Home design trends emphasize socialization

The Georgia complex in downtown Fresno was designed by Paul Halajian Architects.

published on August 8, 2022 – 1:11 p.m
Written by Frank Lopez

Over the past decade, more and more Americans have been calling apartments their home, their sweet home.

The U.S. housing stock has grown by more than 2 million units over the past decade, and completions are expected to increase throughout the decade of 2020, according to real estate technology and analytics firm RealPage.

A July report prepared by brokerage brokers Marcus & Millichap finds that the Fresno multifamily market has strong fundamentals, with an unprecedented 1.6% vacancy rate — one of the lowest in the US.

With vacancies not expected to decrease in the short to medium term, rental growth increased by 11.2% year-on-year.

According to the report, there are currently 757 units under construction in the Fresno area.

The popularity of apartment living brings new trends in architecture and design of units and complexes.

Developers and architects put more emphasis on health and wellness by incorporating pools, green spaces and common areas for residents. Other popular trends include more natural light, neutral color palettes and softer materials.

The Paul Halajian Architects team in Clovis designs residential, community and commercial projects including the Georgia Complex in downtown Fresno, the Tempranillo Apartment Homes in Clovis and the H-Street Lofts in Fresno.

Paul Halajian, principal architect, said client multi-family projects have increased over the past three years, particularly given California’s housing shortage.

Along with younger consumers waiting longer to invest in a home, Halajian said more people want newer homes than what’s available in the aging housing stock and developers are catering to those needs.

As more and more people search for apartments, developers try to provide the features that renters want.

“There’s a greater need for amenities—more spaces to mingle with your neighbors. A business center or a place to work from home outside of your unit, as well as gyms and other health-related things are becoming increasingly popular,” Halajian said.

In residential units, kitchens are getting bigger and appliances are getting better, Halajian said.

Floor plans include more open spaces with fewer walls and borders – a design trend he noticed is leading kitchens to become more integrated with living rooms.

Architects and designers are incorporating materials such as stone and wood into home designs, as well as more soothing earth tones and luxurious vinyl tiles – vinyl floors with a realistic 3D photo layer of wood or stone.

Due to increases in the price of building materials, Halajian said there is a greater focus on minimizing waste in construction, with more regulations on how construction waste should be disposed of.

While not a new trend in American design or architecture, there is a recurring trend towards mixed use. On site, Halajian said many developers were fed up. He sees it eventually becoming a trend in Fresno.

Porches and patios are a desirable feature for homes, particularly in downtown locations. Halajian’s downtown Fresno apartment building projects feature porches that help create a semi-public space in an apartment.

“The upcoming trend is the ability to live and work from home,” Halajian said. “Live work units with a shop, a place to work or sell a product on the ground floor. Social spaces that allow people living in a given environment to get to know each other are becoming more important and better designed,” Halajian said.

Reza Assemi has been building residential and mixed-use projects in downtown Fresno for over two decades. Assemi developed the Mural District Lofts in downtown Fresno, which recently broke ground, and has another mixed-use, multi-family development currently in the permitting phase.

Assemi said he’s a very hands-on developer who doesn’t approach his projects with a “cookie cutter.” The design is unique for each of his projects.

For the loft projects, Assemi incorporates terraces, open floor plans and larger windows for more natural light. Assemi admits that the urban construction used for its downtown projects is more expensive than a more traditional apartment complex.

Assemi said he takes into account the increasing cost of materials during the design phase and tries to create unique spaces not found in other parts of the city.

“I think that’s why the downtown structure is unique,” Assemi said. “You have to think about the environment you are in and projects have to be unique to the area they are in. For example, what I build downtown, I wouldn’t build in any other part of Fresno — it wouldn’t sit right.”

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