‘Ultimate Family Home’ solves space, interaction problems

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Every home builder is keenly interested in the opinions of potential home buyers. Many run focus groups to help them figure out what the next new thing that will translate into zillions of sales will be. But the builders never talk to the buyers' children, even though their opinions can greatly influence a purchase. Until now. Before a single line was drawn for the 2004 International Builder Show's Ultimate Family Home, the sponsors of the project–Builder and Home magazines, Los Angeles-based Pardee Homes and the Newport Beach, Calif., architecture firm Bassenian Laggoni–actively solicited the opinions of children age 8 to 16 in focus groups. To keep things grounded on terra firma, there was also a third group of parents who were not related to the kids. Some of the kids' ideas were pure fantasy–an underwater house with a garage where you could park your submarine, for example. But their main message was surprisingly succinct: Our lives are hectic and often chaoti...