There is a new design philosophy centered in a collaborative, well-thought-out process that brings homes to be a living part of family connectivity, well-being, and time management. Designers and builders work together to study behavior and incorporate elements to intentionally bring people together during times of the day when it’s needed and when it’s meaningful to them.
The Meritage reNEWable Living home represents a design that understands how important time is as a valuable commodity and helps the homeowners optimize time, even giving back time in every possible way. CR Herro, vice president, environmental affairs at Meritage Homes, says that all of the team's design initiatives for this concept home are centered around the value proposition of the people who will live in the home, which required a complete shift in the home's functionality. This new concept re-engages a broader family dynamic and promotes it in an emotional, credible way.
“In the past, we gave people homes and told them to figure out how to live in it,” says Stephen Moore, senior partner and director of marketing at BSB Design, the architect for the reNEWable Living Home. “We worked to create an environment that anticipates the way the buyers live. The design of the house understands human behavior.”
The home presents itself as a "system" with embedded functionality that speaks to a new family dynamic. Herro points out that this new family dynamic addresses multigenerational independent living for both older and young adults so that dignity and independence are maintained, but still allow a synergistic family dynamic to occur under one roof. Plus, there is an entire suite of technology interwoven throughout the house to act as lifestyle enhancers without changing the aesthetics to do laundry and cook dinner.
Herro says that the trick is that it needs to not feel like technology to the home buyer. When the Meritage team identifies products for the home, they focus on dynamic interaction that anticipates and responds to buyers' needs with minimal technical interaction. His hope is that the additional automation features they are including in the reNEWable Living Home add value that formerly wasn’t available.
“We want to allow buyers to not have to think to manage it,” Herro says. “It is not designed to be a technical interaction, but a support behind the scenes to enhance the lifestyle and to free time up to enjoy the lifestyle.”
Moore and his team at BSB also are thinking about technology in the design, and he pinpoints the importance of sensing technology. He says that new sensors allow home buyers to do washing and drying, cooking, and other tasks the way they want to instead of being a slave to the machine.
Herro points out that is how the concept home is helping disrupt housing. “It breaks from the path,” he says. “It doesn’t have appliances that are informed by what has been successful, but by what is best, what is possible.”
Along with technology, one of the key components of this home is multigenerational living. Herro explains that analogous to both the technology and the new family dynamic, it’s returning to a more collective society where two or more generations can coexist in the same home to enable synergies that have been lost in modern distributed urbanism. This reNEWable design concept optimizes human performance by providing new sources of childcare, new ways to educate all generations, and new ways for family members to support each other.
The balance of multigenerational design is to maintain independence and dignity and still create spaces for interaction and synergy. Each of the defined independent living areas exit into common living areas to promote family community.
“In this house, the suite for the grandmother is located in a very specific spot to interact with the family at every critical point of the day,” Moore says. “It is designed for her to pop out immediately to help with the grandchildren. That connectivity is important for the grandmother. For the Fonzie flat, the eldest son has privacy, but he’s still connected. It offers both. Human peak performance is about rejuvenation and renewal of the spirit. People like to spend time with family.”
This connectivity and family bonding is especially important with international buyers that proliferate the Orlando market.
The reNEWable Living Home implies that families will be healthier, and their living space will be serene, rejuvenating, and conducive to living. The house thinks of everything, from being able to ensure family safety to not having to get up and walk around to turn off all the lights. For ongoing news about the home, visit www.builderonline.com/renewable.