Much has changed in the world of residential architecture and building in the last 50 years but the end goal is still the same: creating a home that will fit the residents’ needs, lifestyle and design preferences. From improved insulation to open floor plans, people have more options and the process of building a home begins with the architect.
For the last 31 years, Shreveport architect Ben Patterson has partnered with homeowners to make their dream home a reality. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Patterson worked for eight years under Baton Rouge architect Al Jones, who was mentored by the late architect A. Hays Town. He eventually decided to branch out on his own and bring the knowledge he learned from Jones to the Shreveport market. He has designed houses in Monroe, at Squire Creek, Houston, East Texas, Arkansas and Natchitoches, to name a few. Most recently he was the architect behind a stunning Southern Trace home featured on the 2019 Parade of Homes.
“With houses, it’s just knowing how the little components are supposed to go together. A lot of it is about the proportions and the scale,” Patterson said. “The scale has to do with how it relates to people and the proportions are how all the pieces kind of go together.” When building a home, Patterson said there are some key elements needed to make the project a success: a good architect with detail plans, a homeowner with a reasonable budget and reasonable expectations, and a contractor who is honest and organized. “If you can get those components, it’s a lot of fun and everyone enjoys it.”
If you’re looking to build a home or perhaps considering updating your current one, read on as Patterson discusses the latest trends and concepts in residential architecture.
Floorplans (“The Old” vs. “The New”)
Ready to knock down some walls? Patterson calls the open concept “the new” floorplan, which is drastically different from “the old” one. Many decades ago, when people hired kitchen staff, the kitchens were smaller and closed off. Formal dining rooms also were typically closed off until the table was set and dinner was served. “Kitchens started getting a little bigger and people didn’t have all the kitchen help. There came a time when people started to enjoy cooking more and they enjoy the nice kitchen appliances, like Wolf and the Sub-Zero,” he said. “People like being close to the kitchen. It’s like when you have a party, everyone ends up in the kitchen.”
When it comes to windows, it’s all about metal cladding. A metal-clad window is a type of window with exterior cladding or casing made from aluminum. “You used to insulate windows. They just didn’t look right. They looked kind of cheap. But there are a number of good companies out there that make a nice insulated window,” he said. “With aluminum cladding, they give you a lot of color choices to go with. We used to rarely use a house that had metal cladding on the outside, nowadays we use metal cladding all the time. You just don’t have the maintenance any more like a wood window that used to be painted.”
“We used to use the old pink batt insulation. Now they have what you call foam insulation,” Patterson said. “Attics used to have vents on both sides for flow-through ventilation and you put your batt insulation above the ceiling joist but letting your attic space be open to the air from all sides brings in more allergens. The foam insulation is put on the bottom of the room rafters and all the way down the walls. You don’t put in any air ventilation in the attics anymore and it helps control the overall temperature of your house.”
Back to “the new” floorplan, people are in love with cooking and want their kitchen to open up to the living room and dining area. Not only that, the choices for today’s kitchen appliances and cabinets have taken the kitchen to new heights. Appliances are camouflaged into the kitchen to look like part of the cabinetry, and almost every new home has a large kitchen island as the focus. Pantries also are larger with improved storage capabilities.
Painted Brick & Lighter Colors
Painted brick isn’t necessarily new, but it is new for north Louisiana homes. Homeowners are moving away from dark colors toward lighter hues and old brick is given a facelift with white paint. People are also tired of dark wood. Patterson said a technique called pickling, which is a stain applied to wood, has become a popular choice for those looking to lighten up their home.
Patios are larger to accommodate people’s desire to spend more time outdoors. In the last five to 10 years, Patterson has been designing patios with more depth, allowing space for more furniture, fireplaces and even outdoor kitchens. But what about the elements? “They have screens called Phantom Screens that retract up and down where you can close the patio off,” he said. “We’ve also been putting ceiling heaters in so you can go out there when it’s cold.”
Ben Patterson is a full-service architect located in Shreveport. To learn more about his work, visit www.benpattersonarchitect.com or call 318.861.7669.