Modern homeowners of today are seeking something different. Gone are the days when four walls and a roof were enough. Instead, folks like you are searching for home designs that are more harmonious, more efficient, and, crucially, more integrated.
Integrated home design has emerged as the gold standard in home design. However, only a few national home builders are adopting these groundbreaking principles into their properties, leaving the concept relatively unknown.
So, let’s delve into what integrated design means in the context of a home and how it’s implemented into every aspect of a home.
What is Integrated Home Design?
In short, integrated design is a philosophy that “integrates” the physical building with all touchpoints to provide the homeowner with the best possible living experience. It’s a much more holistic view of the home design and building process and revolves around the following core tenets:
- Functional Integration
- Technological Integration
- Aesthetic Integration
- Environmental Integration
- Community Integration
Each element provides an enhanced living experience, so it’s worth dedicating time to each individually, starting with functional integration.
At its core, functional integration is about delivering more functionality without necessarily increasing available space. It’s about getting rid of rigid room definitions and instead looking at designing and building spaces that can better meet the multifaceted needs of inhabitants.
From living areas as dining rooms and playrooms to a home office that moonlights as a bedroom, functional integration aims to deliver superior flexibility, adaptability, and versatility.
This often results in more open-plan layouts at the design level, with rooms quickly transforming from one function to another with just a few tweaks.
Technology is already a permanent fixture of our daily lives. However, until recently, it wasn’t necessarily a part of our homes. It merely existed within homes rather than forming part of it. Integrated design aims to change that.
It’s about harnessing what’s best about technology to enhance comfort, convenience, and efficiency. Think smart thermostats that automatically set your heating and cooling based on your previous behaviors, security systems you can monitor from the other side, and lighting you can control with your smart speaker.
These are just a few examples of smart integrated tech. With the imminent arrival of innovations via the Internet of Things (IoT), soon your refrigerator will be able to populate grocery shopping lists based on the inventory within. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!
While aesthetics can always seem a little nebulous, aesthetic integration is best described as promoting cohesiveness in the aesthetics of a home. Rather than having disparate elements and distinctive design ‘areas’ of a home, a unified design language defines an integrated home design.
Palettes will flow nicely from the master en-suite to the corner of the living room, with each room flowing seamlessly to the next. But it’s far more than merely deciding on a house-wide color scheme. Your furniture has a part to play, as does your fixtures.
Materials are also crucial. For instance, wood may be more appropriate for kitchen countertops in some homes, whereas granite might be the only logical choice in others. In contrast to before, every single element has to be considered from a cohesion standpoint.
Integrated design signals the end of stark contrasts or bold, stand-out features that would only work in specific areas of the home. Instead, all décor items must fit together like threads in a grand tapestry or pieces in a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.
Sustainability continues to be top of mind for many of us, and that’s driven a change toward more environmentally friendly home design and construction.
Today, there’s a renewed focus on creating homes that blend with and do little to disturb nature. It’s more than placing solar panels on the roof and calling a home ‘green.’ It’s about ensuring it interferes as little as possible with the immediate surroundings to preserve natural habitats as much as possible.
On the inside, integrated homes are designed to rely on energy as little as possible, with passive solar design helping warm the house, solar panels providing 100% renewable energy, and some new home communities are even being designed to share a central geothermal central heating and cooling system to provide Net Zero living potential.
Firms like Terrata Homes are leading the way in this endeavor, and it’s sure to become a feature of more new construction homes as we move through the 2020s.
A massive trend seen across the new homes is the rise in the importance of community integration. Buyers are no longer just looking for a home. They desire a lifestyle. A sense of belonging can only be delivered through creating a vibrant and interconnected community.
So, how is this achieved in reality? Successful approaches include creating shared green spaces, parks, and central social hubs like multipurpose clubhouses. Places like children’s playgrounds and fitness suites become hubs of activity and bonding, developing a sense of community and unity.
With a much greater chance of bumping into others spontaneously, community integration is much easier to achieve. It’s no longer each to their own. With shared walking trails and even community swimming pools and splash parks, there are a myriad of opportunities for homeowners to interact and develop lasting friendships.
Integrated Design Will Grow and Have a Lasting Impact
Integrated design is undoubtedly more than a fleeting trend. Instead, it represents the general direction of travel within home design and construction. And while not elements might feature prominently yet, they soon will.
The integrated design encapsulates what modern homebuyers want, from flexible interior spaces to leveraging technology and nature to deliver a supreme living experience.
As mentioned, some new home builders, such as Terrata Homes, have already designed their homes and communities in this way, and it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit. Soon, homes will be not just places to live but spaces that reflect our lifestyle goals and ideals.
So, while integrated design only gets off the ground, it will soon define a whole generation of homes.