Modern House Exterior | My Modern Home
Jan. 26, 2022
Jan. 26, 2022

7 Reasons Modern Homes are On the Rise

Why are modern homes on the rise today when the Modernist movement first emerged over 100 years ago? In this article we explore a brief history of the Modernist architecture movement, and outline 7 of the reasons that modern homes are becoming increasingly popular today.

Why are modern homes on the rise today when the Modernist movement first emerged over 100 years ago? In this article we explore a brief history of the Modernist architecture movement, and outline 7 of the reasons that modern homes are becoming increasingly popular today.

Modern architecture and modern homes are enjoying a resurgence in popularity as homeowners across the generations discovers the beauty, and the benefits, of Modernist design characteristics such as streamlined design, large windows, and flexible, open floor plans.

This renewed interest in modern style homes has arisen for a number of reasons, including the rise of architectural tourism showcasing Modernist architectural gems, and the accessibility of modern home design inspiration on sites such as Pinterest and Houzz.

Architects and designers themselves are also contributing to the rise in popularity of modern homes by making modern home design more accessible to homeowners. Companies like My Modern Home are making the best modern homes more accessible to design enthusiasts by eliminating many of the barriers which used to exist to building a modern home.

In this article we will outline 7 of the reasons that the popularity of modern homes is on the rise, explore the background of this resurgence, and explain some the benefits of modern homes that are as true today as they were over a century ago.

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Our collection of modern home plans designed by our team of architects can be explored on our plans page. When you fall in love, purchasing a complete modern home plan is as easy as the click of a button. And we are always here to help you customize one of our modern home plans, or to guide you through the building process.

Philip Johnson Glass House | My Modern Home

Modernist Design - Everything Old is New Again

While we know you aren’t reading this article for a history lesson, it’s important that we touch on a brief history of Modernism, and its influence on modern home design. Some of the cultural influences and societal factors that first led to the rise of modern design and Modernist architecture over 100 years ago have become relevant again in recent years and explain some the reasons that the popularity of modern homes is on the rise again today.

Modernism and the Modernist Movement

Modernist architecture was one part of the larger Modernist movement that influenced fine art, literature, and thought from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Modernists were influenced by industrialization, the absolute dominance of capitalism, rapid social change, and advances in science and the social sciences, all of which kindled a search for new modes of expression.

Like other fields of thought and research, architecture had also increasingly abandoned past styles and conventions during this period in favor of a form of design based on essential functional concerns. This development was aided by advances in building technologies, including steel frame construction and the curtain wall, utilized in commercial buildings (such as The Home Insurance Building in Chicago, 1884).

These technologies also became incorporated along with other innovations (like drywall!) in modern style homes designed by architects like Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, and Philip Johnson.

Modern houses designed by Richard Neutra, Rudolph M. Schindler, Paul Rudolph and other talented architects, once considered avant-garde experiments, are now recognized for the timeless virtues of clean lines, balanced proportions, open plans and the abundant natural light that they bring to bear.

The dominance of modern home design waned in the 1960s and 1970s as the architecture world entered the Postmodernist era. Postmodernism was a response to Modernism, and included a rebellion against the perceived rigidity of Modernism in favor of an “anything goes” approach to design. Postmodern architecture gives a primary emphasis to the façade, incorporating historical elements, unusual building materials, historical allusions within the design, and the use of strategies such as fragmentation and modulations to make buildings interesting.

Modern Front Courtyard House | My Modern Home

7 Reasons Modern Homes are on the Rise

If modern architecture and modern home design became popular over 100 years ago, and waned in popularity over 50 years ago, why is modern home design on the rise today? What are the advantages of a modern house that are leading homebuyers to explore and build homes in the Modernist tradition in the 21st Century?

1. Modernism is Relevant Today

Drywall isn’t exactly “new tech”, and there isn’t a sudden and new push-back against Victorian ideals this decade. So, why the heck are Modernist ideals relevant to modern homes designed today?

One of the reasons that modern homes are on the rise has to do with the renewed relevance of the influences that drove Modernism a century ago, such as technology and urbanism. As was the case during the Modernist era, we live in a time of rapid technological change. And we continue to see a move towards urbanism as the popularity of the suburban lifestyle (which corresponded with the Postmodernist era) begins to wane.

Another reason is the power of nostalgia. According to researchers, humans experience nostalgia when faced with difficult life situations. Studies suggest that reflecting on a happier or more meaningful time helps humans to cope with present uncertainties. Certainly, the world is currently facing challenging uncertainties – the pandemic, global warming, and rising inflation to name a few. Optimism and social connection were trademarks of the Modernist era, and we can all use a dose of both from time to time.

2. Modern Design Inspiration is More Accessible than Ever Before

As we’ve touched on in the intro, interest in modern design – and modern style homes in particular – is on the rise in part because modern design ideas and inspirations are increasingly accessible.

Before widespread use of the internet to browse for design inspiration, and to shop online for Modernist décor and furniture items, most folks were not familiar with modern design or the Modernist style.

The issue was access – modern homes were never the most common style of home, even in their 1950s heyday. And modern homes were also geographically exclusive. While you may find Modernist design across the US, the majority of the best modern homes were found in only a few parts of Europe and the US – like southern California. Unless you lived in one of these areas, you may have come across a few images in magazines, or on the shelf at the library, but most folks just did not have access to modern design in general, or modern homes specifically.

This lack of access, likewise, led to a misconception of modern homes and Modernist design as generally cold, sterile and clinical. In our view, the best modern homes are efficient, but warm, and inviting – while private. The use of natural materials and connection of spaces allows these seemingly divergent traits to co-exist beautifully.

And now, more and more people are discovering this beautiful symmetry of seemingly disparate features while relaxing with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.

Small Modern Home | My Modern Home

3. Modern Homes Make Great Small Homes

There has been a strong trend over the past several years towards homeowners choosing small home designs. Some first-time homeowners are looking for a more affordable home without moving far away from urban areas. Others are downsizing as they enter a new stage of life, or simply downsizing for lifestyle reasons.

There are several other reasons for this trend, which we expect to continue, including:

- small house plans cost less to build

- small homes can be built on a smaller lot

- small homes cost less to maintain and are better for the environment

Modern homes are especially well suited to make the best small house designs.

Modern architecture was renowned for its “creation of small, elegant spaces that were joyously livable”. The principles of design which brought such efficient abundance to a home remain equally effective in the best modern homes designed today and include:

Open Floor Plan Designs

An open floor plan makes a small home plan feel larger, and function larger, than its overall square footage would suggest. Removing interior walls not only makes each room look larger than it actually is, but also allows rooms to benefit from the fluidity of spaces between functional zones.

Ample Natural Light

Modern home design is also known for expansive, floor-to-ceiling windows which allow light to penetrate deep into a floor plan. When used in conjunction with an open floor plan design, large windows also make a home feel larger, as each room appears to extend to the outdoor space beyond the exterior walls.

Efficient Home Design

The best modern homes embody a strong spatial and organizational strategy. They take full advantage of all a home’s square footage to the utmost. Rooms and hallways that flow into each other, creating houses that surprisingly feel larger than many much larger homes constructed today.

Pro tip: Pairing an open concept floor plan with floor to ceiling windows is an effective way to enhance the impact that the removal of visual barriers has on a small modern home.

Modern Cabin | My Modern Home

4. New Building Technologies Support Modern Home Construction

Some of the most iconic features of modern homes such as expansive floor to ceiling windows, flat roofs, and vast interior spaces – could only be constructed using commercial construction technique once-upon-a-time.

Advances in construction methodology and in material technology means that modern style homes can be constructed using more conventional housing construction technology than would have been possible even 20 years ago.

Engineered lumber has come a long way in the last 20 years. It now allows larger spans for wood frame construction, so steel beams are no longer required to create large window openings or unobstructed open floor plan designs.

Engineered wood beams and wood framing are not only more accessible than steel beams and steel framing, but also considerably less expensive. More home builders are also experienced in wood frame construction than in using steel beams and curtain walls, meaning that homeowners can find a builder in their local area that is experienced with these materials and in modern home construction.

Window technology has also changed in the last decade. Large windows that once would have required the purchase of expensive commercial glazing can now be acquired from local window manufacturers. Given that large windows and ample natural light are trademarks of modern style homes, modern homes designed with expansive, floor to ceiling windows are now more accessible in more parts of North America at a significantly lower cost than a decade ago.

Flat roofs are a trademark feature of modern homes and are meant to reflect the broad horizontal lines of the natural vistas surrounding the home. Modern construction materials for completing flat roof construction have improved considerably over the past two decades, making them more reliable than ever. And, as more homeowners become interested in modern homes, more builders and contractors have become familiar with construction techniques used to build a flat roof right; the knock-on-effect being that this modern design feature is then available to even more home owners as time goes on.

Modern House with Large Windows | My Modern Home

5. Modern Homes Create Meaningful Connection Between Interior Spaces and the Outdoors

One of the trademarks of the best modern homes is the visual and spatial connections that these home designs create with outdoor spaces.

The best floor plans consider not only interior spaces, but also how the home intersects with the outdoor areas surrounding it. Windows, courtyards, and outdoor living spaces are all planned to optimize the experience of homeowners and their visitors.

In a small modern home on a narrow urban lot, this may mean incorporating a courtyard home design to allow residents to relax privately outdoors – even in the busiest neighborhoods.

A modern home on a rural property will look to extend living spaces, such as living rooms and dining areas, to decks and patios adjoining those rooms. These connected spaces will also consider the best views, the weather patterns, and movements of the sun to ensure that inhabitants can enjoy meaningful connection to the outdoors.

Traditionally, modern home designs mirrored or complemented the natural elements surrounding them, creating a harmony with the landscape rather than a juxtaposition to it. Many architects inspired by the Modernist tradition continue this sensibility today.

Why are homeowners looking for homes that allow them to connect to the outdoors?

Connection to the outdoors is strongly correlated to improved mood and both physical and mental wellbeing. Time spent in nature and connecting to the natural environment has even been shown to reduce stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. When we can connect with nature in and around our own home, we can enjoy these benefits daily – not just on the weekends or on vacation.

As an added bonus, homebuyers generally find homes with great views or great outdoor spaces more desirable – incorporating these elements can also have a positive influence on your home’s resale value.

Floor to Ceiling Windows | My Modern Home

6. Extensive Use of Glass and Floor to Ceiling Windows

Not only are modern homes renowned for their extensive (and expansive!) use of glass, but modern home designs are particularly well suited to incorporating large, floor to ceiling windows and technology such as lift and slide doors.

Even in the harshest conditions, modern window technology can allow homeowners to incorporate floor-to-ceiling windows into their home’s design.

Not only do large or floor to ceiling windows provide natural light, but large, strategically placed windows can also help us to connect to the natural world beyond our interior walls even while we remain indoors.

Why are more homeowners trying to get more natural light into their homes?

Not only are large windows an attractive feature for many home designs, but study after study has shown the benefit that access to sufficient natural light has on both our physical and mental well-being. Taking advantage of natural light and placing windows in a way that considers your climate and sun patterns can also help reduce energy consumption in your home.

7. Increased Desire for Visual Simplicity and Simple Living

Modern times call for visual simplicity at home.

Day in, day out we are inundated with visual and auditory stimulation as we go through our daily routines. Many of us look to our homes for an opportunity to escape this inundation, and to create a repose for us to mindfully reconnect with ourselves.

Modern home designers that follow the Modernist tradition continue to strive for homes that are visually simple, while delivering elegant solutions to design challenges.

Clean lines, uncluttered surfaces, and unobstructed visual connection are all hallmarks of modern home design that provide a visual simplicity that can allow our homes to become a sanctuary from a complex, and often cluttered, daily existence.

Modern Home with Wood and Brick | My Modern Home

Great Design Stands the Test of Time

We think it’s pretty incredible that principles of design that were conceptualized over 100 years ago can still have resonance today, particularly in a culture where the attitude is often “newer is better”.

But as you can see, Modernist design principles remain relevant for the modern homes designed today and can allow homeowners to enjoy a home designed to stand the test of time.

Is a Modern Home Right for You?



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