In 1989, the film Back to the Future Part II predicted that the year 2015 would be an age of wonders. The wild changes forecast ranged from the implausible (Marty McFly’s flying skateboard) to the unimaginable (a World Series win for the Chicago Cubs).
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) may have taken a more realistic approach in 2011, when it released a special report titled “The New Home in 2015.” The association surveyed builders, designers, architects, manufacturers and marketing specialists about what they felt would be the most likely characteristics of an average, single-family detached home in 2015. Respondents expected that: homes would be smaller and have a greater number of ecologically friendly features, particularly engineered wood products and “low-e windows”; that a great room would be the most commonly included space; and that living rooms would either not be included or would be merged into other areas. Double sinks, eating areas and recessed lighting would be the biggest features in kitchens, the survey anticipated.
Some of the NAHB’s predictions are coming to pass, along with the film’s expectation that the kitchen would remain a primary gathering place for the family. In general, a greater focus on gathering spaces and the transition from building homes with designated living rooms to more versatile “flex rooms” is well under way.