During the real estate boom, new home construction became a game of ever increasing square-footage. That had a certain logic to it: If you saw your house as an investment to make you rich, bigger could only mean better, right?

Now that the economy has unfurled and people are realizing that prices don’t always go up, houses are getting smaller — and more practical. Instead of feeding the desire for flash, architects and homebuilders are responding to how families actually spend time and use space, as well as to new buyers entering the market. “A house is back to being a house,” says Stephen Moore, a senior partner of the architecture and planning firm BSB Design in Des Moines, Iowa. Read full article by Barbara Kaviat at Time in partnership with CNN.