December 13th, 2016

Outdoor living has new home buyers looking up

Original Article by Bill Lewis for the Tennesseean

One of the most important living areas in today’s new homes isn’t inside the house. It’s in the yard or even on the roof.

Homeowners who spend increasing amounts of time working indoors or in their cars are looking for ways to get outdoors with their families and friends. Builders are responding with new home designs that encourage outdoor living.

In the suburbs, that may be a patio out back. In the city, where yard space is limited, builders are moving the patio to the roof. Glass garage doors roll up to open the living area to the rooftop deck.

“People have an innate desire to experience nature and enjoy accessing it from inside their home. On every lot, we spotlight the unique views and outdoor accesses, utilizing features such as glass garage doors, screened-­in porches and rooftop decks to promote this experience,” said Britnie Turner Keane, founder and CEO of Aerial Development Group.

Aerial Development Group is building new homes in East Nashville’s Shelby Hills neighborhood. (Photo: Aerial Development Group)

The company, known for its infill developments in the heart of Nashville, is building new homes in East Nashville’s Shelby Hills neighborhood. It is also developing a wellness community, East Greenway Park, at the intersection of Eastland and Rosebank avenues. Residents will have access to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway at their doorstep.

At Celebration Homes, front porches are “making a big comeback” as a gathering place for friends and families, said Michael Katsaitis, director of planning and design. In the new Durham Farms subdivision in Hendersonville, the company is building homes with alley-­loaded garages that make more room for a porch at the front of the home and a courtyard.

“Rear yards or side courtyards become a real oasis of quiet and private outdoor living-­entertaining areas. The concept emphasizes the development of communities with people-­friendly features, rather than the old model of housing tracts designed to accommodate automobiles,” he said.

Celebration, active in Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson and Sumner counties, is also adding other outdoor spaces to meet the needs of today’s homeowners.

“Lifestyles have become more informal, and our designs reflect this movement. The informality has formed in the growth of outdoor living. While primarily decks, patios and outdoor grills were in focus, this trend has expanded to outdoor kitchens, bars and even fully furnished outdoor rooms with optional fireplaces,” said Katsaitis.

“The inside and outside defined line has become blurred. Rooms now blend into the outdoors without worrying about a solid distinction,” he said.

This home in 12 South by Aerial Development Group accesses outdoor living spaces through roll-­up garage doors. (Photo: Aerial Development Group)

In Nashville’s Wedgewood-­Houston neighborhood near the fairgrounds, Landmark Homes is including a rooftop deck with every home it builds. The company is building 45 townhomes, single-­family homes and condo flats in the Southgate Station development in the neighborhood.

“On infill, you don’t have much yard. This takes the deck and the patio and raises it to the third floor,” said Nick Wisniewski, who operates the company with his father, Gary.

“It’s a matter of space and privacy,” said Nick Wisniewski.

Many homeowners think of their outdoor space as an additional living area, “but outside the home,” said Jen Lucy, director of sales for The Jones Co. Those spaces can include decks and covered patios.

Interest in the outdoors is changing home design in another way. In the Arbor Crest and Kelsey Glen subdivisions near Old Hickory Lake, the company has discovered that many buyers want three-­car garages to accommodate their outdoor toys.

“We do that by the lake so people can put their boat in the garage,” said Lucy.

As Nashville grows and people live closer together, they are looking for ways to get away from the stresses of urban life, said Aerial’s Keane.