Thursday, December 2, 2010

Women Centric Homes

Driving to get my Christmas tree today on Route 2 in Exeter, I saw a new housing development in the works. This normally wouldn't have caught my eye, except for the fact that there was a sign at the gate announcing "NEW WOMEN CENTRIC HOMES." Well, that's good advertising. I immediately pointed it out to my boyfriend, asking him what he thought it meant. He made a joke about a feminist community, but I was intrigued. I asked to borrow his iphone and typed in "women centric housing ri."
Women centric is apparently the new trend in home building and buying. According to the Providence Journal article, “Women make 85 percent or more of the decisions in anything having to do with a home . . . [and are] also the influencing factor in how to change the home." So, obviously, women centric matters.

Small, chopped-up rooms, and boxy interiors adorned with blah accessories and Formica counters are out. Women centric homes feature spacious-feeling layouts, killer walk-in closets and custom details like crown molding, granite countertops and gas fireplaces. Everything in a women centric home is there for a reason, carefully chosen and arranged to make life easier. The main ideas behind these homes are more security, less maintenance, and more organization through the means of walk-on panties, plenty of storage, and my favorite feature- the "drop zone." The drop zone is a place to drop everything you are carrying when you walk in the door "that is distinctly not the kitchen counter." I actually laughed out loud at this, because it is so true and such a great idea.

Of course, people like my boyfriend are quick to criticize this new trend. He took a dislike to it from the beginning as I was telling him what it was and what I liked about it. He dismissed it as a marketing ploy and grumbled that he wouldn't be caught dead living in a development, never mind in a house in a development built for women. While this sparked a heated argument around the premise of why a house built for women was such a horrible thing, I will spare you the details. The fact is, women centric design is a marketing strategy. Builders acknowledge that men are just as likely as women to crave the features of these new women-centric home. "Much of what we propose is smart design" they explain. The problem being men like my boyfriend, who dismiss and refuse to accept these houses simply because of they way they are being marketed. At least our argument with my saying we're not even in the market to buy a house, and him saying "we're always in the market!" And since we're always in the market, I persuaded him that we might as well go to an open house and see what all the hype is about, just so that we know what we want in a house. He conceded that this was a good idea, especially since he wants to build our own house. So it looks like I might be getting some of my women centric design after all, although without the label.

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