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Photos: Courtesy Dahlin Group

Guest architect John Thatch is principal in charge of design at Dahlin Group in Pleasanton, Calif. www.dahlingroup.com

In many parts of the country—and in metropolitan areas in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, and Arizona in particular—we’re seeing changes in the marketplace. Buyers in their 20s and 30s are starting to buy, and they’re in search of homes that reflect their contemporary taste while delivering on great looks and efficient design. To figure out how best to serve these new buyers, we decided to examine our most popular house plan, but with a completely fresh eye. We kept the best elements of that popular plan—open floor plan, airy spaces, and open stairways.

We then gave the home’s traditional façade a brand-new face in the form of a bold geometric elevation. Unmistakably contemporary, the revamped architecture feels permanent and solid, too. It uses strong vertical and horizontal forms that allowed us to design in bigger windows. These, in turn, let in more light, create better views, and give way overall to a more expansive feeling—they make the same square footage live bigger and more luxuriously. The new plan also accommodates a livable deck on a tight lot, providing more outdoor living area and underscoring the upscale feeling.

We developed a cost-effective, green roof system with bold lines: a single-ply roof assembly that allowed us the freedom to design minimally sloped flat roofs. The roof slopes were achieved with wood-frame parapets, while the single-ply roof assembly uses recycled materials. Elsewhere, other sustainable building materials such as HardiePlank and OSB accent this home’s green, contemporary-looking design and help create a warm and inviting place to live. They also help keep the cost down for young, urban buyers, proving that exciting contemporary design doesn’t have to cost more.

Before

Safe House This tried-and-true home has sold really well, but a new generation of urban buyers is coming of age, and many want contemporary architecture.

Photos: Courtesy Dahlin Group

Safe House This tried-and-true home has sold really well, but a new generation of urban buyers is coming of age, and many want contemporary architecture.

  • Traditional, expected materials often don’t make a contemporary, urban statement.
  • Historically patterned and mullioned sash windows limit natural light.
  • A small deck offers limited outdoor space.
  • Classic molding and traditional detailing are good, but not contemporary.
  • The garage is very prominent in this elevation.

After

Be Bold The best elements of the old floor plan were kept, and the exterior was retooled. Green materials such as HardiePlank and OSB helped keep the costs down.

Photos: Courtesy Dahlin Group

Be Bold The best elements of the old floor plan were kept, and the exterior was retooled. Green materials such as HardiePlank and OSB helped keep the costs down.

  • Strong, geometric forms make for a design that’s both contemporary and solid-feeling.
  • Wide, sweeping windows, built with standard components, offer a modern look, better views, and more light.
  • A larger deck increases overall living space.
  • Eco-friendly materials look up to date and are cost-effective, too.
  • The garage is set back, so its impact is reduced, making for a better-integrated design.