A Chicago Architect’s 5 Hot Residential Architecture Trends for 2018
By Fred Wilson, Award-Winning Chicago Achitect
2018 promises to usher in some of the most exciting new residential architectural trends I’ve seen in a long time - ideas that are literally going to change the way we live in our homes. Here’s what’s going to the Morgante-Wilson team sees as the 5 hot trends for 2018:
1. The Introduction of Tesla Solar Roofs
First, Tesla brought electric cars to the mass market. They’re about to do the same with residential solar roof tiles. These ingenious glass tiles turn sunlight into the energy needed to power a house. Best of all, they come in four different styles to integrate seamlessly with your roof. Whether textured to look like asphalt, Tuscan to mimic clay tile, slate, or smooth, Tesla solar roof tiles are predicted to be cheaper than the glass solar panels available on the market today. And because they blend into your roof, they’re a lot more attractive. At Morgante Wilson, about 75 percent of our clients are already aware of – and are asking for – these tiles on their new homes. By Tesla’s own estimates, we should be able to start planning Tesla roof tiles into the homes we design in 2018 and actually begin building with them two or three years from now. In fact, two of our clients have already placed orders for them. The future is coming, folks – and it’s super exciting!
2. Mini Split Systems for HVAC
Common in Europe but only just now entering our consciousness in the United States, split HVAC systems are poised to revolutionize how we heat and cool our homes. At MWA, we’re already doing a couple of new houses with them, and I can personally tell you they are fantastic. And so smart, when you think about it. Instead of running ducts all over your house to transport conditioned air, split systems allow you to create individual heating and cooling zones in each room. They’re quiet and clean since they don’t rely on dust-spewing ducts. And they’re energy- and cost-efficient, since they’re activated by motion sensors. Walk in a room and they turn on, bringing that room’s temperature right where you want it in about five minutes. Walk out, and they shut off, saving energy and money in the process. Needless to say, if you’re thinking about incorporating a split HVAC system in your house you’ve got to make sure you’re working with people who really understand them. Like, ahem, Morgante Wilson!
3. Smaller Homes with Larger Rooms
This is another trend we see gaining steam, and I can tell you again from personal experience it’s a really smart one. In fact, the home Elissa and I recently built for ourselves is a perfect example. Our entire first floor is basically comprised of three rooms: a living area, a kitchen, and a multi-function sitting/dining/office space that allows us to work from home or to seat thirty people for a holiday dinner, all in the same space. The flexibility provided by a floor plan like ours makes a house unbelievably easy to live, work, and entertain in, which is why it’s becoming increasingly popular among our clients.
4. Smaller Homes with Nicer Finishes
It makes sense, when you think about it. It’s easier to afford high-end finishes such as wide plank floors, walls of stone, large expanses of windows, or Venetian plaster when the scale of a house is smaller, rather than larger. At Morgante Wilson, a fair number of our clients are specifying new homes in the 4,000 square foot range, down from a 7,000 square foot average just a couple of years ago. As those homes get smaller, materials become higher quality. Painted drywall, as one example, is becoming less common in the houses we’re doing. Instead, we’re texturing walls with plaster, covering them in natural stone, or replacing them altogether with floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a nice shift. (Of course, we also have clients who are surging into mega-sized homes, too, but that’s a different conversation for another day – or in my case, another blog post!)
5. More Four-Season Rooms
Screen porches are nice; four season porches are better. All it takes is porch design that allows for screens in warm weather and glass storm windows in cooler seasons, plus heated floors and a fireplace. Even on Chicago’s North Shore, where winter’s chill seems to last forever, we’re doing a ton of four-season rooms because they offer the best of both worlds: a true, screen porch experience in summer and completely comfortable, usable living space the rest of the year. Again, it goes back to the notion of flexibility. People have come to realize there is no point in having rooms – or even porches – that sit empty, or can only be used for one purpose.
At Morgante Wilson, we’re always ready to push the envelope on exciting, livable architecture. Give us a call if you’d like to hear more!
Fred Wilson, AIA
Read our other posts related to residential architecture from award-winning Chicago Architects, Morgante-Wilson:
Morgante-Wilson Architects provides Residential Architecture and Interior Design Services in Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Northbrook, Deerfield, Northfield, and Ravinia