- Women dominate the purchase of new homes, but these homes are, on the whole, designed and built by men.
- Builders that use a more women-friendly design are selling more homes, according to Design Basics.
- Master-suite showers instead of baths, more convenient laundry rooms and back foyers were among the requested tweaks to traditional home layouts.
It is said that women directly purchase or have a controlling influence on 91 percent of all new home sales.
Yet most architects, engineers and homebuilders are male.
And with 15 percent of recent home buyers reported to be single females (compared with 9 percent single males) according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, homebuilders may want to try harder to appeal to women.
“That male perspective is how homes have been built,” said Kathy Dick, vice president of operations at Design Basics, a home design company based in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Omaha firm, which works nationally and internationally, did some research — including an online digital poll with 4,000 customers — and found that women’s preferences in home design were providing new solutions and opportunities for innovative, functional and modern living spaces.
The company is now taking a far more women-centric approach to designing its homes. “We were able to listen to women in the marketplace and see what they like in home design,” said Dick. “We found that builders who have used our woman-centric approach have been able to sell more homes as well as have happier buyers.” And men are enjoying the changes, too.
Design Basics has come up with several ideas — such as back foyers for homes where the garage leads into the back of the house, and a “drop zone” where all the paraphernalia that people come in with at the end of the day can be stored. The more open-plan designs being seen in contemporary new homes is a feature requested by women who would rather not be relegated to a closed-off, remote kitchen — or banished to a basement laundry rather than one that’s handy to the bedrooms.
“Floor plans are a lot more open. The kitchen, the living room, the dining room are one now,” said Carl Cuozzo, VP at Design Basics. “Storage is a big issue, so pantries have gotten larger, walk-in closets have gotten larger — and bedrooms necessarily aren’t as large anymore, they’re smaller, because the storage is removed.”
Exterior aesthetics are also important for attracting women buyers or influencers. A house has to have curb appeal before they will take a look inside.
Design Basics has shared ten design ideas it created after conducting its research talking to women.
Tubless main bedroom suite
Of all the women who participated in Design Basics online poll, 78 per cent never use the bathtub in the main bedroom suite. Said Design Basics: “Women told us: ‘I’m tired of dusting the tub,’ or ‘I feel guilty about all the water it takes to fill the soaking tub.’ And, ‘The water isn’t even hot by the time the tub’s full.’
So long as there is a tub elsewhere in the home, the preference is for over-sized showers and no bathtub in the main bath.
No more packing the suitcase on your clean bedspread. No more trying to remember where you stashed the suitcase. The travel center addresses all of these issues.
Found in the main bedroom suite walk-in closet, packing the suitcase couldn’t be easier as everything you need is conveniently within reach. You don’t have to run up or down stairs to fetch the suitcase, and it’s stored where it doesn’t need to be constantly moved out of the way.
Kitchen storage is essential, but kitchens are increasingly thought of as entertaining spaces, too. Large, work-in pantries provide storage space as well as space for food preparation and typically include a sink and dishwasher. No need to worry about guests arriving early and finding the kitchen is in a mess.
Chill ‘n’ grill
For people who love to barbecue but don’t want a full outdoor kitchen, the “chill ‘n’ grill” station is typically located just inside the door that leads out to the grilling area. It has an under-counter refrigerator, prep counter and storage for seasonings and grilling utensils.
Home designers have long focused on the front entry foyer. Yet the door leading in from the garage is used much more than the front door. The rear foyer entry deserves as much attention as the front entry foyer. And it is not a laundry room.
An amenity found in the rear foyer that liberates the kitchen from clutter. When people arrive home, it is somewhere for the keys, mail, personal electronics and homework.
The drop zone provides a place for those types of items as well as the ubiquitous kitchen “junk drawer” where the tape, scissors, ruler, stapler and batteries can live, freeing up precious kitchen storage for kitchen-related items.
The shipping vestibule offers a discreet area to place incoming or outgoing packages so that your schedule is not dependent on your shipping company.
Laundry connection to main bedroom
What could be more convenient than grabbing clothes straight out of the dryer and hanging them in your closet with just a couple of steps in between? The laundry connection also doubles as a quiet exit from the owner’s suite so sleeping spouses can lie undisturbed.
Pets are members of our households, too. Planning a new home to better address the realities of pet ownership — from kennels to feeding, washing and specialized storage — makes the home more livable and enjoyable for everyone. Also doubles as a garden center.
A pocket office is an infrequently used space for finishing work brought home. It is an area considerably smaller than a traditional den or home office, yet with all of the amenities and privacy needed to get work done efficiently.