10 home feature trends for 2014

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    In the 1950s, designers imagined that the homes of the 21st century would look pretty different than they do today. Automated kitchens would double as chefs, rooms would be furnished all in plastic, and they'd be circular and stuck under a dome.

    Homes being built today bear little resemblance to those imaginative dreams, but they do look different from the homes of the 1950s. Rooms are combined where they were once separate; small homes have morphed into McMansions; the kitchens have islands; the bathrooms no longer look like closets and the closets now look like whole rooms.

    Buyers are at the forefront of this process, demanding changes to how homes look and how they function. Buyers are increasingly demanding energy-efficient homes that are practical and encourage families to gather together. One of the most in-demand home features is actually a designated, first-floor laundry room, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders.

    The open kitchen trend continues to gain steam, while the trends toward smaller homes and bigger outdoor spaces are reversing. A first-floor master bedroom and the living room continue to be controversial among buyers. Here's a look at 10 trends in home building that may change the way we see the future of our homes.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.