Lowering the ceiling

While patrolling for information on suburban home construction practices, I discovered the coming end to a suburban icon — the high ceiling.

In today’s edition, the San Jose Mercury News says the big homebuilders — including a few that have created cities out of cornfields around here — have given up on the design:

Major home builders including Pulte Homes, Toll Brothers and K. Hovnanian say more buyers are looking for the maximum number of rooms and square footage for their money, so they’re opting to have a loft, bedroom or playroom built in the air space where the plans call for a double-height ceiling. “People don’t want it anymore,” says Ken Gancarczyk, head of builder services for KB Home. The big Los Angeles-based builder has stopped offering double-height great rooms in response to falling demand.

The article also introduces us to a new malady: “high ceiling fatigue.”

Update 5:39 I alluded in a post yesterday to today’s suburban home construction and how it can’t stand up to a tornado. Suburban home construction isn’t a matter of being shoddy, per se, but it is done more cheaply now than it was decades ago. Why? So we can afford them and so they can be built quickly. But the reason they go up so fast, is also the reason they come down so fast.

MPR’s Tim Nelson takes a look at this question in a story that aired on All Things Considered tonight.

  • Interesting, Bob. For my “Good Question” tonight at ten on whether new homes are built tough enough… the architecture professor pointed to Great Rooms and cathedral ceilings as a tornado magnet, because of that huge volume in there.

  • tom

    […]The gap is presently closing at a rate of about 1/2% per year, so in 40 years or so, if the trend continues, it will finally equal out.[…]