Modern & Contemporary Home Design in Michigan
The terms “modern” and “contemporary” are sometimes used interchangeably when describing architecture. Although the two styles have some overlapping features, they’re both distinct and have different elements in their designs.
But what are modern and contemporary house designs? Let’s explore the similarities and differences between the two so you can understand what to expect when choosing these designs for your home.
Key Features of Contemporary Home Architecture
Ambient and Natural Light
One of the most notable features of contemporary homes is the emphasis on letting natural light permeate the home during the day and warm, soft ambient lighting during the night. This is why you might generally notice most contemporary houses feature large windows, including floor-to-ceiling options that allow the homeowners to use sunlight while they go about their days.
However, these newer homes also have a large focus on energy efficiency. Many architecture and design firms will design new homes with LED lighting, particularly with warm tones. This allows them to prioritize function without completely sacrificing the form that makes a house feel like a home.
Asymmetrical and Geometric Lines
Before the middle of the 20th century, home designs put a lot of emphasis on symmetry in their overall designs. Many homes back then also used ornate embellishments like gable trim and carved columns.
Starting around the year 2000, all that changed completely. Instead of homes being symmetrical and having lavish ornaments, contemporary home design emphasizes minimalism, asymmetrical layouts, and clean lines to create a more unconventional form. Many contemporary architecture homes emphasize a singular focal point like an open-concept common room or living area as the largest part of the house, with other areas looking more subdued from the outside.
As part of its focus on eco-friendly and energy-efficient design, many contemporary-style homes use natural materials in their exterior and interior designs. Many emphasize using wood in both the exterior and interior, as siding and flooring respectively.
Some contemporary homes also use features like green roofs and living walls to make the home feel more inviting and put an even greater emphasis on sustainability.
Neutral Color Palettes
One of the biggest differences that sets apart contemporary residential architecture from the styles that came before it is the color palettes these homes use. Where many homes before the current era are more likely to use pastels, white vinyl, and different beige tones, contemporary architecture takes a more natural approach.
In most cases, these homes use the original colors of stone and wood facades, along with black window trim and white walls to let the natural colors draw the eye. Even features using natural materials like stone walls are typically monochrome to give it a more minimalist feel.
Open Floor Plans
Contemporary home design favors an open concept with as few partitions between common areas as possible. Open floor plans are a hallmark of contemporary home design, with few walls separating the common areas like the living room, kitchen, and dining spaces. This lends an airy, natural feel to the interior.
What Makes Modern Home Architecture Different
Modern home architecture has some common threads with its contemporary cousin, as many of the highlights of contemporary design got their start in the modern home movement. However, there are a few key differences between the two, including the design elements they use most often.
Modern architecture was a departure from the styles that came before it in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here’s what this shift toward function over form looks like in practice.
Minimalist Layout and Ornamentation
Why Make Us Your Contemporary or Modern Home Design Firm
What Makes Us Different
You might have an idea in your mind of what architects are like—pretentious, stuffy people who would rather go with their vision instead of what you want for your living space.
Erase that picture when you choose us as your design partners. We believe our best assets are our ears and not our hands. We value friendliness, design agnosticism, and good listening skills above all else. After all, that’s why we started our firm—to get away from uptight architects!
Our Design Process at a Glance
Not sure what to expect when you choose to work with 42º North? Here’s a breakdown:
Connect With Us
We want to get to know you first. Expect to sit for a coffee with us so we can learn about your vision before we get started.
Tell Us About Your Vision
Listening is our greatest skill, even more than residential design. We’ll spend time learning about your current space through questionnaires and observations—including what you love and hate.
Give Us a Tour
We’ll view how you use your current space for ourselves. This gives us a chance to see the ergonomics, spatial relations, and scale of the home.
Make Us Your Consultant
We won’t disappear after we get final approval on your residential redesign! Expect us to stay connected during construction so your project exceeds your expectations.
Connect with Our Contemporary Architecture Experts
Ready to bring your modern or contemporary residential architecture ideas to life? Connect with us to get started and let us be your custom home designer.