Pardee Homes is up to something right outside of Las Vegas. They’re building a new neighborhood in the Henderson, Nevada, but this neighborhood has a handful of homes unlike any seen on the market right now—and we got a first-hand look. Enlisting the help of “millennial designer” Bobby Berk of Bobby Berk Home alongside architect Bassenian Lagoni and landscape architects, AndersonBaron, they’ve redesigned a selection of homes to cater toward millennial buyers: a 2,145-square-foot Contemporary Farmhouse and a 3,194-square-foot Contemporary Transitional home that they’re calling the Responsive Home Project. We had lots of questions. What’s a millennial buyer and a responsive home? What’s so different about these buyers, and how are these homes different from those in any other planned community? We asked Bobby Berk to tell us more:

Tell me what a community specifically geared toward Millennials means?

A community geared toward millenials is one that offers a connectedness to that community. This generation is looking for public parks, recreation areas, and adjacency to alternate forms of transportation such as zip car stations, and rail and bus access. Gen Yers are typically drawn to urban and suburban areas and single-family homes. Outdoor space and pet friendly neighborhoods are a must. Lots of sidewalks and walking trails for active adults and kids make getting exercise safe and easy. It’s also important that there be a retail aspect to these communities. People don’t want to drive 20 minutes to get coffee or go to the store. If they feel cut off, they won’t want to buy in that area.

When looking for that first home, millennials are scared of the cost factor and mortgage obligation. Having seen the bottom fall out of everything in 2008, they want to be sure they can handle the responsibility through thick and thin. This is why we’ve made these homes responsive.

Contemporary farmhouse exterior

Contemporary farmhouse exterior

Contemporary farmhouse

Contemporary farmhouse

What’s a Responsive Home? What does that mean?

A Responsive Home is one that responds to millenials needs, and offers them income opportunities. It also responds as a family grows. Instead of worrying about needing to move to a house with one more bedroom after an initial investment, extra family rooms and lofts can be turned into extra bedrooms by simply adding a wall and a door instead of looking for a whole new home. “Responsive” also means that the house is fully automated. These homes utilized a Savant system, which allows full automation from an iPad or smart device. From lighting, music, and television, to smart whirlpool appliances, the system allows full control at the touch of button. You could even restart your laundry from your phone on the other side of the country.

Contemporary farmhouse

Contemporary farmhouse

Contemporary farmhouse side yard

Contemporary farmhouse side yard

What are Millennials looking for when it comes to space?

Millennials are looking for even more entertaining space than previous generations. Both indoors and out. One of the appeals of living outside of super urban, high-rent areas with little space is that you can actually have friends over to entertain. This is something people desire more and more.

Contemporary farmhouse

Contemporary farmhouse

Contemporary farmhouse

Contemporary farmhouse

What kinds of things do Millenials consider when buying a home?

Millennials are looking for flexible space. Pardee utilizes these great “Gen-Smart” Suites, which are spaces with separate kitchenettes and side entrances that offer a connection to the main living space, but can also be closed off for privacy. This type of space that’s already thought into the layout of a new build offers a place for a loved one to age in place, or come and stay for an extended period of time comfortably. It could be a separately rented roommate situation, or even serve as a completely sealed off apartment as strictly an income space. Nowadays, people do short term rentals on Airbnb, and this allows for any of the above options and more.

Contemporary farmhouse outdoor room

Contemporary farmhouse outdoor room

Contemporary transitional home exterior

Contemporary transitional home exterior

Contemporary transitional yard

Contemporary transitional yard

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

What are some things that have been phased out in a home for the Millenial?

One of the things that we know we’re starting to phase out in our own designs is excessively large master suites and closets. Millenials would rather that potential space be allocated to shared living space, as so little time is spent in sleeping chambers. There’s little need for gargantuan closets and bedrooms if you could use that square footage to get an extra bedroom or larger living room or loft. They want space that is thoughtful and efficiently maximized.

Let’s talk about design: what interior elements are they in search of from materials to finishes?

Everyone’s aesthetic is different. There isn’t a “universal” aesthetic for millennials as a group. However, one thing we have noticed is that millennials want durable materials. As to the flooring, we’ve specifically picked tile that can be carried from indoors to the outdoor space to make the homes feel more expansive and ease the transition from indoor to out. Wood-look tile floor is indestructible, and requires little maintenance, yet still offers a warm layer that evokes classic wood-plank flooring. Millennials want things that require little maintenance, because they don’t always have lots of time. Materials that offer high design, and are easy on the wallet for both the upfront costs and long-term maintenance are ideal.

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional yard

Contemporary transitional yard

Contemporary transitional

Contemporary transitional

How about exterior space: what kind of yards work best for young families and professionals?

We have definitely gotten away from putting grass everywhere. It’s just not sustainable. Life-like turf can be a good choice, and still give the feel of a traditional yard. In general, Millenials want yards that require little maintenance. We utilized many elevated planters in the backyards of both homes, because they provide a space to grow plants like lettuce, green onions or herbs. Millennials want to know where their food comes from, and the concept of farm-to-table is something that people desire if they can get it affordably and easily. These flexible landscape options offer gardening opportunities without a large irrigation or time expenditure. When it comes to yards, millennials still want something beautiful, but something easy. We have to think about how things function, not just how they look.

Thanks, Bobby! The homes will be ready in Spring 2016. Contact Pardee Homes for more details.

Photos by Brett Beyer Photography.