Space

Tuesday Mar 07th, 2017

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Good riddance long, dark, narrow hallways. Good-bye formal living room. Hello bright, airy space designed for today's homeowner. To see what the next generation is looking for in a family home, stop by The Forest by National Homes, now open for viewing in Bradford, Ontario. "The one thing we wanted to do in Bradford is to get out there and really present some forward-thinking designs," says Wayne Cassidy, principle, Cassidy & Co., which has worked with National Homes for two decades. Step inside one of the models and rooms feel larger than they are. That's because space normally designated for passageways and corridors is redirected towards open concept rooms, ceilings are higher and there's more emphasis on flow. "Through the '60s, '70s and '80s we loved our halls. We had these three- and four-foot spaces that went on forever, and we all walked through the house in single file," reflects Cassidy. "They serve no purpose, so take them out and add that space to your rooms." To bring in more natural light, windows are wider and higher, and sliding doors are eight feet wide versus five feet where possible. When you head downstairs you arrive at or near the kitchen, a functional change that makes perfect sense. When you arrive home with a carload of groceries, you enter a generous mud room. Formal living rooms are "de-emphasized and in some cases eliminated," adds Cassidy. The extra space is repurposed in the kitchen/great room where the focus is on circulation. Instead of getting trapped by a peninsula -- when there's only one way in and out of the cooking area -- The Forest kitchens are designed for more than one 'chef' to work together. "Every time you entertain and you're going to prepare a meal, they all come to the kitchen and sit around the island," he says, noting that The Forest models have large, functional centre islands with seating. "If you're really good, you give one a knife to slice bread while another one is over here doing some stir fry." After decades of backyard entertaining, National Homes is bringing people back to the front. Home designs promote covered porticos, porches and verandas with room for outdoor seating so you can have "eyes on the street," he says. One of the model homes features a two-and-a-half storey plan that includes a unique entertaining space halfway between the first and second floors. The space is accented by a large covered balcony overlooking the front yard. On the interior, it looks down on the great room/kitchen area and is open to the second floor above. "If you're entertaining and you have the French doors open to outdoors, it's a gorgeous space," says Cassidy. Other design changes featured at The Forest include free-standing, spa-like tubs that are easier to clean around; closets that are more like dressing rooms; vaulted ceilings; and, serveries. As an added benefit to homeowners, the open design means better air flow as well as traffic flow. "The more open it is, the easier it is for air circulation and maintaining the same temperature from space to space, as opposed to a room on the north side being a little bit cooler than one that's south facing,

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