neighborhoods might not be subject to the same covenants and restrictions as typical housing, they’re usually designed by a competent architect who knows how to make neighborhoods desirable.

Pocket neighborhoods are also a great alternative to other types of multi-family housing. Rather than apartments or townhouses, they offer the privacy of a single-family home with the amenities of a townhome or apartment development. Single-family homes are nearly always a better investment for cities — and homeowners, for that matter.

Neighborhood walking paths

Homeowners love the amenities without the upkeep. Image: Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Why Homeowners Love Them

Homeowners really reap the benefits of pocket neighborhoods. The amenities designed to bring neighbors together are often those they might not be able to afford in a single-family situation. Think clubhouses with a pool, gazebos and parks, shared garages or storage units and, in some cases, even guest housing. It’s a great option for families that need amenities but might not require full-sized ones or the use of them year-round. Usually, a homeowner’s association takes on the care and upkeep of amenities, freeing up time and money.

Of course, there’s something to be said about the neighborly aspect of pocket neighborhoods. Sharing amenities creates a natural excuse to get out and get to know the people who live around you. If you’re missing that in your current home or neighborhood, this might be an option you’ll love. What’s more, you’ll score interesting architecture and a desirable location that doesn’t cost as much as single-family housing. Both the smaller sizes of the home and the shared spaces keep prices much lower than traditional development methods.

Pocket neighborhoods are just the latest in thinking outside the box when it comes to architecture. With urban sprawl making its way through the country, more and more families are looking for alternatives to expensive zip codes and large, pricey homes. The neighborly aspect of a pocket development is just the cherry on top. Just like Koch says, these developments can make for good neighbors.

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Defining a House Style: What Makes A Creole Home?

Louisiana is a place like no other. It and its surrounding areas are home to a truly unique style of architecture known as the Creole home. Though you’re less likely to see this home outside of New Orleans, that in no way discounts the rich history and one-of-a-kind make up that this home style has to offer.

Take an in-depth look at the Creole home, including its complex beginnings, its two distinct sub-types and some of the defining features of the style. Read on to learn for yourself what makes this type of architecture so special.

creole home

Creole homes can be traced back to French colonization. Image: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

History of the Creole home

The word “Creole” has a varied and complex history. It can refer to anything from ethnic heritage to recipes or styles of music. In much the same way, the history of Creole architecture comes to us from a variety of different paths. No one knows for sure what the exact origins are.

However, we do know that rather than resulting as an adaptation to the environment, Creole architecture formed out of cultural influences from the various settlers who called the Mississippi Valley home. Some believe that Creole architecture is due largely to French Canadian settlers in the area. Others think it came directly from France. Still others argue that the architecture shows more influence from the West Indies.

To complicate matters further, after two fires in the late 1700’s destroyed many original Creole houses, Spanish settlers from the time responded by strengthening building codes and adding their own architectural influences to the mix during reconstruction.

subtypes

There are two distinct subtypes of Creole homes. Image: dejjf82 / Shutterstock

Types of Creole homes

There are two main sub-types of the Creole home. You can tell them apart in the following ways.

The Creole Cottage

The smaller of the two house types, the Creole cottage is also the oldest. These houses feature anywhere from one to four rooms with no hallways to speak of. However, unlike the similarly-built shotgun house, which is also prevalent in the area, these cottages have rooflines that run either side-to-side or parallel to the street. They also feature a second half-story for bedrooms. In rural areas, these homes are known for their sprawling front porches. However, in New Orleans, where space is at a premium, they meet the street.

The Creole Townhouse

The Creole townhouse is perhaps most well-known for its presence in New Orleans’s French Quarter. These houses date from after the Great New Orleans Fire in 1788. Made from stucco or brick, rather than wood, these homes are more fire-resistant. This type of Creole home features thick walls, open courtyards, arcades,and cast-iron balconies. Additionally, they show both Spanish and French influence with their steeply-pitched roofs and dormers.

features

Creole homes have a unique set of defining features. Image: Phuong D. Nguyen / Shutterstock

Defining features of Creole homes

Though the two sub-types of Creole homes differ from one and other, they still share many similarities.  There are as few defining features that tie this style together. Here are some of the exterior and interior features to look for in a Creole home.

Exterior

  • Large front porches on every story (also known as galleries)
  • A broad, spreading roofline that overhangs the galleries
  • Gallery roofs that are held up by colonnettes

Interior

  • Principal rooms above grade (in case of flooding)
  • A lack of hallways between rooms
  • Lots of French doors
  • Presence of French wraparound mantels

What do you think of this style of home? Let us know in the comments!

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An Unusual House that Expands Your Life Span is for Sale in New York

The Bioscleave House in East Hampton, New York, can expand more than your indoor living space, or your shoe closet. In a totally different twist, the colorful home promises to add years to your life span. All for $1.49 million.

bioscleave house expands life span

The colorful home is the first U.S. project designed to improve life span. All images courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens.

Listing agency Brown Harris Stevens calls it the “life span-extending villa.” But how, exactly, does this 3,400 square foot, 4-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house do that? The avant-garde creators, Arakawa and Madeline Gins, partners in the Reversible Destiny Foundation, explain.

Uneven floors improve immune system function

bioscleave house longer life span

A sunken living room with strategically placed bars to help dwellers steady themselves.

According to the duo, “Heightened body awareness and the challenging of senses can allow the body to constantly reconfigure itself and, with time, become a means to strengthen the immune system.”

Vibrant color defines space and provides stimulation

bioscleave house hamptons

The open main bath also features an ergonomic bathtub.

Floors stimulate the body’s organs through acupressure points

bioscleave house for sale

Minimal furnishings do not compete with the colorful walls.

According to the listing agency, “There are many ‘metaphysical’ small slopes, hills, nooks and crannies made of Japanese rammed earth country floor to stimulate the feet.”

Here are some other interior and exterior images of the unusual home.

Set on over an acre of woodland

bioscleave house

The home consists of two connected houses finished in geometric block colors.

Trees surround the home while simple, minimalist landscaping allows the colors to stand out.

No interior doors

life expanding house

An open floor plan includes colorful walls to close off bedrooms and create smaller, intimate spaces.

Built around a central atrium, the main home leads to the sunken living room. Although walls add privacy to each space, there are no doors in the interior.

The concept may seem hard to grasp, but the modern use of 52 colors throughout the Bioscleave House does add a vibrant and cheerful effect to the home.

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Beachfront Home in Mexico Offers a Tropical Escape


Studio MAIN OFFICE designed Casa LT, a modern beachfront home in Mexico. It stands on the beachfront of the idyllic village of Sayulita, an area known for surfing getaways and mountain biking.

“Carefully integrating architecture and the tranquil tropical landscape, CASA LT has been imagined around the living palm and almond trees, plantains and ferns that join the site’s topography in playing a key role in ensuring a clear view to the waterfront from all its spaces, both internal and external,” the architects said. The residence blends smoothly into the steep topography and also offers mesmerizing views over the Pacific Ocean.The project actually restores an existing residential complex on the site. “Composed of three small houses situated on the top of the hill, the original complex built in the 50’s was in poor condition due to humidity problems and lack of maintenance,” explain the designers.

“MAIN OFFICE initially focused on the renovation and preservation of the original essence, and then on the design of a new main building and a guest house facing the beach on the lower part of the property,” they also add.

The single-family house features a kitchen with large floor-to-ceiling windows. An open living and dining area connects to the infinity pool.  An en-suite bedroom also includes a beautiful terrace with ocean views. Photos and information courtesy of MAIN OFFICE architecture studio.

Explore the dazzling design of this Mexican beachfront home
beachfront home

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18 Times Exposed Ceiling Beams Made the Room

If you’re looking for a way to make an interior design splash in 2019, look up. Only focusing on your four walls is missing a major design opportunity. The fifth wall – your ceiling – sets the tone for the entire space. Wallpapered and painted ceilings, interesting molding and even 3D ceilings are helping homeowners reclaim this long-forgotten territory. But if you really want to make an architectural impact, you might want even more depth and texture. Exposed ceiling beams can give you exactly that.

Exposed ceiling beams can take an ordinary room and make it remarkable. They draw the eye up, making the space feel larger, and make a big design splash without taking up any square footage. Here are some great examples of exposed ceiling beams transforming a room.

Exposed ceiling beams in the living room

living room ceiling beams 6

In a room where horizontal lines are a theme, stained wood beams help establish the space while maintaining the room’s openness. Image: Bezikus/Shutterstock

living room ceiling beams 2

In an artsy loft, exposed ceiling beams are a must. If you can weave your lighting between them, all the better. Image: Vicnt/Getty Images

living room ceiling beams 3

Massive windows and concrete could make a room feel cold. But adding ceiling beams in warm-toned wood gives the space a cozy, inviting feel. Image: Hemul75/Getty Images

living room ceiling beams 1

In a room filled with diverse types of furniture, ceiling beams serve as a common element that gives the space a foundation. Image: Laughingmango/Getty Images

living room ceiling beams 4

In a space with beautifully high ceilings, beams that highlight them are a no-brainer. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

living room ceiling beams 5

In an otherwise plain living room, wooden ceiling beams draw the eye up and add character. Image: Pics721/Shutterstock

living room ceiling beams 7

Leaving your beams unpainted adds visual interest and provides a great design opportunity. Matching the wood to furniture in the room (like these chairs) helps tie the entire space together. Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII/Shutterstock

outdoor ceiling beams

Who says your living room needs to be indoors? Ceiling beams create a sense of space for this outdoor seating area. Image:  Sirtravelalot/Shutterstock

Exposed ceiling beams in the kitchen and dining room

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White ceiling beams make this kitchen feel extra bright and open. Image: Hoxton/Astronaut Images/Getty Images

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Mounting eye-catching lighting fixtures from the ceiling beams gives this kitchen a bright and airy feel. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

kitchen ceiling beams 4

Mirroring the wood from the ceiling beams in the island and dining table creates visual cohesion in this kitchen. Image: TerryJ/Getty Images

kitchen ceiling beams 5

Light-colored ceiling beams attract the eye, encouraging it to look out the sloping window. Image: Rade Kovac/Shutterstock

kitchen ceiling beams 3

This dining area feels extra expansive thanks to exposed beams that draw the eye up. Image: Rrrainbow/Getty Images

dining ceiling beams

Placing a dining table directly under the point where the ceiling beams meet cements it in a uniquely shaped dining room. Image: Imging/Shutterstock

Exposed ceiling beams in the bedroom

bedroom ceiling beams 4

The beams in this dreamy bedroom draw the eye up and out to the surrounding natural beauty without obstructing the view. Image: Hoxton/Tom Merton/Getty Images

bedroom ceiling beams 1

A narrow bedroom could feel claustrophobic, but beams that angle upward open up the room. Image: Tom Merton/Getty Images

bedroom ceiling beams 5

Dark beams play off the metallic accents in this bedroom, giving it some extra flair. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

bedroom ceiling beams 3

In a traditional bedroom, painted ceiling beams add some architectural interest while letting the mellow vibe of the room prevail. Image:  Hoxton/Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Do you like exposed beams? Would you be willing to remodel to bring yours out, or would you opt for a different ceiling trend? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Mountain Modern Architecture: 7 Ways to Define the Trend

Once upon a time, building a home in the mountains meant something along the lines of bear rugs and deer heads. Sure, it was fine for a weekend getaway, but rustic homes didn’t always feel livable. The knickknacks and kitschy design can easily turn a mountain home into a caricature of itself. What seems like a fun space for a weekend can feel too heavy and cluttered for real-life living.

That’s why the mountain modern trend is so appealing. Architecture that pays homage to mountain life without the heavy hand makes these homes more livable. Without the clutter and kitsch, mountain living becomes a lot more comfortable. What’s more, this design style respects the land and makes your dreams of mountain life even more attainable. Check out some of the most common aspects of mountain modern design and decide if it’s right for you.

1. Unique Exterior

Modern home in the snow

Unique shapes make for better views. Image: korisbo/Shutterstock

Most mountain-style homes have familiar shapes, especially if they’re made out of materials such as logs or timber. From the classic A-frame to simple rectangles, mountain homes haven’t exactly come a long way over the last 100 years or so. Mountain modern is so exciting because it offers a fresh take on the classic rustic home. Look for sharp, modern edges and homes that take the landscape into consideration. Adopting the energy efficiency of more modern spaces, architects can create homes that are still rustic, but much more efficient.

2. Uncluttered Layout

Modern gray bathroom

An uncluttered layout keeps a zen mood. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Gone are the days when a mountain home meant a wall of hunting trophies. In fact, mountain modern style is all about clean lines and an uncluttered interior. With open layouts and tall ceilings, the style is about sweeping views and a totally relaxing vibe. While traditional cabins may have been made up of many smaller rooms, modern rustic homes subscribe to a bigger, brighter and more open aesthetic. Skipping the smaller decor items, these homes rely more on large, impactful pieces to make a statement while cutting down on clutter.

3. Windows and Light

Modern kitchen with picture window

Huge windows showcase the landscape. Image: alexandre zveiger/Shutterstock

One of the most important features of a mountain modern home is light. It’s not uncommon to see floor-to-ceiling windows that frame nature as the home’s most important feature. And why not? If you’re building a mountain home, chances are you want to see as much of the landscape as possible. A talented architect will take the sun into consideration when situating the home, making sure to take advantage of all the natural light possible.

4. Texture Over Color

Modern wooden accent kitchen

Natural textures bring the beauty of outside in. Image: Federico Rostagno/Shutterstock

If you love neutral colors, you’ll love mountain modern homes. They’re a departure from the bold and dark colors typical in rustic homes. Instead, the design emphasis is placed on the building materials. From smooth glass to rough stone, chunky woodwork and textured concrete, the building materials become part of the decor. Rather than covering up the details of the home, neutral colors allow the textures of all the materials to shine.

5. Local Sourcing

Modern master bathroom

Many mountain homes utilize local materials. Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII/Shutterstock

Mountain modern homes can look deceptively simple. With their clean lines and open spaces, it’s easy to look past the engineering and design required to successfully pull off the look. What might seem like a simple build is often carefully planned to include local sourcing and reclaimed materials. It’s not just for aesthetics; local sourcing pays respect to the land and helps the home blend better with its natural surroundings. Don’t be surprised to see modern homes made up of local wood, steel and stone.

6. Indoor/Outdoor Living

Mountain modern home with landscaping

Indoor/outdoor living offers more space. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

What’s the point of having a mountain home if you totally ignore your outdoor space? Modern homes think of outdoor land as part of the total living space, which means walls of retractable windows, huge decks and ski-in, ski-out basements. Mountain modern homes are all about making the most of the land, which can also mean thinking less traditionally about our outdoor space. From built-in hot tubs to native landscaping, it’s all about reaping the benefits of a mountain escape.

7. Low Maintenance Design

Simple design weathers the weather. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Mountain modern homes are anything but fussy. Expect to see simple design that takes the weather, precipitation and even wildlife into consideration. Utilizing local stone and native plants means you can spend less time maintaining your home and more time enjoying it. Think about it: the fewer nooks and crannies your home has, the easier it is to maintain. By taking inspiration from the landscape, smooth, thoughtful exteriors contrast beautifully with the wild surroundings.

Mountain modern might be one of the newest trends in architecture, but it also might be one of the most sustainable. Whether planning a mountain retreat or simply looking for a charming design for city life, mountain modern homes bring the best of both worlds. By respecting nature and keeping a laid-back attitude toward design, it’s an architectural style that makes any home feel like a relaxing retreat.

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Prefab Homes: Pros and Cons

The tiny house movement has had a positive effect on another type of residence: prefabricated homes. As millennials and empty nesters alike look for smaller scale, more affordable housing, prefab homes are getting their time in the sun. Once perceived as low quality and hard to sell, today’s prefab homes are nothing like their shoddy predecessors. In fact, you might be surprised at the stylish and well-built newest generation of prefabricated homes.

If you’re considering a no muss, no fuss prefab home as your next abode, it’s important to suss out the pros and cons. Skipping the complicated construction process and buying a pre-built or modular home on your lot can save time. Still, there are a few drawbacks to consider before you purchase prefab.

Prefabricated modern home

Prefab could give you more house for the money. Image: Usawicka/Shutterstock

Prefab Pros

A lengthy, personalized building process definitely isn’t for everyone. Prefab homes offer one of the quickest, most affordable paths to homeownership. Check out some of the best benefits of going prefab.

Lower Costs 

Unlike traditional homebuilders, prefab homebuilders are able to buy materials in bulk and better predict building costs. These cost savings are then passed to you, the homeowner. Prefab homes are usually priced per square foot, so you can get a great idea of how much your home will cost based on its size. While a traditional home typically costs around $125 to $150 a square foot, it’s not uncommon to find a prefab builder offering prices closer to $75 per square foot. If you want a home without the huge mortgage, prefab might be the way to go.

Quick Build

On a tight build schedule? Prefab homes can definitely help with that. Prefab builders know how to quickly place all the parts and pieces for a tight schedule, which means you’ll get to move in much faster. The home is brought to your lot and the shell will be complete in as little as one day. Some prefab homes can be delivered with many of the main components installed (think cabinets and flooring). When compared to the 3- to 12-month timelines of traditional builds, you could be enjoying your home way faster if you choose prefab.

Better Sustainability

Let’s face it: a traditionally built home isn’t exactly kind to the environment. Materials are brought to your site each day, resulting in emissions. At the same time, materials go to waste and end up in landfills. If sustainability and being environmentally friendly are important to you, consider a prefab home instead. A prefab builder knows exactly how much material to use and, what’s more, extra materials can simply be used on another project. The home is shipped once, saving on gas and reducing emissions. Some prefab manufacturers also create homes that are more energy efficient, using solar panels and more efficient windows. This helps you save on utilities in the long run, which could seriously increase your enjoyment of the home.

Prefabricated cement homes

Not every neighborhood is open to prefab homes. Image: Thanate Rooprasert/Shutterstock

Prefab Cons

It’s not all sunshine and sustainability when it comes to premanufactured homes. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you can live with these drawbacks.

More Logistics 

Prefab homes can mean more work for you, the homeowner. Unlike traditional construction where the builder or contractor takes care of logistics, you might be in charge of more than you anticipated. Finding a lot, checking zoning, organizing utility hookups and other details are the homeowner’s responsibility. The prefab builder simply manufactures the home and has it delivered and installed. If you’re not comfortable overseeing the details, this could be difficult.

Land and Zoning 

Not all cities are kind to prefabricated homes. Land covenants and zoning issues could limit where you place your home. Some cities have codes for the size of homes, while others might have codes that limit your building materials and finishes. If your city only allows homes over 2,000 square feet and built with 80 percent natural materials, you might be out of luck. Thoroughly research all city codes before you purchase a lot for a prefab home.

Less Customization

If you’ve been dreaming of a custom-built home for your family, you should know that going prefab limits your choices. Sure, you might be able to pick out your favorite tile and flooring, but some materials and the general layout and size of the home are limited. Prefab builders keep costs low by building the same few homes over and over again. Cosmetic customization is usually okay, but structural and size choices are pretty much made for you. You’ll choose your home from the builder’s catalog and add your cosmetic stamp – but that’s it. If you’d rather start from scratch or require a lot of customization, it’s best to choose a traditional builder.

Thinking outside of the usual is helping more and more people attain homeownership. But before you opt for a less-common method like prefab homes, make sure you consider every angle. Once you decide you can live with the few drawbacks, you could be on your way to an affordable home you love.

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8 Ways to Design Multigenerational Homes

According to Pew Research, a whopping 64 million Americans live in multigenerational homes. Grandparents, parents, and kids all living under the same room has gained traction over the past few years, thanks to rising housing and healthcare costs. While packing more people into one house might seem less than ideal, it does have its perks. Whether it’s saving money or offering care, there’s something to be said for living with family.

Of course, that’s not to say there won’t be any discomfort along the way. The trick to multigenerational homes is designing spaces that make sense. When a home is geared toward comfort, privacy and accessibility, living with family can be comfortable and convenient. Homes that are designed with more than one generation in mind means you can live with multiple generations without losing your mind. Here’s how.

Think accessibility

Open concept home with patio

Open concept layouts make the most sense. Image: JR-stock/Shutterstock

Multigenerational homes require an eye for accessibility. Even if Grandma and Grandpa can get around easily now, thinking ahead can save growing pains in the future. Creating spaces that are wheelchair accessible mean older residents will always feel welcome. Open concept layouts are great for getting around. And, configuring bedrooms so that everyone can reach their private living spaces easily (think putting older residents on the main floor) means everyone can remain as independent as possible.

Choose main floor bedrooms

When given the choice between main and second floor bedrooms in multigenerational homes, choose the main floor. Not only will they remain the most accessible as your family ages, but having one or two bedrooms on the main floor can create a natural separation between generations. While it might feel natural to put all of the bedrooms on the second floor level, putting a few on the main floor offers extra privacy and some breathing room to keep everyone sane.

Design for dual purposes

Guest bedroom with desk

Create rooms that pull double duty. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Remember this rule of thumb: it’s easy to convert a bedroom into another space, but it’s not always possible to convert a space into a bedroom. Bedrooms usually require windows and a closet, so design your multigenerational home with this factor in mind. If you think of all your spaces as dual purpose, you’ll have more flexibility along the way. Instead of having activity-specific rooms like an office or an exercise room, it’s best to design as many bedrooms as possible and convert them when necessary. That way, you always have plenty of bedrooms that can double as other rooms.

Give enough space

When there’s more than one generation living under the same roof, you’ll need to offer enough space and privacy for everyone. How do you ensure that no one feels totally suffocated? Make sure that for each generation in a home, there is at least one dedicated living space. So, say your parents live with you and your children. Multigenerational homes that include a family room, a den and a playroom means everyone has a little breathing room and a place to relax.

Utilize every inch

Bedroom in attic

Every space can be utilized for family. Image: alexandre zveiger/Shutterstock

With several families living in the same home, every square foot comes at a premium. Get creative with all the spaces in the home and you’ll be a lot more comfortable. Think about converting some of the less-utilized areas of the home, such as the attic, the basement, or over the garage. Rethink each room’s purpose and convert storage spaces into comfy living spaces instead. You can always find other places to store your things and everyone will be happier when they can spread out.

Enjoy the suite life

If you’re lucky enough to get to design your home from scratch, ask your architect to help you configure suites for each generation. Sharing bathrooms can be a major pain point in multigenerational homes and you can easily reduce those quibbles before they even begin. A private bedroom and bathroom suite for grandparents and parents, and a jack-and-jill bathroom for kids can reduce some of the pressure on the busiest rooms in the home.

Offer separate entrances

Modern home with stone accents multigenerational homes

Separate entrances offer additional privacy. Image: ppa/Shutterstock

Another design consideration to make in multigenerational homes is how each generation will actually enter the home. If there’s not a lot of overlap in schedules (early risers leaving for school versus night owls coming in late), it might be best to design separate entrances. Not only will this reduce traffic and chaos throughout the day, but it can provide your family with a sense of autonomy. Sure, living together ensures plenty of quality time. But being able to separate some of the coming and going can help each generation feel more independent.

Customize and adapt

Whether you’re designing a home, renovating one or looking to buy, know that there’s no such thing as a perfect solution. Living in a multigenerational home means customizing as much as possible and remembering to adapt when necessary. What works for other families might not work for you and you might even find that something you designed doesn’t actually translate to real life. The trick to living with more than one family is to keep communication open and stay open to change so that everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

Multigenerational homes are a reality for more and more American families each year. Living with family can definitely come with challenges. Still, if you plan ahead for issues and design your home accordingly, you can head off conflict before it starts. By considering needs, privacy and accessibility, your multigenerational home will be one full of love.

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All About the Moroccan Chic Style

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Chic is one of those words you often see thrown around in the design world. It’s especially common to see it added to certain design styles to update an older look for modern sensibilities, as is the case with rustic chic and even boho chic. And one style that’s easy to fall in love with is the Moroccan chic style.

Like other styles that make use of the word chic, Moroccan chic is about taking the classic Moroccan design style and updating it for a more modern appeal. The Moroccan style has very distinctive architectural, color and pattern traits. However, it can also look dated on its own since it has so many classical elements to it. Moroccan chic takes some of those Moroccan features and combines them with modern sensibilities, like a judicious use of color and choosing one pattern as a focal point. Below we’ll cover in detail how to get the very on-trend Moroccan chic style.

Moroccan Chic Pouf Style

If you want to get a Moroccan chic style, first focus on the furniture, like this Carnuel Moroccan Leather Pouf. Image courtesy of Wayfair.

Moroccan Chic Furniture Details

One hallmark of the Moroccan style is its distinctive furniture and high use of textured patterns. So you’ll first want to focus on the furniture. To start off, it just isn’t a Moroccan style unless you have a pouf somewhere, like the tan one in the photo above. This is a good element that instantly sets the Moroccan tone thanks to its patterns.

In general, you’ll want to focus on pieces with a high degree of geometric pattern. For instance, you might choose a room divider with a patterned and geometric tone. Furniture featuring arches and diamond patterns are also common.

Moroccan Chic Bedroom Style

Layered fabrics give an instant Moroccan feel. Image: Pierivb/Getty Images

Fabric Textures Galore

Another hallmark of the Moroccan style is the use of plenty of textured fabrics. You can see in the photo above how this idea was updated for a more chic design. The fabrics have plenty of texture, but the space is still dominated by a neutral color scheme. That way, this room keeps a light, modern feel.

A common aspect of the Moroccan chic style is that it’s defined by different textures on top of and next to each other. You might even see multiple rugs placed on top of each other in some styles. In the photo above, you can see how the print on the wall sits above a textured pillow, which sits next to a textured bed accent.

Moroccan Chic Blue Bed

Combine the high dose of color in traditional Moroccan styles with the neutrals of modern styles by using an accent color. Image: Pierre-Yves Babelon/Getty Images

Go Subtle with Color

Traditional Moroccan styles are all about color saturation. However, more modern styles tend to veer towards neutrals. To strike a chic balance between the two of them, you could focus on one accent color. The Moroccan chic style in the photo above uses a deep blue as its main accent color. You can see how that shade is reflected in the bedspread and bench. The space also uses red as a secondary accent color.

You could use small punches of multicolored elements, too. Examples include colorful stained-glass pieces in the windows, artwork or a rug. However, these items should not overpower the space. Ground out these elements with neutral-colored items to keep it modern, like in the photo above.

Moroccan Chic Neutral Colors

To keep things more minimal and modern, focus on one main pattern. Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII/Shutterstock

Choose One Pattern as a Focal Point

The Moroccan style is all about patterns and texture. However, to keep things more on the Moroccan chic and modern side, work with just one or two large-scale patterns as your focal point to keep the room looking more visually streamlined.

An example is the space in the photo above, where the defining pattern of the room is the design behind the TV. A secondary texture comes from the geometric design in the carpeting. Moroccan styles are also all about layering tons of pillows together, so feel free to do that, as well. You can use smaller, subtle designs on the pillows. Again, this photo shows how layering visual textures in neutral shades keeps the style looking more modern.

Moroccan Chic Arch Style

Arches are a major aspect of Moroccan styles, but you can incorporate them in subtle ways. Image: Richman21/Shutterstock

Architectural Details

Another huge trend in the Moroccan style is notable architectural details. For example, a recurring detail is that doorways tend to have arches for more of a cultural appeal. However, we can’t all completely remodel our doorways. A good compromise is the wall facade design in the photo above. It still gives that arched Moroccan architecture feel without having to get out the sledgehammer.

You can also incorporate similar geometry into other home accents like coffee tables, mirrors or even headboards. You’ll most commonly see the horseshoe arch in Moroccan architecture, which is a style you can find in all kinds of home goods.

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Sliding/Stackable Glass Doors Erase the Boundary Between Inside and Outdoors

Nothing brings the outside indoors like glass doors and rows of windows. They create an instant portal to the great outdoors. And with sliding glass doors and windows that are also stackable/foldable, you can maximize your indoor and outdoor spaces while increasing your entertainment options. Below are some of the ways these versatile glass doors and windows are being used today.

Natural Light/Energy Efficiency

Abundant light

There’s an abundance of natural light. Image: teng99/Getty Images

Sliding doors have extra large panes of glass and, according to Mark Liston, President of Glass Doctor, Neighborly Company, when the doors are shut, they function like floor-to-ceiling windows that allow enormous amounts of natural light to enter. “This makes your home feel grander and more inviting,” Liston explains. However, he recommends getting UV-blocking glass to prevent sunlight from heating up the house or causing any upholstery to fade.

“Glass isn’t an effective insulator, but modern window technology allows sliding doors to grant you those stunning views without forcing your utility bills up,” Liston says. “Look for composite gaskets, double-pane glass and other features designed for energy efficiency.”

View/Versatility

It’s easy to keep an eye on the kids or just enjoy the scenery. Image: Caiaimage Martin Barraud/Getty Images

“Sliding glass doors come in many sizes and configurations,” Liston explains. The possibilities are endless, so these doors and windows can be used in various spaces in the home, including the dining room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room and cabana.

Sliding glass doors and windows also allow you to take full advantage of a fantastic view. “If your home overlooks a beautiful garden, or if you just want to keep an eye on your children playing in the yard, these large glass panes provide excellent views of the outside,” Liston says.

Space Saving

Perfect view

The perfect view to enjoy the sunset. Image: Astronaut Images/Getty Images

“Because they glide open, sliding glass doors help you maximize your square footage,” Liston explains. As a result, you can place furniture close to either side of the door and these items don’t have to be moved to open or close the doors.

 Combine Indoor/Outdoor Living

Instantly transform your living and entertaining space. Image: Astronaut Images/Getty Images

When the weather is warm, these doors allow you to increase your entertaining space. “Host parties where some guests are indoors and others are outside without feeling too separate from one another,” Liston says. And fire pits can help you entertain outdoors even when the temperature drops.

Stylish

Home Aesthetic

Sliding and stackable glass doors fit any home aesthetic. Image: tulcarion/Getty Images

“The streamlined look of a sliding glass door adds an elegant aesthetic to any home,” Liston says. “It melds well with most architectural styles, especially modern designs, and offers unsurpassed functionality and practical use.”

Resale Value

Homebuyers

Increase your entertaining options. Image: ShutterWorx/Getty Images

Are these sliding, stacking doors popular with homebuyers looking for a new home? It may depend on the market. “In southern California, indoor/outdoor living has always been a selling point,” says Sandra Miller, Principal Broker and Licensed Partner at Engel & Völkers in Santa Monica.  “While the garage door trend was popular, it has been replaced by sliding walls of doors and windows,” she says. “These are easier to manipulate for the user as compared to the rollup doors and, with a much cleaner design, they also look better.”

In markets where indoor/outdoor living is a selling point, Miller believes that the presence of a sliding wall of doors or windows will probably increase resale value.

Practical

Practical and functional. Image: Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Patrick Garrett, Broker/Realtor at H&H Realty in Trussville, AL, is also located in a warm-weather climate. “I only see these style of doors in high-end luxury homes. In most cases, the doors are opening up to a pool area, a nice serene view of the ocean or a peaceful view of the mountains,” he says. “So, in the right home with the right views, they would definitely appeal to homebuyers.”

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