Have you ever wondered what makes a home “modern” versus “contemporary”?
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but that can lead to confusion when a home is listed for sale.
About Modern House Styles
The label “modern” in architecture and design indicates an exact time period in our design history during the 20th century.
Modern design came into its own in the 1920′s and 30′s and strongly reflects the emergence of new technology and advances in engineering.
This means it relies heavily on mechanized design. Let’s look at some “modern” design elements that will make this style more easily identified.
First, “form follows function” in modern architecture. This means that what an object’s purpose is determines what form it will take.
Modern design plays heavily on vertical and horizontal lines. The frilly and ornamental nature of previous styles was pushed aside for the clean lines and new utilitarian aesthetic.
Frank Lloyd Wright, known for his brilliant cantilever designs, was one of the most well-known modern architects.
His famous “Fallingwater” house in rural Pennsylvania is a great example of modern work.
What’s important to remember is that modern style doesn’t change. What was once modern, is always “modern.”
About Contemporary House Styles
Contemporary, on the other hand, is an ever-changing term. It is used to define what is trendy and in style now.
The term describes a catch-all style that can take on many different shapes.
A Contemporary home can have the quirkiness of Postmodernism, but it will not express the same kind of irony or humor you find in a Postmodern house.
Some Neoeclectic homes are called “Contemporaries,” but a true Contemporary does not use odd mixtures of historic deals the way a Neoeclectic house does.
Your most important clue is the windows: A Contemporary home will always have expansive, very tall panes of glass.
Of course, 20 years from now, something different will be contemporary.
Contemporary houses have many of these features:
- odd, irregular shape
- lack of ornamentation
- tall, over-sized windows, some with trapezoid shapes
- open floor plan
- natural materials such as cedar or stone
- harmony with the surrounding landscape
- Some contemporary homes have flat roofs. Other contemporary homes have gabled roofs with cathedral ceilings and exposed beams.
So what’s in fashion today?
What is architecture doing in the present moment? That is contemporary.
Today’s trends see many builder focusing on green designs, with green architects seeking LEED certification, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
There are buyers who are looking for one or the other in their design.
By marketing your home with the right terms, you’ll be sure to attract buyers more likely to put in an offer.
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