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1. All About Efficiency
With the rising cost of fuel, it’s no surprise that energy efficiency tops our list of trends for the future. Ten years from now, this movement will be even more prevalent, and both insulation and windows will be key to this.

2. Volume Control
The homes of tomorrow will probably be around the same size as today, but with larger volume and a better use of space. Large master suites will be standard fare in the future, and they’ll be located on the main level.

3. Commercial Kitchens
The kitchen of tomorrow will definitely be the hub of the home. “A kitchen-centric layout is a hallmark of future homes,” says Steve Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders.

4. Family Time
For the foreseeable future, homes will continue to feature the great room, cathedral ceiling, and an additional breakfast or occasional seating in the kitchen area.

5. All in a Day’s Work
"The home-office niche is becoming more popular," says Steve. "This is a small, comfortable area carved out of the master bedroom, living area or kitchen that features a desktop and perhaps a laptop computer."

6. The Great Outdoors
Forget about building a big addition to your house—the homes of the future will take advantage of casual outdoor living space instead.

7. Glamour Garages
The garage debate still reigns—some forecasters predict that three- or even four-car garages will be the future standard. Other experts believe that our shrinking family size will lead to garages that are just a bit larger than they are today. Recent trends show that 2 1/2-car garages are popular.

8. What About Wood?
Wood will make even more of a design statement in the years to come with exotic species such as bamboo and cork becoming more trendy.

9. Engineered-Wood Products
Forecasters predict that the structural strength of engineered wood products will enable buildings to be designed with fewer structural components overall.

10. Be Flexible
Designing a house with flexibility is key to its future success. While you’re in the design stage, ask yourself how will your life change in 10 years, and how your needs will be different.

Read the full story in the July/August 2006 issue of Timber Home Living.