If you were born prior to 1984, you may recall how frightened some of us were of that year on account of George Orwell’s 1949 book, "1984," that foretold a bleak vision of a future with a Big Brother state of government and a band of thought police.
However, in terms of the New American Home — the model house built each year by members of the National Assn. of Home Builders to show off new products and technologies — 1984 might have been the height of sanity and restraint.
Behold the New American Home of 1984, pictured here. It cost less than $100,000 and was 1,500 square feet.
I’m going to put an exclamation point here (!) because the 2008 showcase home, which will be unveiled to the public today in Orlando, Fla., is a whopping 6,725 square feet. The designers call it "plantation style," but let’s just call it a plantation. The 2007 model home was 5,283 square feet, and the 2006 home was 6,981 square feet and, according to the NAHB, "was designed as a winter retreat for a retired couple."
More interesting to me is the modest 1984 home. Among its innovations was the newly coined “master retreat” concept; 24-inch on-center framing; an adjustable-stem faucet and instant hot water dispenser in the kitchen; a delay-start dishwasher to save water and energy by enabling off-peak use and a heat pump system with integral water heating to reduce energy consumption.
And so I think: 1984, come back!
You can see all 25 of the NAHB’s annual showcase homes by clicking here.
(Photo: courtesy of Builder Magazine)