How does a home live? Today’s homebuyers are looking beyond the drama of exciting standard features and glamorous options to include a focus on the elements that make a home more convenient, livable and reflective of how the owners will use the home.
Form follows function
“Through social media, television and home tours, today’s buyers are more knowledgeable than ever before, and when they visit model homes, they consider design features such as privacy, traffic flow, size and placement of windows for maximum light and popular features like large kitchen islands that help to bring family and friends together,” says Jeremy Lund, sales manager for Shodeen Homes. “Buyers want floor plans that complement and simplify their busy lives. For example, this focus on livability has led to floor plan requests for two master bedrooms in a home, in-law suites, first-floor master bedrooms and open concept floor plans. We are also seeing a resurgence in screened-in porches where buyers can enjoy the outdoors without uninvited pests,” he says.
Shodeen Homes is an award-winning builder with new home communities in Campton Hills, Elburn, Geneva, Maple Park and Sycamore as well as in the Lake Geneva region of southern Wisconsin.
Popularity of ranch plans
At Westleigh Farm in Lake Forest, North Shore Builders is offering luxury single-family homes notable for one-level living in ranch plans with spacious finished basements. Just 34 upscale single-family homes will be built on a scenic site, with 26 homes offered by North Shore Builders and eight sites set aside for design/build custom homes. Pre-grand opening prices start at $1.1 million and include a free upgraded three-car sideload garage and 25 percent off on all options up to $50,000. A grand opening is planned for September.
“We designed this community for Lake Forest and area residents who want to right-size and simplify their lives,” says Joe Balistreri, project manager for North Shore Builders. “Ranches have exploded in popularity, not only for Baby Boomers but also for families with small children who have discovered how convenient one-level living can be. These homes feature open concept floor plans and high-quality finishes plus finished lower levels that provide additional space for hobbies, entertaining and other uses. Set in a naturally beautiful 47-acre site, these homes offer efficient one-level living for daily life and plenty of additional space for more occasional uses.”
The materials used in these homes are both beautiful and easy to maintain.
“Today’s new innovations in materials enable buyers to achieve the most upscale looks while still having an easy-care home,” Balistreri says. “Flooring, tiles and many other features are more attractive and practical than ever before.”
Sleek and clean looks
The dual priorities of beauty and practicality are leading to the popularity of many features within the homes.
“Buyers are choosing clean lines and a sleek look,” says Ashley Newberg, Design Studio manager for Toll Brothers. “Open concept floor plans, well-equipped kitchens that also provide a large island gathering space for family and guests, white and gray 42-inch kitchen cabinets with crown molding, standard features, including rolling trays and trash cabinets, enhance the comfort and convenience of the home. Kitchens and baths are the rooms where buyers spend most of their ‘options’ dollars, although Toll Brothers’ kitchens are exceptionally well-equipped.”
With upscale new home communities throughout Chicagoland, Toll Brothers offers homes in Elgin at Bowes Creek Country Club, Tanglewood Hills in Batavia and The Woods of South Barrington.
“Our buyers are making choices that tend toward a more streamlined look,” Newberg says. “Freestanding tubs add character to bathrooms and are much easier to keep clean. White Carrera porcelain and chrome fixtures are popular for both their refined styling and practicality. Toll Brothers offers ‘Design Your Own Home,’ a tool that enables buyers to craft a home that expresses both their preferences and their desire for lower maintenance materials.”