I have a friend that works in the architectural design field. He designs high end homes for people all over the state of California and sometimes even exporting his designs out to other companies that work all around the country. I met him early one morning at Gold’s Gym in Pasadena, where I currently live. I was bench pressing alone (bad idea, I know) and tried to press more weight than I could handle. He happened to be paying attention out of the corner of his eye enough to be able to come to my aid in my time of great need and embarrassment. After he saved me from being squished by the bar, we got to talking. He told me all about his design career and how the market was really taking off in Pasadena. He showed me a few pictures of the houses that he designed and I was absolutely blown away. I was interested in modern design style before, but this really got my mind going.
Less Is More / The Minimalism Trend
One of the most appealing aspects of modern home design to me is the philosophy of “less is more”. (All of this ties in very nicely with the ‘minimalism’ theme as well.) This mantra manifests itself as clean lines, open spaces, and a design that brings the attention back from the structure of the building itself. A feat such as that can be accomplished by a careful selection of materials and an even more careful application of those materials. Concrete countertops are a great example of this clean approach. Concrete can offer a variety of different benefits. It’s less expensive than almost any alternative hard surface, extremely durable, and can be finished in a way that is very clean looking. In fact, there are many cases where it’s actually possible for a novice to do the job herself, potentially saving thousands of dollars in the process.
Kitchen Storage with Nothing to Hide
Continuing on with the theme of minimalism, I certainly appreciate design efforts that are directed at keeping the amount of physical goods in the house as low as possible. This is definitely not to suggest that storage space isn’t a must, while it most certainly is. It’s easier to explain this concept with an example. You will find that many modern home designs feature shelving where there would normally be cabinets. I’m already anticipating the eye rolling of many readers as I’m typing this. You’ll have to hear me out on this. Cabinet space is a must, but there is some benefit to having shelving where you plates, bowls, and the like are to be kept. This type of storage solution will help homeowners focus on taking good care of the essentials and getting rid of the extraneous items that really don’t need to be held onto. There’s nothing wrong with having one nice set of bowls and one nice set of plates. I’m sure that a good number of you have an eclectic collection of bowls, plates, and cups with no theme encompassing them whatsoever (just as I once did). Another side benefit of this storage method is that this makes things much more accessible for your guests. However, you will find that getting your unused items dusty is a new issue to deal with. We have to take the good with the bad – never forget that!
Open House, Open Mind
One of my most prominent memories from my early childhood is the smell of my mother cooking Churros Con Chocolate. My brother and I were playing in the living room while the smell came wafting around the corner. Our kitchen growing up was a very small room. The kids were usually forbidden from being in the kitchen while our mother was cooking. This was to keep us out of harms way and to keep us from driving mom insane! Now that my mother has passed away, it really bothers me that I didn’t spend more in the kitchen with her. Even if only to watch her make those delicious churros.
What I’m getting at here with my Churros Con Chocolate memory is that it’s good to have your family and friends all together. It’s a shame that my mother spent so much time and effort making her family delicious meals and yet she spent a lot of time being excluded because of it. The relatively modern trend of the “open concept” home is something that I enjoy on a daily basis with my own family. It’s hard to overstate the benefits of having a floor plan with little to no barriers between the main living area and the kitchen. Not only does this help keep the family close together while the kids are lounging in the living room while my wife and I area preparing dinner and getting a little bit of personal time.
Not only do open concept homes help keep families closer together, but they’re also excellent for entertaining guests. It’s a lot easier to keep the party going when you can have a conversation with you guests and prepare snacks and refreshments at the same time. I’m sure you’ve heard before that people tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when there are guests. It’s a comfortable common area that is much enhanced when it’s connected with the living room. I’m happy that I’m fortunate enough to live in a home that facilitates this type of lifestyle.