By TOM KAPLAN, Associated Press DESERT COAST, Calif.
(AP) With their big windows and open spaces, people at the Rancho Tejas resort in northern California are not just enjoying the view.
They’re also experiencing an incredible sensation.
A new home-shaped effect.
A wave of new homes are taking shape around the country as developers are looking for ways to use the newest technology to make homes feel like they belong in their neighborhoods.
The phenomenon has been described by some as a new form of “infotainment.”
For now, though, it’s only been seen on the real estate market, not the homes themselves.
While some of the new home designs are quirky, they don’t have to be, said Laura Johnson, a home designer at New York’s M.F.K. Design.
They just need to be interesting enough to stand out.
Johnson is one of many designers who have been experimenting with the new form for years.
Some of the latest innovations are already showing up in new homes.
In the Bay Area, a San Francisco developer has put a new home in the middle of a parking lot and attached a large solar panel to the roof.
In a new building in the heart of Chicago, a company called ZWAP designed a house that’s built in a “pale yellow brick.”
It’s meant to feel like the homes of a community.
In many ways, the trend is a natural outgrowth of the way we’re living.
The average American is surrounded by so much data and information about the world, Johnson said, it can feel overwhelming.
Some people have taken to designing their own personalized homes that will be more personalized to them, she said.
Others are experimenting with new forms of home decor, like a light-filled “living room” at the University of California, Davis.
The trend has been dubbed “home-designing” and is gaining traction across the country, including in Los Angeles, where some builders are starting to use it as a way to make their homes more unique.
Many of the projects are also starting to catch on in cities like Seattle and San Francisco, where designers are putting their own spin on familiar styles.
In California, there are many types of new designs that can be built using materials and technologies that can blend seamlessly into traditional home designs.
The newest home-designers are turning to this kind of innovation.
But the effect can be deceiving.
Some new home ideas feel like “hot tubs,” said John Zagat, a professor of urban design at UC Davis.
“If you put a huge, big tub on the roof, you’re going to get a lot of heat coming off of it,” he said.
In fact, Johnson’s office at New Yorker has a pool of cool water on the floor that’s so hot that it’s causing the air conditioning unit to malfunction.
Even the best of the newer homes that are gaining traction in cities are not necessarily perfect, Zagot said.
Some can be too large, while others are too small.
For the first time, many of the homes are getting a lot more attention from people, and the media, than they were in years past, Johnson and Zagato said.
Still, Johnson doesn’t think the home-shape effect is over yet.
She has more designs in mind, including a new structure that is designed to look like a space ship and that could even be built into the wall of a building.
The next big innovation in homes will be the “micro-home,” a home with a footprint of 10 square feet or less.
It’s like an “interior garden,” Johnson said.
The micro-home could be built from materials that are easily accessible by small children, and it could also have a large window.
The micro-house will have a similar look to the old-fashioned “furniture box,” Johnson’s design team said in a press release.
The company is working on plans for an indoor mini-home.
This next wave of home-style innovations could mean a lot for older people, Johnson added.
People are moving out of their homes because they can’t afford to live in them anymore.
These kinds of designs can help people stay connected with their communities and keep the peace, said Zagatos’ wife, Julie.