Redefining Home: How We Live Today

While having a home of your own is still considered sweet, as our culture changes, so are the requirements for living. That American cultural icon of the two-story, one-family home with the white picket fence as the penultimate of a happy life has expanded. Living options are as diverse as the slices in an pie chart.

Between people living longer, the delay of marriage to the late 20s, changing family structures, today’s hectic lifestyles, and the advances in technology, there is a wide variation in styles of and needs for living. A home may be living space for a nuclear family, a millennial couple, a multi-generational family, a group of friends, a single choosing to remain single, empty nesters, or active seniors.

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Television has also changed our view of how to use our living spaces. HGTV offers views into ways of living in places different from those many of us grew up with. It has also made us all aware of not only the use of space, but how our living affects our planet, and drives our lifestyle. Tiny homes, open floor plans, repurposed materials, and indoor/outdoor living are all ideas that have entered our consciousness through interior design and remodeling programming.

Murfreesboro and Rutherford County are no exceptions to the changing face of home. From tiny homes to low maintenance community living with high-end features and amenities to remodeling historical downtown homes to vast options in senior living, the new definitions of living are hitting the dirt.

Tiny Homes are Here

Just a few months ago, a tiny home model made a visit to 84 Lumber on Broad Street. It was not there as a sideshow oddity, but to promote the fact that 84 Lumber offers four tiny houses online in response to the growing movement. All of these homes are less than 250 square feet and can take to the open road, or stay put.

All of the homes have loft sleeping quarters, a galley kitchen, sitting area, dining area, hidden storage, and a bathroom. With downsizing as a growing trend, these homes will make a packrat whimper. But empty nesters and Millennials are being drawn to the flexibility that they provide. As one promotional clip on HGTV states, it offers the opportunity to invest in experiences instead of home maintenance.

Townhomes Are the New Starter Home

“Building of townhomes is on the rise,” said Matthew Bromeley, Murfreesboro Assistant Director of Planning. “They are the new starter home. Prices of single-family developments are out of budget for starters. Townhouses also appeal to those wanting to downsize and empty nesters.”

Bromeley further noted that for those looking for a first home, townhomes offer an opportunity to build equity, but without the time commitment of traditional home upkeep. New townhouse developments are on the drawing board in the area around The Avenue, offering proximity to dining and shopping that Millennials demand.

Springfield House on Manson Pike is a new townhome and apartment complex with the most current design that will center around the historic 1909 house (pictured above) from which the complex gets its name. The home will be part of the amenities provided on site. “…[W]e will host Sunday Brunches, music on the lawn, games, etc., in and around the house,” said Shae Newcomb, Community Director. “Other amenities will include a saltwater resort style pool, an outdoor fireplace and grill, a fire pit, a bark park, a pub, a café, and a mail concierge.”

Right-Sized Homes

While not everyone wants to move into a tiny home, the trend is towards smaller homes on less square feet of land. “Traditionally, homes have been built on 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of land,” said Bromeley, but now lots are between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet. People are looking for less commitment to upkeep.”

New developments are offering buyers what they are looking for. The Retreat at Marymont Springs is an example of this new concept in living. “It offers homes around 2,800 square feet built with an old-fashioned community feel,” said Pete Adams, of Adams Mabry Swann about his client’s offerings. “Southern Lifestyle Homes, the builder, offers 14 different floor plans, as well as green spaces for walking, a clubhouse, and a pool.”

Marymont Springs, as well as Southern Lifestyle Homes’ new development called Popular Grove, which is being developed off Pitts Lane, are being created with empty nest Baby Boomers in mind. But they are not over 55 communities.

Popular Grove will have high-end treatments attractive to anyone, but with universal design concepts that will allow for aging in place. It will be limited to 32 homes, with water gardens, a pickle ball court, a pavilion for neighborhood events, and brick paver streets. The homes will have 36-inch wide doors, no step up entries, and walk-in showers, perfect for those wishing to remain close to their old neighborhood, but downsize from a 5,000 square foot home. Best of all, the development will take care of the grass cutting, mulching, and landscaping.

Historic Downtown Gets New Life


Interest in remodeling and building in and around downtown Murfreesboro began a few years ago, but it is on the rise as more and more people want to live within walking distance of the restaurants and shops on the square. This growing interest in downtown Murfreesboro is what spurred the recent North Highland and Historic Bottoms land use studies to help prepare for the future of the area.

“…[S]o many of [the houses downtown] have so much character and just need a little TLC and curb appeal to bring them back to life,” said Judy Goldie, owner of Bella’s and Trendy Pieces on the square.

Goldie and partner, Melanie Davenport, have flipped four older homes. “We not only give them a cosmetic upgrade,” added Davenport, “we go deeper by redesigning rooms; creating open concepts; adding upgraded kitchens and baths; … we also bring these homes up to codes on all electrical, plumbing, and safety for the new home owners; and then we give it a big dose of curb appeal.”

“We think people love the feeling they get downtown,” said Goldie. “The houses are unique, they love the diversity, the walkability to restaurants, shopping, and farmer’s market. When we moved into our new home two and a half years ago, it was so amazing how many neighbors brought us cards, cookies, plants, dinner, etc. The neighbors here are like none other.”

Apartment Homes are Just That, Home

The newest apartment communities in Murfreesboro make a point of bringing residents together. Perhaps it is the impersonalization of our technological world, but renters are no longer just looking for a place to live, they are looking for a place to connect with others.

3343 Memorial, Henley Station, and The Vintage at The Avenue all provide the latest in apartment living. Features like pools, fitness areas, access to dining and shopping, and social activities. 3343 provides a cyber lounge. Henley Station offers a volleyball court, which stays busy during the summer. The Vintage is pet friendly, offering a bark park and dog spa. All provide custom finishes, upscale features, and modern luxury living.
“From your private balcony or over-sized windows you’ll revel in the mountainous views for which Middle Tennessee is made famous,” said Melanie Schlachter, Community Manager for The Vintage at The Avenue. “Feeling social? Join your neighbors at the grill, the pool deck, or grab a glass of wine and head to one of our two roof-top lounges.”

Senior Living Doesn’t Mean Slowing Down

For those over 55 who are ready to give up the responsibility of maintaining a home, residential living is the answer. AdamsPlace provides transportation to activities all over Middle Tennessee, as well as shopping and dining. Residents can swim in their saltwater pool, take an exercise class, or be pampered in the salon.

The Crossings at Victory Station, set to open in the spring, will have a plethora of amenities available to its residents, including a pub! Sunnington Assisted Living welcomes residents with many needs, inviting pets to come along, too! The Villages of Murfreesboro even has a putting green in the courtyard!

“Our residents are always on the go,” said Ann Clark, Executive Director of Assisted Living at AdamsPlace, “but for those who do need special care, we have just opened the Memory Care Unit in Assisted Living.”

Assisted living is much more than assistance-it’s a relief from many maintenance chores that come with owning a home. Murfreesboro is full of options that provide a true life experience!

WhatEver Home Looks Like To You, It’s Available Here

With all of the growth in Rutherford County, the living options are extensive. Senior, family, college student, couple, or empty nester, there is a home here for you. And, new concepts are being created every day, like co-living communities and homes with communal spaces, which are being experimented in other parts of Tennessee.

No matter whether you like the newest design finishes, or a home in an historic area with charm and reclaimed wood finishes, Murfreesboro has your home sweet home.