Regional Differences in Home Design

by Seattle Soccer Mom

An author (who lives in Texas) had a question on her blog that sparked an interesting conversation in the comments. Question: why don’t homes in Maryland have master bedrooms on the ground floor? Here are some of the responses. What regional differences in home design have Totebaggers noticed?

Texas typically has masters on the first floor, because we live in the Sunbelt: an area that would be miserable without air conditioning in summer. People either slept on sleeping porches in the summer and not indoors at all, early prairie houses had breezeways and the kitchen/living area was in one building, the sleeping in another, and masters were on the main floor because heat rises and it was cooler. The GRAND historic multi story homes, do tend to follow more of the colonial American influence with masters up stairs. But since most of our Texas architectural infrastructure came from a building and population boom that a/c enabled in the 1950s onward, we have newer homes, and buck the design trends of the architecture you see in other areas. A/C changed things ALOT, and it’s no surprise mid century modern design came into being when A/C was booming and took off in places like Nevada, Southern California, Texas, Florida, New Mexico. These days we think more of our knees and aging in place as factors of the design, than we do having downstairs public places, and upstairs private places.

It is going back to the fact that if you are building a 2nd story to give more living space, you do not want your guests going UPSTAIRS to visit, so you have the upstairs more private areas. Some houses have the 2nd, 3rd, etc. bedrooms upstairs, but if you are constrained by land space (common in more developed communities) you end up putting more on the other floors to give more yard. Or looking at newer houses, to reduce how much space you allocate per house instead (building UP instead of OUT).

I was always fascinated by the differences when I travel – Seattle and Portland houses have a totally different feel from coastal NC where I grew up…more and larger windows. Whereas NC (especially hurricane areas) go with fewer and smaller it feels like. Both for a heat AND for a danger aspect.