PLAINVIEW: There’s No Place like home especially when it’s a new home

The first show-home I saw boasted innovations like avocado-green appliances, trash compactors and burnt-orange Ozite kitchen carpeting with a pattern that could hide even the most horrific of blender explosions.

Those were the days in the late 1960s when the size of tract housing in the metro area grew as exponentially as did the size of suburban homes. It marked the birth of the walk-in closet and modern family room. Those became large, must-have additions to the back of a house, turning the modest living quarters of yesteryear into no-man’s land where no one ever went and required the most expensive furniture in the house. A place where a casual visitor at the front door couldn’t see how you really lived.

It seems like homes from that era took advantage of Aurora’s greatest resource at the time: cheap land. Big yards, big garages, big houses with rooms demanding big furniture. Brick boxes from just a decade before were finished.

Homebuilders and homebuyers have learned a lot since then. A trip through a handful of the city’s amazing new homes in this month’s issue shows just how much everyone has learned. Our staff writers reveal that useless rooms like the 1970s “front room,” the 1980s massive garage attached to a house that’s there someplace, and the sweeping, jaw-dropping entryways of the 1990s that were nothing but wasted space expensive to heat and cool, are just about gone.

Instead, new homes in Aurora boast fewer walls than ever. Coy entryways lead to home interiors that reflect how people really want to live. Rooms that let you cook dinner in the same area where the kids watch TV. Rooms that let all of your guests linger where everyone naturally congregates when they visit: the kitchen.

Not only have new homes become infinitely more practical and appealing for a place where even the governor works in jeans, but there are homes that apply the same principles for every sized family and price range.

Apartments at Aurora’s nascent retail-residential development at the Gardens of Havana, formerly known as the Nightmare at Buckingham Square Mall, are testaments to modernity, adding touches like central, open kitchens, counter-bars and low-slung lighting. Mid-priced new homes far out on Aurora’s plains are pushing ceilings high again, because the homes are so well-insulated, expensively heated and cooled air preserved behind gas-filled double-pane windows and LEED-certified walls.

And if space is the object, and money is too, Aurora’s reputation is that less buys much more. Developments near the Aurora Reservoir make that obvious, where for the same price as a ho-hum swank home in Arvada or Lone Tree, you can have a seaside mini-mansion with a perfectly appointed home theater, sweeping decks or maybe even a lighthouse.

Read on and see if there isn’t something that makes you curious as to what could be better than swag lamps and shag carpeting.

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