Real Estate

Rooms we love: Today's use of personal space

Posted May 15, 2013

By Barbara Hobbs
For New Homes & Ideas, Jodi Sauerbier, Publisher

New Homes & Ideas

For current home buyers, the availability of specialized rooms is icing on the cake and can be the deciding factor in home purchases. Home designs now often include space dedicated to home offices, media rooms, craft rooms, playrooms, "man caves," exercise rooms and even art or music studios. Builders show options for basement/lower level areas, bonus rooms, sun rooms or flex space that give home buyers optimal choices for their family’s needs. For the homeowner, these spaces are special retreats that make significant differences in their everyday life, rooms they love to spend time in.

Home offices go from nice to necessary

Home workspace has become the norm as more and more people either work in home-based businesses or participate in teleworking opportunities presented by corporations. Forrester Research, a technology and market research company, predicts that the number of people who work from home will grow to approximately 63 million people by the year 2016. The advancements in technology provide sophisticated Wi-Fi systems for the home, telephones that do far more than provide communication, and laptop computers that can interact with other individuals working away from the office as well as with their corporate employer.

home workspace

Even on the non-professional level home offices are great spaces where moms can take care of home records and bill paying as well as where their kids can work on homework or school projects, especially those requiring the use of a computer.

"One of our most popular flex spaces," says Tim Lantz, marketing manager for Pulte Homes, “is an office area located off the living area and near the kitchen when busy moms can watch the kids at work while preparing supper. Built-in cabinets and a desk make the space perfect for kids or their parents to work on school or professional tasks while still staying in the midst of family life.”

Peace, pleasure and panorama

Sun rooms have been the most popular personal space renovation or addition according to Terri Pullen, sales and business operations manager of Pullen Construction.

"Typically people want to have a place where they can connect to nature without being pestered by flying insects, direct noise pollution or inclement weather," said Pullen.

With an abundance of windows, a ceiling fan, soothing décor, even a cozy fireplace, a bright sunny retreat overlooking a pool or garden area allows the homeowner to enjoy the outdoors in climate-controlled comfort, and also provides a relaxing, inviting atmosphere for reading, dining or entertaining.

A man has to have his cave

Whether it’s a media room, game room or garage workshop, a guy wants some space to do his thing. Media rooms are a favorite retreat for men as well as a great gathering place for family and friends. Leather theater-style seats make for long movie viewing in comfort. Add a kitchenette/snack bar with fridge, microwave and sink, subtle lighting, surround sound, a high tech remote (what man doesn’t salivate over a remote?) to control lighting, sound and the film, and you’ve got heaven on earth. Add décor that’s especially appealing to the homeowner (favorite era, collegiate team, pro sports) and acoustical panels to control the level of interference with life in the rest of the house, and you’ve got a winner.

A woman wants a cave, too

Women are not immune to the desire to have space of their own for hobbies like sewing, crafting, painting, or exercise. Not only do they gain specific storage and workspace for their projects, but they can shut it off from family distractions or invasions.

"Our use of flex space and entertainment areas throughout our homes appeals to so many buyers currently in the market," said Anna Wilson, Marketing Manager of Ashton Woods Homes, "and allows buyers to further personalize their homes to create spaces that appeal to their needs."

Their 8x10 yoga room located off the master bedroom in their Leesville Crest model is very popular. It has hardwood flooring, wiring for speakers, floor-to-ceiling mirror, ceiling fan, and TV for instructional videos. A transom tops double French doors leading into the master bedroom. This peaceful retreat can be dedicated to any special interest, just the kind of space a woman needs for herself!

flex space

Personal space can be for new family needs

For one homeowner personal space was required when they made the decision to move his in-laws into their home. To accommodate his elderly parents and to give them privacy, a new detached garage was built with an apartment above. With beautiful finishes throughout, this private residence is complete with kitchen, bath, bedroom and open living space with fireplace as well as an elevator for access.

"This type of project is typically requested by middle-aged people looking for some space for their aging parents," said Elliot Kanarek, president of EMK Construction, Inc. "Their decision to build this addition was influenced by the rising costs of senior living, but also was a wonderful option for the convenience of all the family members."

These retirees are really going to enjoy having their own space while being able to enjoy the daily life of their loved ones.

personal space

Long-term view of personal spaces

These personal areas are important parts of your home environment, rooms you will truly love. Whether it’s an area for work, play or entertaining, they make your home really special for you and your family. But keep in mind, whether you adapt a bedroom, bonus room or basement or plan a well thought-out addition or remodel project, consider not only the importance the personal space will have for your family, but also the increased value these spaces will give to the home. How much bang for the buck will you get? Or could you possibly be lowering the value of the home as the personal space is too specific to one family’s needs? Long term value is as significant as the short term. Be sure the rooms you love will be loved by others as well.

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