What’s Wrong With Modern Home Design?

1. The Walk-Out Basement. Get Rid of It!

The walk-out basement became a pervasive feature of many homes. That is if you built your house in the 1990s and 2000s. What’s the charm of walk-out basements?

Well, back in the 1970s and 1980s, finished basements were all the rage. But those places were often unavoidably dark or claustrophobic. It didn’t matter how luxuriously they were finished. They remained the general feeling of being confined, cramped and airless.

Walk-out basements, meanwhile, had direct access to the outside and possibly even large windows. They seemed like an ideal way to make the basement not only an extra living area, but a prominent and comfortable one as well.

This design logically meant putting the main floor of the home a story above the ground in the back. Therefore, with the exception of a deck and a steep flight of stairs, it eliminated the main floor access to the backyard. The habits of people, however, did not change. The basement still felt disconnected and navigating down several stairs to reach the yard took effort. The family backyard – traditionally an extension of the home directly off the main living areas – became a thing of the past. Many backyards of homes with walk-out basements are barren and unutilized. It is not uncommon to see homeowners trying to create a backyard atmosphere in their front yard, complete with lawn chairs near the curb and the family pet tied up next to the car. This is based on a natural tendency to walk out the door with the quickest, most level access to the yard.

There is simply little reason for a walk-out basement. Basements are meant to be disconnected, and window designs and lighting have evolved to help create a more comfortable space underground. Homes built with easy, direct yard access add to the enjoyment of the property.

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One comment

  1. HUD, Fannie/Freddie, local Zoning, have the greatest influence on what a developer can build than anything else. Of course, at any time current economy determines what the market will absorb at any price.