Welcome to our architectural review newsletter. This up-close look behind the scenes and the mind of Harry Gandy Howle reflects how each finished home is a project of energy and enthusiasm that represents an intense level of attention to details.
With people taking refuge in their homes for the past year, traveling less, and having more time on their hands to survey the functionality of every room in their home, they discovered a newfound appreciation for classic architectural details. The details that create the comforts and peacefulness of “home sweet home.” Projects that had been on homeowners’ to-do lists suddenly took top priority. However, new trends didn’t emerge. Architectural features like outdoor living areas, grand entrances, the oft-forgotten dining room, creative cocktail bars, and home offices were simply re-discovered. And the party is just getting started.
For about a decade or more, we’ve witnessed clients requesting transitional living spaces. Big open spaces, the loss of a formal dining room, and seamless transitions within the main living area where family and friends can congregate. While our firm has indulged our clients with stunning transitional architectural designs, I am personally delighted to see a resurgence of the classics. I’m not talking about chambered dark rooms, but the desire for cozy dining rooms where guests can linger over dinner, intimate cocktail bars in surprising places, large butler pantries to help declutter the kitchen, and creative home offices that might be directly off the master bedroom or just steps from the main house that also doubles as a guest house.
You might recall the issue of HGH REVIEW last year titled Outdoor Living where we explored the history of pandemics and how they influenced American architecture. In the early 20th century, solariums rose to popularity for their health benefits and by the 1930’s and 40’s, screened porches reigned supreme. We then saw outdoor kitchens and living spaces in our coastal area gain popularity in the 1990’s. Other regions of the country are now experiencing a similar resurgence for screened-in porches. A recent article in Veranda magazine cited New York designer Everick Brown, who had a dozen requests this year for screened-in porches. “It’s satisfying because this particular room connects many of us to our history. It conjures images of sitting on porches and engaging in conversation with neighbors,” Brown said.
While transitional designs gained popularity over the last 10 years and offered homeowners communal living spaces, we are seeing a nod toward more classical architectural designs again. I know from experience and years of studying the classics, which I happen to love, that homeowners will gravitate back to the more traditional. It’s not only comforting to them, but logical for today’s lifestyles. The traditional designs will have a few updated features and will be conducive for working or entertaining from home.
If the recent International Furniture Market in High Point, NC is any indication, kitchens are undergoing a similar transformation. Sleek white kitchens that have dominated the market for the last two decades are giving way to more organic materials like natural wood cabinetry, rustic farmhouse-style kitchen tables, natural stone marble, and even darker colors are warming up the rooms where we cook, connect, and gather.
Without a doubt, outdoor living rooms, kitchens and pool spa areas are here to stay for the foreseeable future. These areas are growing in popularity and becoming much more sophisticated. The recent pandemic ensured these architectural features still have a place in our homes and lifestyles. We recently had the honor of designing a waterfront home that is the ideal example of how indoor living rooms are literally transforming the great outdoors. The infinity pool design alone was a sophisticated mix of tile colors, various deck levels, and a convenient swim-up bar. The automatic pool cover was also an engineering challenge to make it fit securely and seamlessly along the infinity edge. James Stein, my associate, had been told this was impossible by several pool manufacturers. Let’s just say, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
The outdoor kitchen with its pitched stained ceiling of tongue and groove cypress, large fireplace and entertainment area rivals any luxury resort – including breathtaking waterfront sunsets.
Harry Gandy Howle Architect & Associates agrees with the findings and sentiment of a recent article in Veranda, titled: Here's What the Future of the American House Looks Like Read the full article here