Big cities like Chicago and San Diego are starting to grow again, which improves prospects for urban infill housing. Here's a look at what Millennials and Baby Boomers are buying
After a dismal decade, large cities are growing again, and that bodes well for urban infill housing. In a recent analysis, the Brookings Institution's William H. Frey suggested that Millennials and Baby Boomers could be catalysts for urban revival. Frey cited the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates through July 2012, which indicate that national migration rates to big cities are starting to increase again as the economy recovers.
Urban infill sizzles in Denver
Koelbel Urban Homes focused on getting as much masonry as their budget would allow on LoHi Court's primary street elevation. Light-colored brick, stucco, and copper accents create a vibrant, contemporary architecture while paying tribute to the buildings around it. (Illustrations: Kephart)
The full-size, two-car garages were a big selling point, says builder Carl Koelbel. Older homes in the area offer only one-car garages, and newer homes have two-car garages "that would only work if you had two Mini Coopers," Koelbel says.
Affluent families return to Chicago
A wall of cabinetry in the kitchen extends into the great room, visually connecting the two spaces and forming horizontal shelves. The dark walnut cabinets, with their espresso stain, contrast dramatically with the glossy white countertops. (Photos: Scott Shipley)
Traditional materials—brick, limestone, and glass—are used both horizontally and vertically to give this contemporary home in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood a unique façade. The front door is 8-feet high and made of rift-sawn oak.
The great room leads to a terrace and roof deck over the rear-loaded garage. Natural maple floors and dark walnut millwork add texture to white walls and surfaces.
Master plan for a San Diego neighborhood
Tuck-under garages at the rear of the socialGarden townhomes lead directly into individual units. The ground floor has a bedroom and full bath that can double as workspace. (Photos: Jeffrey Aron/Aron Photography)
The kitchen and living area of socialGarden Plan 1 are on the second floor along with a grill balcony and powder room.
Stacked corner windows in the living room of SkyLoft Plan 3 provide lots of sunlight and great views of downtown San Diego.
Prefab process slashes site time
This home in downtown Sonoma, Calif., was built in the Blu Homes factory, delivered to the site, unfolded, and finished in a matter of weeks. The home features a glass-enclosed, central living room with 14-foot ceilings under a distinctive butterfly roof. (Photos: John Swain)
Sliding glass doors open the living areas to a large deck and landscaped back yard. The home is a three-block walk to Sonoma's historic town plaza with its popular restaurants and wine shops.
Infill that's ahead of the curve
Developer Scott Axelrod plans to build townhomes like these in various Denver neighborhoods. Four different floor plans will be mixed and matched to fit the characteristics and zoning of each site. (Illustrations: Kephart)
Motor courts get traffic off the streets, while rooftop decks compensate for the lack of yard space.