Keith McCloskey – Future Home Designs Need to Fit Multiple Purposes


July 3, 2018

The expectations of home buyers and how people want to live in their homes are constantly evolving. Builders and designers have to not only meet the changing needs and expectations of the various buyer profiles but anticipate where home design will be in the future. In response, the home building community is continually reinventing itself.

In the case of the 2019 BUILDER Concept home, the KB Home ProjeKt: Where Tomorrow Lives, innovation is the core mission. At the beginning of the project, our team set some very simple goals: to rethink how production housing can make less of a mark on the environment, to innovate new methods of project delivery, and to achieve both of these things while making the end product attainable for today’s home buyer.

As the ProjeKt began to tackle the challenge of lessening the home’s impact on the environment, our team asked the question, “How can we do more with less?” From there, the project initiative was launched to create a sub-3,000-square-foot home that would live as though it were 4,000 square feet.

I spoke to the ProjeKt lead, Keith McCloskey, LEED AP, executive director, design, KTGY Architecture + Planning, to get his insight on the development of the design. Here’s what he had to say. Ultimately, building less and saving precious land is the purest form of sustainability. The benefits of the strategy were really two-fold: maximizing sustainability goals while also improving the attainability for the home buyer. After all, less land and fewer materials equate to less cost to the buyer, creating a win-win for all those involved. Additionally, stepping down the home size to a smaller, more compact footprint seemed to align perfectly with a prospective buyer profile of a move-down, empty-nest family.

The design approach was quite simple and set out to accomplish two things: 1) to provide every core programmatic need for the homeowners on the ground floor level to allow them to age in place into retirement; and 2) to provide additional flex space upstairs in the loft area that could accommodate a number of varied uses including fitness, yoga, a potential rental income suite and, of course, additional bedrooms for the potential welcoming in of boomerang children. We knew that the flexibility of this space in the retirement years would be critical to allow for either multigenerational living, or an opportunity to rent the space for extra revenue. As families move into the retirement years and income is reduced, the family’s ability to create passive income is becoming increasingly important to maintain affordability for the long term.

This additional upstairs loft space reminagines the ADU, or the “accessory dwelling unit” in a more compact, efficient floor plan that is sensitive to the amount of land required to achieve such a solution. Not only does this all-in-one configuration promote sustainable land-use, but it also provides the opportunity for the suite to be connected to the main home, which is more comfortable when it’s being used to house family members.

The suite can also be secured separated as a stand-alone suite for the safety and privacy of the homeowners. In this function of the plan, the loft area would be conveniently divided with a secured recessed swing door at the bottom of the connecting stair, allowing for both two-way security and acoustic separation. This private suite would be able to be accessed via its own stoop entry at the side of the home creating what is effectively a duplex-like scenario.

The separate loft space also could double as the homeowner’s escape, utilized as an upstairs office space for those who consult from home or work remotely. It is outfitted with a fully functional compact kitchen to address the various programs that might occur in the space.

In addition, outdoor living is becoming increasingly important in newer, sustainable homes and is something that the buyer will expect or demand regardless of age. This suite recognizes the need for both the primary homeowner and the guest or renter of this suite to have direct access to private outdoor living space. The loft provides an elevated terrace accessed by a large sliding glass door that connects the living and dining areas to outdoor space.

Indoor-outdoor connectivity is essential for modern living, and, at the main ground floor level of the home, it is another tool that is used to decrease the conditioned envelope of the structure. Getting people to go outside more not only cuts down on the need for interior square footage, but also offers great benefits for health and wellness. The main floor’s outdoor living space truly functions as an extension of the interior great room. The two spaces are connected by an 18-foot-long bi-parting multi-slide wall of glass that grows the room an additional 12 feet towards the backyard while offering opportunities for the family to take advantage of outdoor dining, lounging or working out on a yoga deck.

In the same way that this patio extension creates an impression of increased space and openness, the ground floor also has a flex room that can grow the kitchen and entertaining area by an additional 12 feet. When needed, this additional depth can be captured through the use of an innovative sliding wall system that acts much like a piece of movable furniture to expand the otherwise compact area adjacent to the kitchen into a more formal dining area for large dinner events, or to create more standing space for cocktail parties or other functions.

What makes this wall unique is how quickly it can transform the room. Using a recessed concealed track at the underside of the floor joist and ceiling, the wall rolls rather effortlessly along the track like an oversized drawer glide. This flex space also can be used as an office, study, sleeping room, or even a game room for grandkids. The opportunities are essentially endless with the modern innovations in adaptable/convertible furniture solutions available today.

The French poet Anatole France once observed that “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” And, as you can see from McCloskey’s insights above, the KB Home ProjeKt: Where Tomorrow Lives will be more than just another concept home, it will show the home building industry a better way to shape future communities.

To follow more of the design and development process, visit