Building Smart: A Guide to the Right-Sized Home

Posted: January 22, 2016 at 10:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Building your new home is a significant investment. The financial cost, time commitment and environmental impact resonate with everyone. From young Millennials drawing upon their nest egg for the first time, to Boomers looking to retire in their idyllic abode, the decisions surrounding the scale of your home’s design warrant both practical and emotional considerations.

The average home size in the United States has nearly doubled in the last 60 years. Because of this, “big and bland” has become commonplace, and the end result is a largely generic home market that reflects very little of the lifestyle of today’s homebuyer.

This poses an essential question for those building a new home: “What’s right for me?”

While the answers to are (and should be) personal, there are some general principles you can use in the design process to ensure your home meets your needs and suits your sensibility.

Know Yourself.
“The best way to begin a new project is for you — the owner — to reflect on what you bring to it: knowledge, needs, desires, aspirations and personal opinions. You provide the resources to realize your expectations.” — David Haviland, American Institute of Architects

The first step to envisioning your right-sized home is a thoughtful look at what defines you. By asking yourself the following questions, you can begin shaping the spaces of your new home all on your own:

  • What is a typical day like in your current home?
  • Where do you feel the most comfortable?
  • When do you find that your needs exceed the capacity of your home? (e.g. holidays, dinner parties, sleepovers, etc.)
  • What is the one space, element or feature you cannot live without?

You should never be inhibited by the size of your home. Your physical characteristics are as important, if not more, to your design considerations. Your stature and mobility should be reflected in both the scale and layout. Consider consolidating the main rooms (owner’s suite, living room, laundry, etc.) on one floor — this is one element in ranch and cottage styles that are popular among older homebuyers. Ceiling heights should vary between rooms based on their use (think: cabinet access).

Stair runs and landings can be configured to provide a comfortable place to rest between floors. Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

Stair runs and landings can be configured to provide a comfortable place to rest between floors. Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

If You Don’t Use It, Lose It.
A quick way to hone in on the right size for your home is to eliminate spaces and design elements that are under-utilized and excessive. Is a two-story foyer, jacuzzi tub or formal living room really essential to your lifestyle? The ultimate goal should be to have no spaces that are unused, unwanted or unconsidered.

Combine. Integrate. Diversify.
No matter which word you use to describe it, finding multiple uses for everything in your home is a way to maximize functionality and character. Movable partitions, like sliding barn and pocket doors, can unify or compartmentalize spaces.

Hall Seating_Allen Kennedy Photography

Hallways are notoriously boring. Why not integrate bookshelves or bank seating to make that walk from your kitchen to your bedroom something you actually embrace? Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

Combine the functions of your office, laundry, mud room and craft room into a single space for the perfect creative and operational hub. Photo Credit: Mike Miriello Photography

Combine the functions of your office, laundry, mud room and craft room into a single space for the perfect creative and operational hub. Photo Credit: Mike Miriello Photography

Family Room Built-ins_Allen Kennedy Photography

There are also wonderful opportunities within the structure of your home to accommodate storage. Bench seating, stairs and built-ins can claim typically overlooked spaces to hold your daily essentials in a beautiful way. Photo Credit: Allen Kennedy Photography

“Right” Doesn’t Have to Mean “Small.”
While many of the design strategies for right-size living suggest consolidating, there are plenty of incentives that come from “going big” with certain elements in your home.

Sliding Doors_Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Large openings can bring the outside in, making these spaces dynamic with framed views, abundant light and natural ventilation. Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

For today’s homeowners, kitchens are often the epicenter of family life and social gatherings. A kitchen island that can accommodate seating, storage and meal preparation is going to be large! Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

For today’s homeowners, kitchens are often the epicenter of family life and social gatherings. A kitchen island that can accommodate seating, storage and meal preparation is going to be large! Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Choose Wisely.
You know what you want, but designing a home often requires decisions you may not have considered. It is important that you find the right fit with your architect and builder — a team that will help guide you through the process and take care of you along the way. This will help you make sure your next home is one that you will not want to leave!


Guest blog courtesy of W.C. Ralston Architects, an architecture and planning firm that has built an enduring reputation for design excellence in homes, neighborhoods, and communities across the Mid-Atlantic region. Learn more at

Get a Fantastic New Home Without the Wait. Don’t Miss Our Move-In-Now Supplement.

Posted: January 15, 2016 at 10:59 am by: NewHomesGuide

15Jan_BlogAre you looking for a brand new home, but you’re not looking forward to waiting through months of construction? Choosing a Move-In-Now Home means that you can get a thoughtfully upgraded, perfectly located new home in a fraction of the time it would take to build from the ground up.

Our new Move-In-Now supplement is available as part of your free New Homes Guide subscription and will help you find hundreds of immediate delivery homes from the region’s top homebuilders. With the help of the latest edition of New Homes Guide, complemented by this FREE supplement, you can see which homebuilders have immediate delivery homes available. Finding the right home that’s ready now at the right price, right location and in the right school district just got even easier.

The Move-In-Now supplement is part of the latest New Homes Guide issue, so order your FREE guide today and get moving sooner!

Showcasing the Area’s Best with Our ‘12 Days of Model Homes’

Posted: December 11, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Much like the carol that’s become a holiday favorite, our “12 Days of Model Homes” will be giving a look at one of the area’s most beautiful model homes each day for 12 days.

Beginning on Sunday, December 13, we’ll showcase a new model home from the region’s top homebuilders each day until December 24 on our Facebook page.


The Oxfordshire model at Willowsford Greens in Aldie, VA built by K. Hovnanian Homes. Image courtesy of Maxine Schnitzer Photography.

Each model home will give you a chance to get inspired for your new home and give you a look at what’s possible with New Homes Guide and the builders that are dedicated to making your dream home a reality.

Don’t miss any of our “12 Days of Model Homes” — Like New Homes Guide on Facebook today.


What Are Mid-Atlantic Home Shoppers Looking For? The Numbers Tell the Story.

Posted: October 30, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

30OctAs the region’s leading new homes resource for more than 40 years, we’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about home shoppers.

It’s constantly evolving, but the information that visitors are searching for on paints the clearest, most up-to-date picture of what’s in demand in the Mid-Atlantic.

We recently crunched the numbers for a year’s worth of online home searches. Here are some of the highlights:

Top 5 County Searches Top 5 City Searches
1. Montgomery County, MD 1. Ashburn, VA
2. Loudoun County, VA 2. Bowie, MD
3. Prince George’s County, MD 3. Stafford, VA
4. Anne Arundel County, MD 4. Chantilly, VA
5. Howard County, MD 5. Upper Marlboro, MD


Top 5 Armed Forces Searches Top 5 Amenity Searches
1. Andrews Air Force Base, MD 1. Clubhouse
2. Fort Belvoir, VA 2. Swimming Pool
3. Walter Reed National Medical Center, MD 3. Park/Open Space
4. Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA 4. Tennis Courts
5. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, MD 5. Playground


Top 5 Option Searches
1. Immediate Delivery
2. Single-Family Home
3. 3-4 Bedrooms
4. 1st Floor Master Suite
5. Planned Community


The great thing about New Homes Guide is that no matter where you’re looking or what you want in your new home, you can find it with the help of New Homes Guide. Try it out. Start your search today!

Prepare to be Inspired: Our New Interiors Supplement is Out Now

Posted: July 14, 2015 at 11:30 am by: NewHomesGuide

Your new home is an empty palette, just waiting for your special touch.Interiors 2015

Decorating is one of the most exciting parts of moving into your dream home, and it all starts with planning. The possibilities are endless. That’s why we created the New Homes Guide Interiors supplement to give you all the inspiration you need to create something beautiful.

When you order your free New Homes Guide, be sure to click on the Interiors supplement to have it delivered right to your mailbox. The 2015 edition is available now with the July/August issue of the magazine.

Interiors is a collection of the best model homes and the most stylish planned community and active adult community clubhouses in the Mid-Atlantic region. Flip through the pages and dog-ear your favorite rooms or design elements. You’ll find no shortage of inspiration.

You’ll also get an idea for which homebuilders have a style that matches your own. It just might help you find the right home and community for you.

Click here to order your free New Homes Guide and Interiors supplement today.

5 Rooms Dads Will Love in Your New Home

Posted: June 16, 2015 at 11:39 am by: NewHomesGuide

If you’re considering buying a new home, you’ll want to make sure that it’s the right design, the right floorplan for your entire family.

With Father’s Day upon us, this is a perfect time to think about what Dad wants in a new home. What are the places in a home that he truly appreciates?

We’ve recently introduced a new feature on It lets you search by room type and browse a collection of corresponding photos. When one jumps out at you, a simple click lets you find out who built that room and where you can find it.

So here are some rooms we think dads (and the rest of the family) will love:

Today’s builders are really taking basements to the next level. A well-designed recreation room can become the heart of the home and the place where the family spends quality time together.

Whether Dad works from home or he just likes to relax with a good book and a bit of quiet time, you can find a sophisticated, exquisitely designed study that he’ll love.

There’s no better place for a dad to unwind with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper than a well-lit sunroom.

If your dad likes to entertain, he’ll definitely want to include a wet bar in a new home. He can impress your guests with his ability to craft the perfect drink.

Is Dad a movie buff? Or maybe a huge sports fan? Either way, he’ll love taking in the action from a comfy spot with a large-screen television in his new media room.

Wet Bar - Drees Homes

While you’re celebrating Father’s Day this weekend, pull up and let Dad spend some time imagining the possibilities.

Your Guide to the Mid-Atlantic’s Best Beach Communities

Posted: June 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm by: NewHomesGuide

With summer upon us, our thoughts inevitably turn to sunny days and sandy beaches. But what if the beach was more than a vacation destination? What if the beach was home?

New Homes Guide can help make that a reality for you. Whether you prefer life on the Atlantic or the Chesapeake, we can help you find beautiful homes in the Mid-Atlantic’s very best beach communities.

Here are a few favorites we think you’ll like:

Millville by the Sea is a master-planned, amenity-rich beach resort community just minutes from Bethany Beach, DE. Homes by Christopher Companies and Miller & Smith range from the upper $100’s to the low $400’s. Residents enjoy neighborhood pools, fishing or paddle boating in the community lake. The new Lifestyle Center is full of fun activities and the community has its very own “Crab Shack.”

You know what’s a good day? Golf in the morning, beach in the afternoon. That could be you at Plantation Lakes in Millville, DE. This premiere golf course community features a wide selection of ranch and two-story designs by K. Hovnanian Homes, from the low to mid $200’s or townhomes from the mid $100’s and single family homes from Lennar from the mid $200’s.

On the Chesapeake’s western shore, you can live the resort lifestyle year-round at The Harbours at Solomons Island. The Calvert County, MD, community encompasses 120 acres and it’s surrounded by water on three sides. Boaters can take advantage of the deep-water marina, but there’s something for everyone, including parks, trails and a pool. Go fishing or crabbing from the pier or order up your dinner at one of the on-site restaurants. Main-level living in single-family homes and villas by Classic Community Companies starts in the low $300’s.

Enjoy all the excitement of Ocean City, MD, when you choose a new townhome by Evergreene Homes or Lennar at Seaside Village. Homes start in the high $200’s and private boat slips are available. Choose from expansive floorplan options and relish life so close to all the shopping and fun on the boardwalk. And, of course, the beach.

These are just a few ideas to kickstart your search, but you can find many more beautiful beach communities with New Homes Guide’s Featured Coastal Builders and Planned Communities. Good luck and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen.

Seaside Village

Tips for Planning Your New Backyard

Posted: May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

You’ve thought about the features that you want inside your new home. Maybe you’ve gone through a few design magazines and watched some HGTV for ideas about kitchens and color schemes. But have you thought about what you want in your new backyard?

Backyards have come a long way — from where you let the dog out and maybe kept a BBQ grill to luxurious outdoor living spaces. With the change in outdoor living trends comes a variety of modern backyard and patio options for new home buyers.

New Homes Guide can help you find the right new home with the perfect backyard for your family. As you’re planning your new outdoor living space, these resources can help you find those special touches.

Add custom features and patio furniture to create an “outdoor living room.” Plenty of seating options and serving space will make all of your guests comfortable. Better Homes and Gardens has some great tips for building your outdoor living room, like adding a fireplace.

If you’re not planning on a big backyard with your new home but still want to have some comfortable space to entertain, look at this great example from HGTV of how to plan a stylish small space for outdoor fun. Turn your condo or townhome patio into a great place to kick back and enjoy the sun this summer.

Are you ready to draw up your plan for the perfect backyard in your new home? You’ll love the resources available at Sunset, a West Coast lifestyle site. Get great ideas from garden fountains to the perfect movie lover’s backyard.

Your new home, with the outdoor living space that you want, is out there — and New Homes Guide can help you find it. Pick up the new May/June issue of New Homes Guide or get the digital version now to find out more about new homes and communities in the Mid-Atlantic. Let us help you find your new backyard today.

Explore The Beauty of Spring in a Walkable Community

Posted: April 30, 2015 at 11:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

As the weather warms up and spring brings its beauty back to the Mid-Atlantic region, going for a walk becomes a great idea.

Walking is an excellent form of exercise, a good way to meet your neighbors and helps cut down on pollution from cars. When you’re shopping for a new home, New Homes Guide can help you find some of the region’s best walkable communities.

The two factors that create the most walkable new homes communities are planning and location. When you find a well-planned community that’s near shopping, dining and other amenities, like those featured in New Homes Guide’s Planned Communities Supplement, you’ll be able to add much more walking to your lifestyle.

Planned communities are a strong choice for walkability, and most include the important elements that encourage walking. Often centered around an array of amenities like fitness centers, pools, tennis courts and community centers, these communities offer homebuyers the opportunity to find the recreation that they need without driving.

Communities that are anchored to convenient commercial districts and dining really cut down on the number of car trips that you take as well.

Choosing a community that prizes walkability and convenience means that you have a great opportunity to get in those extra steps a day that everyone’s striving for. Make New Homes Guide your companion as you look for a new home in a beautiful walkable community in Maryland, D.C., Virginia and Delaware.







Brookfield Residential’s PureBlue Concept Home Blends Modern Style and Game-Changing Efficiency

Posted: April 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm by: NewHomesGuide

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to shine a light on new developments in energy-efficient, eco-friendly homebuilding.

ColorBrookfield Residential’s new PureBlue concept home at Avendale in Northern Virginia is a showcase and an experiment, designed to test the latest efficient technologies, products and construction methods to find out how they can be incorporated into new homes for the everyday buyer.

The PureBlue Home, highlighted in New Homes Guide, has received rave reviews from home shoppers, Realtors and the media since it opened in March. To get a glimpse of how it came together, watch the PureBlue preview video and then go see this game-changing home for yourself.



The home scored an impressive -1 on the industry’s standard Home Energy Ratings System Index, meaning that it generates more energy than it consumes. And the team has received such positive feedback about the style and design of the home that it’s considering making the new floorplan available to homebuyers soon.

As for the energy-efficient features, Brookfield will continue to evaluate each of them and will incorporate the best into its portfolio of available options through its Brookfield Blue program.

Among the highlights of The PureBlue Home:

Supreme Energy Efficiency

  • Structural insulated panels (SIPs) replace stud-framed exterior walls, creating a stronger, tighter seal to bring greater efficiency and savings.
  • The hybrid hot water heater provides outstanding performance while requiring significantly less energy.
  • A high-efficiency HVAC system ensures clean, healthy air is always circulating.

Harnessing Nature’s Resources

  • Solar panels on the roof harness the sun’s energy and minimize consumption.
  • The greywater system captures and recycles household water and rainwater to minimize flooding, erosion and runoff, while reducing water usage.

Sustainable and Beautiful

  • The stunning kitchen bar top has been repurposed from a black walnut tree removed during development and fashioned by furniture artist Vicco Von Voss.
  • Eco Veneer bamboo cabinets provide a sleek, beautiful look created with strong, sustainable materials.
  • Landscaping is highlighted by native, low-water plants that are easily maintained with a drip irrigation system.

Learn more about The PureBlue Home and all of Brookfield Residential’s homes and communities in the latest New Homes Guide.



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