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Modern House Plans: Distinguishing Characteristics

Modern. Cape Cod. Colonial. Farmhouse. Victorian. Greek Revival. The list goes on. You’ve heard the names, but you may not be entirely clear on what they each mean when it comes to home design. When you’re in the market for a new place to live, it can help to understand the lingo. This article outlines the things that set modern house plans apart.

When it comes to modern home plans things can get confusing right from the outset. After all, someone could be using modern to refer to contemporary while another person might mean the midcentury modern style. The midcentury modern design aesthetic draws from the post-war boom years from1945 to 1969 in the U.S. Contemporary modern house plans are the current style. Though, just to complicate things further, they will often draw on midcentury modern styles too.

So, what do we mean when we’re talking about modern house plans? Here are the key features we’d expect to see.

Clean, simple lines.

You might even be tempted to call the architecture sleek when it comes to a modern home. These contemporary homes are built to make a strong first impression even when you’re pulling up to the drive. You might see flat rooflines for added curb appeal impact.

Inside, you can expect the focus on simple lines to continue. Gone are the arches, columns, and excessive ornamentation. These designs aim for minimal clutter. You’re more likely to see geometric patterns used to add flourishes. The homes are intended to encourage a sense of calm. It’s the Marie Kondo “sparks joy” perspective on serene spaces played out on the larger architectural scale.

Open spaces.

You’re saved the effort of determining if that’s a load-bearing wall and having a contractor come in to demolish walls to “open up the space.” The modern house floor plan is an open one with attention paid to uninterrupted flow between spaces. You’re also likely to see high (perhaps vaulted) ceilings. The kitchen often becomes a focal point as these homes are designed with ease of entertaining in mind.

The modern floor plan also utilizes all your square footage more efficiently. Those open spaces are more functional. That can help your real estate value too. Finally, the open floor plan lets you benefit more fully from the natural light element discussed next.

Natural light.

You’re likely to see plenty of windows in a modern house plan. Even a compact floor plan can feel more spacious with an abundance of natural light. These windows add to the exterior appeal while promoting a happier, healthier family life indoors too.

Plus, since you’re getting the advantage of contemporary construction standards, you can expect those windows to be energy efficient too. At the same time, modern house plans offer more energy-efficient doors and appliances. There’s also a greater emphasis on recycled building materials, water conservation, and utilizing renewable energy.

Neutral colors & natural textures.

If you want a purple house, you’re more likely interested in one of the Victorian “painted ladies.” Modern house plans are much more neutral on the exterior, though you may see a pop of color in the interior. That focal kitchen is a great place for that color (e.g. in the tiles or cabinetry). Overall though, you’d expect neutral palettes throughout the house (again with soothing serenity in mind). Coupling the neutral palette with all the natural light and open space creates an opportunity for stunning choices.

If you’ve ever seen Joanna Gaines at work, you have a good idea of what we mean by natural textures. The Magnolia Homes magnate, best known from HGTV’s Fixer Upper, is a big fan of shiplap (exposed or not). Or she might use a white oak wall treatment or wooden doors to add natural texture. If you’ve got an empty corner in a modern house, she recommends a fiddle leaf fig for height and, yes, natural texture.

Connection to outdoor space.

Of course, the best place to find natural texture is outside. There’s also the natural light and a continued area for entertaining too. So, it only makes sense that modern house plans embrace multi-functional outdoor spaces. Sliding doors extend the living space out to the patio. The downstairs owner’s suite might also have its own direct indoor/outdoor connection. The modern architectural idea is to blend the house more seamlessly with the natural environment. Open air covered porches, expansive patios, fireplaces, and landscaped gardens also get attention in the contemporary home design.

If you’re looking for a modern floor plan, Saussy Burbank can help. We’ve been developing new homes in the Carolinas since 1989. Our innovative approach to design combines the modern, open style with architectural choices that reflect the history and character of the region.

Saussy Burbank

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