Around 2006, I as was judging the SoCal Awards and was struck by some new product created by The New Home Company. The New Home Company was truly “new” at the time, as a collaboration of talent from a recession-beaten, long-time SoCal builder came together under a new banner.
What I loved about their product was the way they were always innovating to reach out to new markets. Southern California always has attracted immigrants from all over the world, so it was not unusual for the local builders to design homes with cultural sensitivities at the forefront. My favorite neighborhood featured a variety of living options for close-knit and extended families.
At the more simple side was a small “apartment”, with living room, bath, and small kitchen. This suite has a private entrance as well as a connection to the larger home. The target market was “older parents” who wanted to live close to family members or returning young adults who were slow to launch.
The next step up from this initial level of multi-gen living is the separate “cottage” or “carriage house” with similar amenities. The detached buildings kept families close and connected, but with a little more privacy since they are not under the “same roof”.
My favorite on the tour of New Home Company product were two adjacent homes, both expansive, elegant (about $1 Million + each) and had graceful transitions to very usable outdoor living areas. These outdoor living areas were also the connection from one home to the next. The target for these homes were siblings raising families or parents and their adult kids who each wanted a separate family home but love the idea of being close.
Now The New Home Company is marketing entire neighborhoods with a full range of options. It’s worth checking out. Click here.
Now, ten years later we see a similar philosophy marketed in the Northwest by Lennar Homes. They have introduced their “Next Gen” home incorporating many of the ideas made successful by The New Home Company. The encouraging thing about the Lennar approach is they do not build high-end in the Seattle market, so these extended generation homes are pretty affordable. Read about it here. These innovations are important as our society changes. As parents age. As immigrants wanting family unity come into our market. And as sometimes older adults would like to have someone else with whom to share the homeowner expenses.
What innovations have you seen lately in the new home industry?