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A new exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., showcases flexible housing solutions for the changing U.S. market.

The Open House, designed by architect Pierluigi Colombo, is a hyper-efficient and flexible residential space that explores the housing needs of Americans today. The project is part of the National Building Museum’s “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America,” an installation organized by the museum, the Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC), and in partnership with Resource Furniture and Clei.

Housing needs in the U.S. have drastically changed over the last 50 years: In 1970, 40 percent of households contained nuclear families, compared to only 20 percent today. Rising, on the other hand, is the number of single adults living alone, which makes up nearly one third of all households today. The number of those who live with roommates or in extended family situations is also growing, as is the number of aging adults choosing to age-in-place.

“Households in the United States are changing, but housing supply and policy is not changing at the same pace,” says Chase W. Rynd, president and executive director of the National Building Museum. “Making Room offers the opportunity to explore innovative design solutions to meet evolving lifestyle needs in today’s society, both through case studies and with the full-scale Open House that we are constructing in our galleries.”

The 1,000-square-foot hyper-efficient layout also showcases smart technologies, efficient products, movable walls, and multifunctional furniture. Open House also is designed, with some modular adjustments, to accommodate three different living situations. From the exhibit’s opening last month until February 2018, the home will be adapted for one couple and two single adults living together. Between March and May, it will be redesigned for a grandmother living with her single daughter and grandson. Finally, on display between June and September, one room of an aging couple’s home will be converted into a full studio apartment for a live-in aid, visiting child, or renter.

The Open House exhibit will be on display at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., between November 18, 2017 and September 16, 2018. For more information on the “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America” project including special events, visit the museum’s website.

See 9 of the space-efficient products featured in the Open House below.


Andersen 100 Series windows were used in the "Making Room" living and sleeping spaces.

1. Andersen 100 Series windows

Andersen 100 Series windows are used in Open House’s living spaces and bedrooms. The series is made with Fibrex, a composite material twice as strong and rigid as vinyl, the company says. The windows are available in seven styles, four interior colors, and six exterior colors. Users can also choose hardware finishes, dimensions, grilles, and glass type.


Caesar Ceramiche Collection One covers the "Making Room" kitchen floor

2. Caesar Ceramiche Collection One

Ceramics of Italy partnered with Open House to bring several Italian tile applications to the project, including Caesar Ceramiche’s One Collection of terracotta cement-effect porcelain tile. Pictured here in the ground color, the tile is available in six shades and sizes. The large-format tiles cover the kitchen and one baths in Open House.

“Making Room is a unique opportunity for Ceramics of Italy to demonstrate the impressive versatility and unmatched quality of Italian ceramic tiles,” says Vittorio Borelli, the president of Confindustria Ceramica. “The future of residential design is rapidly changing and we [Ceramics of Italy] understand the necessity to create products for flexible and multi-functional spaces.”


Cerno Lighting was used in the "Making Room" living spaces


3. Cerno Capio LED wall sconce

Open House used energy efficient LED wall sconces from Cerno in the main convertible living space/bedroom. It is available in two sizes and three wood colors, including walnut, dark stained walnut (shown), and maple. A frosted polymer gives the light a soft, dispersed glow.

"Environmentally conscious and responsible design is a core value at Cerno and this project showcases tons of intelligent solutions for smaller footprint homes,” says Bret Englander, director of sales and marketing for Cerno. “We jumped at an opportunity to be part of an exhibit we believe will enhance awareness about the importance of designing responsibly."


Clei, a partner of "Making Room," provided modular sofa, bed, and storage units.


4. Clei Oslo 301

Clei, a partner of the installation, provided its smart, transformable furniture and cabinetry for the Open House living spaces and bedrooms. Pictured here is the Oslo 301, a queen wall bed system and cabinet system with a sofa on the front. The sofa cushions don’t need to be removed to fold down the bed, and they feature storage space underneath them. One section of the sofa is still usable when the bed is down.


Duravit products were used in the "Making Room" bathrooms

5. Duravit bathroom furnishings

Duravit provided Open House with a number of bathroom furniture and fixtures, including the Me by Starck rimless toilet, the P3 Comforts washbasin, and the L-cube vanity, all pictured here. The modular, adaptable vanity has clean, handle-free doors, and the asymmetric washbasin features countertop storage.

“Our partnership with Duravit is a testament to the brand’s dedication to creating accessible bathroom design,” says Zachary Levine, director of exhibitions and collections at the National Building Museum. “Duravit’s technical advancements in the bathroom embody the mission of ‘Making Room’ by promoting safe, hygienic, comfortable, and adaptable design solutions for today’s homeowner and renter.”


An Electrolux washer and dryer were used in "Making Room."


6. Electrolux 24-inch front load washer and ventless dryer

Provided by AJ Madison, this sleek and compact duo is ideal for a limited space. The washer includes 14 specialty wash cycles, Luxury-Quiet technology, and a control lock system. The ventless dryer design can be installed anywhere and ensures that heat isn't recycled from the home. The pair can also be stacked.

“AJ Madison’s participation in ‘Making Room’ will help shine a light on the growing need to design more flexible, diverse living situations,” says AJ Madison President Michael Gross. “Our appliance knowledge and partnerships with Miele, Electrolux, and Elica provide an opportunity to truly represent the shifting requirements and lifestyles of our consumer base - the American household.”


Hafele Motorized Wardrobe lift in Making Room Open House

7. Hafele closet solutions

Organizational products from Hafele helped Open House take advantage of all the space in a small closet. The Motorized Wardrobe Lift keep hanging close easily accessible for a resident confined to a wheelchair. A Pull-out Shelf and Hamper maximize space, while motion-sensing LED lighting keeps everything visible. The lift and shelf are available in two colors while the hamper is available in four. Each comes in multiple sizes and specification options.


Hansgrohe Critterio faucets and fixtures were used in the "Making Room" kitchen


8. Hansgrohe Citterio Select kitchen spray faucet

Open House features Hansgrohe products in both one bathroom and the kitchen. The kitchen features two models from the Axor Citterio selection. Users can pre-select settings like temperature and waterflow, and turn on the faucet by hitting one easy-to-reach button. The faucet features a hose and can swivel 110/150 degree.

“‘Making Room’ is an important milestone in modern housing development and policy,” says Ryan Ramaker, senior director of product management and marketing of Hansgrohe North America. “It showcases how architects, policy-makers, developers, planners, and the general public can use design as an integral tool to meet housing needs. Our products speak to the importance of universal design as we offer solutions for everyone, regardless of age and ability.”



Miele appliances were used in the "Making Room" kitchen

9. Miele 30-inch single electric oven

Also from AJ Madison, this in-wall unit comes with three control options for intuitive operation. The Miele’s EasyControl DirectSelect and SensorTronic controls and a touch screen provide tactile and simplified navigation. The oven also uses residual heat to complete the cooking process, turning off early to save energy.