5 Characteristics of a Modern Home

5 Characteristics of Modern Homes

5 Characteristics of a Modern Home

Are you interested in a Modern Home but you don’t know what makes it unique?  What about a Modern Home makes it different than a traditional style home? These are questions I often get asked as an architect of modern homes. I could offer a nuanced answer with a deep dive into history, but who has time for that? To catch you up to speed, I have narrowed it down to 5 Characteristics of a Modern Home that set it apart.

A Modern Home can vary so much, although there are five key characteristics that you will find amongst most modern homes. The Modern home style can be divided into many subtypes. Examples of subtypes are Organic, Minimalist, Industrial, International, and Scandinavian. The list can keep on going. Every home will sit on a scale of most extreme to least extreme to which degree it matches these characteristics. At which scale these characteristics will fit your modern home will depend on you and your architect.

1. Clean Lines

A striking contrast that a modern home can have when compared to traditional homes is the clean lines and simple geometry. The clean lines are continuous, unbroken lines that will show in the geometry of the walls, roofline, cladding, or trim details. It is easy for our eyes to spot what is different, but it is often hard to describe it.

2. Lack of Ornamentation

In 1908 Adolf Loos wrote his essay, “Ornament and Crime”, which would start to define the ideology of the modern movement. Loos believed that a home with ornamentation would quickly go out of style. His philosophy can ring true even today. We have seen much of the ornamentation from the 1980s fall out of favor. In a modern home, you will notice a lack of ornamentation on the exterior and interior of a home. This can vary from a minimalist approach to organic. Organic modern architecture offers more opportunities for more textures and natural materials.

3. Modern Open Floor Plans

The modern movement opened up the structure of buildings and therefore allowed for open-plan functions. Le Corbusier began implementing his idea of the Free Plan from 1915 – the 1930s. The Free Plan began to take hold of popular culture in the mid-modern period where you would see this concept. The Free Plan is now a staple in our culture, for a sense of family connectedness in the home. I see the Free Plan or Open Plan concept in many home styles.

4. Abundance of Natural Light

Modern Homes now have the freedom of structure and opening up the tie to restricted proportions. Modern homes are characterized by large expanses of glass and abundant natural light. A narrow floor plan can be found in modern homes as they are not restricted by the formal room arrangement. The Narrow floor plan allows for natural light and cross-ventilation. A Modern home can also have skylights to bring in light in internally focused, private rooms such as bathrooms or closets. An example of a narrow floor plan can be seen in the award-winning Victory Bay House by Habitable Form.

5 . Outdoor Connection

The amount a modern home is connected to the outdoors can vary by the architect and region where it is built. Frank Lloyd Wright is a modern architect who became known for this connection to nature. Wright’s homes are positioned for an outdoor connection to nature, no matter the region they are located in. Wright’s most famous building, Falling Water is located on top of a waterfall. The home is on the site to enhance the sensory experience with nature.

Characteristics of a Modern Home: Natural Materials

Some modern homes may have an abundance of natural materials. The material choice can depend on the look and feel the client and architect were after. The materials also are often influenced by the climate in the region. The climate and context of the region can influence the overall design of a Modern home. So as an example, a modern home in the desert of Pheonix may look very different than a Modern home in tropical Miami, Florida. Modern home in Aspen receives a large amount of annual snowfall, driving homeowners to want to harness the heat from the sun. Whereas other warmer regions could be more concerned with shielding from the sun.

Characteristics of a Modern Home: Conclusion

Now you have an initial understanding of just some of the top characteristics that make a modern home. Reach out to us to discuss the options for your new Modern home with us so we can discover how a Modern home can suit your unique lifestyle and the region in which you live.

AuthorChelsea Anderson

Award-winning architect Chelsea Anderson is the founder and lead architect of Habitable Form and lecturer for the Clemson University Graduate School of Architecture at the Clemson Design Center Charleston.

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