Homeowner investment in kitchens, baths continues as real estate values grow

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Homeowner investment in kitchens, baths

continues as real estate values grow

As the housing recovery continues, homeowners investment in their kitchens and bathrooms remains a key focus, according to the American Institute of Architects recent home design trends survey. Kitchens in particular have solidified their standing as the center of operations within the home.

Energy efficiency, water conservation, and healthy home concerns are prevalent in the homeowner product choices in kitchens and baths. Likewise, accessibility considerations are often reflected in the planning for these areas of the home. These are among the major findings from the recebt AIA’s survey.

“The major point of emphasis in kitchen design nowadays revolves less around actual cooking activities,” says Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, and AIA chief economist. ”Rather, homeowners are looking for kitchens that are gathering spots for family and entertaining, as well as serving as a hub for electronic devices and recharging stations.”

“The kitchen has become what we call the ‘activator,’ the main space in the residence, and the design requirements often include high functionality to accommodate multiple activities,” says, James Walbridge, AIA, chair of the AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN). “The aesthetics of the kitchen have also changed as the composition and material selections have elevated the space to become an essential focal point of the total design.

“Another important trend we see appearing more, not only in kitchens but the entire project, is specifying healthier construction components such as paint, caulking, glues, grout and other potentially high VOC (volatile organic compounds) products, that may contain harmful ingredients and off-gas noxious fumes or vapors over time as they are curing,” says Walbridge.

Listed among the most popular kitchen products and features are LED lighting, a computer area/recharging station, larger pantry space, upper end appliances, double islands, adaptability/universal design, and drinking water filtration systems.

Most popular among bathroom products and features are LED lighting, doorless showers, adaptability/universal design, large walk-in showers, stall showers without tubs, water saving toilets, and radiant heated floors.

The survey also indicates that architects aer seeing growth in the “move-up home market” and in the townhome/condo market, as well as in the second home/vacation home market.

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on overall home layout and use (June 2015) specialty rooms and systems (September 2015) and community design trends (December 2015).

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.


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