Magazine article Sunset

This Is Not Your Father's Tract House

Magazine article Sunset

This Is Not Your Father's Tract House

Article excerpt

OPENING UP According to Michael Woodley, chief architect for Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation of Los Angeles, "If someone commutes 4 or 5 hours a day, you don't put them in small rooms. They want the family to be together even if they are doing different things. And so the open plan is more important than it ever was. Now the living room, dining room, breakfast area, and family room open to each other--there may be only one actual dividing wall, and it doesn't go all the way to the ceiling."

FAMILY VS. LIVING Another result of this trend toward togetherness is the growth of the family room at the expense of the living room. Mark Posth, managing editor of California Builder magazine, asserts that the family room is now the dominant room in the house and always opens into the kitchen: "It has become the heartbeat of the home. The living room has recently been shrunk to an afterthought."

THE MASTER BEDROOM One of the biggest changes since the 1950s and '60s is in the master bedroom. Previously you could hardly distinguish it from the other bedrooms. "But today," according to Woodley, "it needs to be a parents' retreat. It needs to be bigger, with more closet space, and open to a compartmentalized bathroom with two sinks and an oval soaking tub." Woodley explains that prospective buyers view such amenities as a reward for making the sacrifices needed to afford the house.

Tips for buying a tract house

* Do your own builder background check. Experts advise choosing a developer first, then the house. …

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