One of ProSales' corporate cousins sells more than 27,000 house plans to builders and consumers through a number of websites and magazines. In selecting what goes into those publications, our success hinges on spotting what's getting hot in home design and then finding the plans most likely to get bought and used.
The stock plan market often reflects individual preferences, but there are some general trends you should know if you hope to better understand what your builder client's customers will want. Here are five to watch.
Bigger isn't always better, but more detailed is. The days of the McMansion are over–the average plan sold in the past year comes in at 2,390 square feet. Many new designs have been slimmed down to fit onto narrow lots. However, what these sensibly sized homes lack in area, they make up for with luxurious details such as ceiling treatments, fireplaces, built-ins, and walk-in closets. Consumers may be embracing a smaller home, but only if they can retain creature comforts.
Complex facades aren't going away. Columns, arches, and multiple gables adorn nearly all of the top-selling designs, proving that on the outside as well as the inside, smaller doesn't have to mean simpler. Stone accents are also popular, even if only on a single wall or wrapping around porch columns.
Flexible spaces anticipate long-term living solutions. Top-selling designs offer areas like lofts and basements that can be adapted to accommodate a growing family–and then turned back into storage or guest rooms later. This leaves the main level accessible to those with limited mobility, especially since many designs now offer first-floor master suites.
Open plans mean fewer walls. Great rooms are eliminating formal living rooms. Look also for family rooms that are completely open to the kitchen, and room boundaries marked by columns instead of walls.
New spaces. Mudrooms usually serve as a buffer and catch-all between the garage and the main living areas. E-spaces–dedicated computing zones usually located in the kitchen–also appear in more designs.
–Aurora Zeledon is a catalog merchandiser for Hanley Wood's house plans publications, including www.builderhouseplans.com.