Home styles don’t change quite as fast as women’s fashion. Yet, they do change. You don’t see many ’50s-style ranch homes being built today, and industry experts say the McMansion’s heyday is past. As buyers’ needs and lifestyles evolve, the layouts and looks of our houses do, too.

If you are thinking of updating your home style or building a new one, you may want to consider some of the trends for 2018 that Builder Magazine and other industry gurus have identified.


Although the open floor plan has been around for a while, experts say it isn’t going away any time soon. Increasingly new homes are combining cooking and dining into one area, eliminating the formal dining room and/or combining it with the breakfast room.  Kitchens and kitchen islands, many of which now incorporate tables or chair-height seating, have become the social center of the home. Kitchens accommodating more than one cook are the new trend. This means prep sinks and a space where two or three folks can work together.

Although some clients, worrying about odors and hoping to hide the cooking mess, are not fond of the open kitchen, this is not the norm. Cooking has become a leisure activity, complete with wine tasting and conversation. The cooks now want to be in on the action.


Remember those huge master baths with their four-person whirlpool tubs, big decks and stone steps? Say goodbye to them. And, on the opposite side of that coin, say goodbye to tub/shower combinations in the master bath. So, what is “in” for home style in 2018? Customers want clean-looking spa-like baths that may or may not have a tub. If there is a tub, it will be smaller and free-standing. The new showers are larger, many designed with no steps and not needing shower doors. And, these showers have amenities: a bench, a body spray or six, maybe a rain shower head. Double vanities are a must. If you have room, tuck in a seat in the main bath where one can sit and cool down.


Hiding clutter in homes with open layouts can be challenging. Today’s new home plans often design custom storage for specific items: electronics, food (big pantries, now termed “Costco closets”), children’s toys, etc.

Closets are great, but with today’s casual lifestyle, hooks and cubbies in the mudroom, bedrooms and baths may work even better.  A mail center in the mudroom stops papers from piling up on the kitchen countertop.

And, if you have pets, consider designing areas for them in your new home style. Pet amenities – built-in places for food and water dishes, cat litter boxes or dog-washing stations – have become more common in new homes. Some builders even go so far as to create a little doghouse in the space under the stairs – the perfect spot for a doggie bed.

As you design your spaces, consider which ones can do double duty. Can a home office also be used as a guest room? If you design it right, it can. A wall of cabinets and shelves in the great room may serve not only as an entertainment center, but also as a place to stash books, games and extra dishes.


If your elderly mom comes to live with you, or if your 20-something son bounces back home, where will you put them?

A first-floor guest room makes a great deal of sense for an elderly parent. There are innumerable design options. One example is Newport Cove’s MOONRIVER model. A ranch home with bedrooms at either end, this plan works well for multigenerational living; Mom could take over the second bedroom and even the adjacent den.

For the adult child returning home to live, spaces that provide more privacy – a finished area in a basement or a section of an upper floor – are ideal.  Newport Cove is now offering an option for its HIGHMEADOW ranch model: a studio above the garage and second bedroom. This extra space, with a separate entrance, could even be equipped with a small kitchenette. In lieu of being used as a multi-generational space, this option also could be a great home office.

There are innumerable design options for Newport Cove’s MOONRIVER model.

Do you watch the HGTV channel, especially its stars Chip and Joanna Gaines? If any duo has impacted new home style and design in America, it’s the Gaines. They have been instrumental in ringing the death knoll for formal façades – houses with stone arches and stucco, the ubiquitous colonial style.  The Gaines’ homes feature a farmhouse aesthetic in both their interior and exterior designs. It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of all new homes built in the U.S. this year will have farmhouse or rustic Craftsman style exteriors.

What is the appeal of these new styles? They blend simplicity and clean lines with a bit of nostalgia. They create a home with a relaxing feel  – casual, modern, easy-going, informal. The architecture of Newport Cove takes on these styles. We call our “look” coastal, but you will see elements of Crafstman and farmhouse in all our homes.


Those planning new homes are recognizing that the backyard has long been under-utilized square footage. In the attempt to make the backyard more useful and livable, builders are designing it to be an extension of the indoors.

Large banks of interior doors and windows now open to exterior spaces with outdoor kitchens and fire pits, even pizza ovens. But, before you design that backyard resort, set your budget.  An outdoor kitchen often can cost more than the one inside. Amenities like a swimming pool or hottub, lush landscaping, fire features and elaborate lighting can add tens and tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of your house. Even still, it’s fun to dream. . .

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