Modern Homes Building and Design Elements in Houston

12:22 Nov 2023
Houston Modern Homes

The building of modern homes in Houston is uniquely different than the construction of traditional houses due primarily to the design elements that trademark modern homes architectural style.

Characterized by the design structures clean lines, soring ceilings and open spaces make for spectacular views but can create certain types of challenges for building modern house structures.

Cantilevered structures and the common use of large clearstory windows contribute to the limits of balancing sound engineering with architecture.

Modern homes are typically symmetrical in their shape and their form is commonly a series of cubes or rectangular designed spaces.

Collectively with all these architectural elements make for potential house architecture radically different from the surrounding neighboring houses.

This can present problems with receiving approval from established neighborhoods home owners associations compliance with the areas deed restrictions. These approvals are required by the City of Houston to issue a building permit.

Many of these features and design elements contribute to the difficulty and rising cost of construction for this style of house.

Our intention is to discuss these features and relationships between building and design of modern homes in Houston.

What are Modern Homes

Modern homes have many different meanings to different groups. There are three very different characterizations of these houses that are commonly used.

The first depiction is when the term is used as the expression of an architectural house design style. That is the context of this article.

In second representation is when folks will use this house description in reference to interior design home enhancement amenities.

Thirdly, the modern home can also be used in context of a time period of house designs. To add to the referenced confusion, these time periods could also be used to depict a past or future tense of architecture.

If contemporary architectural house design appeals to you or not, it captures people’s imagination and conjures up thoughts of the old cartoon “The Jetsons”.

The beauty of simple but elegant form design can leave one in utter silence as we absorb its superb presence.

The actual design is driven by an abundance of natural light and making the outdoors a functional part of the interior.

The easiest way to picture the best in these contemporary houses is to think of the house design named Falling water created by Franklin Llyod Wright in 1934.

Falling water is represents the architectural style and best defines what a modern home design is all about.

Learn about building unique design elements of modern homes in Houston

Houston Modern Homes

Architectural Modern Homes

The strictest characterization of modern homes in Houston is the architectural definition. A modern home plan is typically referred to as a post and beam house structure that has either a flat or shed like roof structure.

They are frequently open structures with an abundance of fixed glass to allow light to illuminate the interior and allow the surrounding landscape to become an extension of the interior.

The two common versions of these houses are the classic modern home and contemporary modern home.

The classic modern home is often referred to as a mid century home, because it was so commonly built during mid 1930 – 1960 periods.

This style of architecture is association with the use of many natural materials like stone and wood. The color schemes for these homes are often shades of whites and very earthy color tones which complement the natural material color shades.

The most common version of the classic house version in Houston are the one story ranch houses. These houses reflected vaulted ceilings from a simple low pitch gable roof line and an open floor plan for the living areas.

Today’s contemporary homes are a current adaptation of the classic modern home. These structures are currently built with steel columns instead of wood columns and engineered beams instead of nominal sized wood beams.

Contemporary homes are also constructed using many energy efficient products that were not available 50+ years ago.

Large insulated windows, stainless steel railing systems and uniquely shaped structures are benchmarks for contemporary modern homes.

The sleek captivating appearance of these homes has had an unimaginable impact on the future of architectural design over the years.

Interior Design

Other than the fore mentioned architectural design features of contemporary homes the interior design has very distinctive characteristics.

They commonly feature sleek and uniquely shaped furniture pieces consisting of polished metal legs and feet. This gives the furniture a sense of floating.

The interior furniture pieces are commonly small in profile and simple in form. This allows the eye to be drawn to the architectural design instead of the interior design and give the space a sense of volume.

Contemporary houses interior design is greatly enhanced when art collections are used to compliment the space.

The large areas of glass and wall space make for a wonderful backdrop to dramatically stage the art pieces statement.

The use of the whites and earth tone wall colors are the perfect surroundings to elucidate the artist images.

 As daytime turns to nighttime the strategically placed incandescent lighting takes stage changing once again the persona of the interior design space and features.

In most cases with the interior design of contemporary houses the decorating is usual intentionally understated, characterized by simple slab paneled cabinetry, minimal hardware, oversized windows and smartly placed transoms.

The focus is on the texture and personality of the natural materials used to clad both interior and exterior of the home.

Modern Homes in Houston

Current Modern Home Design Trends

Over the last 10 years contemporary homes have made a resurgence in Houston. As home and land prices in the close in metro areas of Houston have steadily increased, both designers and builder have been required to build vertically.

New home construction in metro Houston have climbed to 3, 4 and 5 stories to optimize the value of the land.

This increases the density of houses that can be built on a specific lot, where by reducing the actual lot cost attributed to the home.

The contemporary modern home plan is a very popular answer to these rectangular box structure designs.

This type of construction is enhanced further by many of the new engineered structural products that allow for greater room spans and cantilevered floors and balconies.

These vast open spaces complimented by high ceilings make for a natural recipe for interior design for contemporary homes.

There is likely a long and trending future for contemporary homes in Houston for the coming years.

The simplistic but majestic influences of modern home design in Houston or elsewhere makes for a viable solution to escalating home construction cost.

With the popularity of exposed stained concrete floors and ever-increasing demand for natural stone use in new home construction, contemporary modern home design will continue to evolve and take its place as one of the most desired architectural design styles in the future.

Cost of Modern Homes

The cost of modern home construction is generally speaking in line with other architectural design style houses building cost.

While ranch style houses are more cost effective to build than most house styles the contemporary modern homes are slightly above the average cost to build than other options.

This is primarily due to the cost of large oversized windows, engineered building components that allow architects to advance these houses features and flat roofs that require more expensive waterproof membranes than pitched roof.

Another contributing factor to rising cost on these types of houses is the advancement of energy saving techniques such as foam insulation, smart glass windows with composite frames and some types of labor cost.

The labor cost is attributed to items such as framing. Most framers are not familiar with modern home construction and techniques associated with handle long spam engineered components and the supplemental steel support items that are used for some of the unique architectural features of the modern house.

The cost of building a modern house will continue to be expensive because of the unique architectural design and scarcity of experienced tradesmen.


The building and design of contemporary modern homes in Houston can be challenging, but the unique architectural style that it introduces on the appropriate building site creates a natural eye-catching architectural brilliance.

One of the most important challenges is the acceptance and joy of the lifestyle tranquility that the modern home lifestyles offer.

The lifestyle introduced by living in a modern house is a sense of oneness with the exterior as much as the interior. Large spaces that endlessly flow with an abundance of natural light provides an inner peace and tranquility with your space and natural surroundings.

Due of these features many people do not like this lifestyle. They find it to be uncomfortable and lacks the privacy that traditional style of houses offers with fewer windows and more defined spaces with walls.

Because of this emotional reaction it is wise to spend sometime living in such a designed house to determine if it is a desirable fit or an uncomfortable fit for you.

Either way it is fair to say that modern homes have had a huge impact on influencing the architectural and interior design today’s houses.

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