I've spent quite a bit of time this weekend looking at house floorplans. We think we'd like to have a newer house that was built in the last 10 years or an upgraded older house. So I thought I'd take a look at some of the floorplans that the builders have been offering in the last few years.
There are recent house floorplan trends that I don't love: putting the family room on the second floor near the bedrooms, for example. It seems to me that unless the family spends time in the same room reading, an open family room near the bedrooms is going to be noisy. Plus, it might be awkward to hang out in the family room if people are in their PJs.
Another trend I'm not in love with is to put a small, open room right off of the kitchen. This isn't a dining room or a breakfast nook and the area is totally open to the kitchen which creates a weird sort of space. I think this is supposed to be the family room but the "feel" of the room is so different from the kitchen that it doesn't really work so well.
I think these "features" have been developed because lots are getting narrower - I've seen 28' and 35' wide lots, which is quite narrow - and the double garage takes up a bunch of that lot width. The kitchen and dining area pretty well have to be on the main floor and there's usually a great room or living room there as well, so that you can entertain company, I guess. So the family room goes upstairs or in an alcove near the kitchen.
I do like that the kitchen is so much bigger in newer houses, and that most plans have a breakfast nook near the kitchen. The two-story great room is kind of cool, too, and not only because a person could juggle five clubs there. Of course I also love the luxury master bedrooms that many of these plans have, with a lovely ensuite including a fantastic tub, walk-in closets, and a sitting area.
Some of these features are available in older homes but those homes don't always have the more open-concept that we like for the other living areas on the main floor. Plus we want something that has a new sort of aesthetic with respect to the doors, knobs, and windows. We'd also like to have a finished basement, which is something some newer homes don't have. We're kind of lazy and don't have time to really to do the work to make an older home right for us.