IS IT TIME TO BID farewell to dramatic two-story foyers and cavernous great rooms? Some architects and builders say yes, arguing that yesterday's ostentation is giving way to a more casual and intimate kind of luxury. “Most of the projects we've done lately have involved scaling back overblown spaces that don't match the rest of the house,” says Doug Walter, a restoration architect in Denver.

Robert Davis, a partner at Houston-based builder/developer Hahnfeld Witmer Davis, agrees. High-quality materials are still imperative, he says, but consumer tastes are shifting toward floor plans that allow form to follow function. That means more of a focus on storage and on how rooms are used. “For example, the master bedroom and bath are once again becoming more normal in size, but the closets are proportionately bigger,” he says.

And the pendulum may finally be swinging away from that open kitchen/ dining/great room combo that's dominated the past decade. “Now that people are really cooking at home, they don't necessarily want the kitchen mess exposed to the rest of the house,” Davis contends.

Of course, there are two camps here. For those still enamored with the exposed kitchen concept—and there are many—appliances that look like furniture, with warm wood veneers and textured inlays, are gaining in popularity.

ON DISPLAY: Is it an appliance or is it furniture? Jenn-Air's coffee table warming drawer does double duty.
ON DISPLAY: Is it an appliance or is it furniture? Jenn-Air's coffee table warming drawer does double duty.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO.