2013 home interiors: More form and function in less space

Real Estate,Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

After two decades of supersize houses and a race to keep up with the Joneses, home interiors in 2013 will be more about efficiency, personalization and coziness.

The desire for more personal, intimate spaces grew from the age of customization. With video on demand, smartphone applications for thermostats, in-house latte and soda machines, it is only natural people would want homes that reflect their lifestyle and personality.

"Clients are also becoming more educated with the quality of design and function," said David Benton, an architect with Rill Architects. "Clients focus on how they live and want a customized home unique for them. Home quality outweighs home quantity."

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What began as a movement with the Sarah Susanka book series "Not So Big House" has evolved into a mantra and influenced style. People want to pack smaller spaces with big luxury.

The formal dining room is being transformed into a hybrid dining room or study. Benton said libraries are replacing living rooms, as well.

"The traditional living room is becoming smaller or has been replaced by the study or library," Benton said. "Rooms that were only used occasionally or were for show, like the living or dining rooms, are now multifunctional spaces."

And these spaces are being designed to suit the homeowner, not the neighbor or future owner.

"Even the clients who intend to stay in their home for 10 or 20 years or more are conscious that their home is not the ATM it was in the mid-2000s," said Michael Sauri, president of TriVistaUSA, a design and build company. "Our clients allow themselves to make choices they want to live in, and don't often worry about resale regarding colors, tile choices, fixtures or even cabinets."

This includes venturing into more contemporary styles and cutting-edge design. "Clients have definitely become more aware of good design and are especially more open to contemporary design," Benton said. "In the past, traditional architecture has been the go-to design of choice in D.C. Now clients are more comfortable with contemporary design not only with the interior layout but also the exterior. Large expanses of glass and open interiors will continue to grow in popularity for 2013."

One trend popping up in more area homes is the floating bathroom basin, like ones offered at Boffi in Georgetown. Mounted on the walls with no exposed plumping, these basins are as efficient as they are aesthetically pleasing.

The master bedroom is getting smaller and is part of a trend Benton called "right sizing," a departure from massive owner's suites.

"Another area of the home that is tightening up is the master bath. We are seeing more requests for the master bath as a functional and comfortable space; not one to hang out in," he said. "We are seeing fewer requests for the huge soaking tub. Instead a generous shower has become the bathroom indulgence."

A fan of the "Not So Big House" movement, Sauri sees more clients rethinking expansive spaces and "bonus" rooms.

"Let's take the space you have and make it beautiful and functional," Sauri said. "Like a gorgeous, useful jewel box."

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