What products and design elements are in hot demand this year? Some are surprising: quartz moving in on granite, master bath tubs falling out of favor. Others are extensions of what’s already popular: open floor plans getting more open, universal design continuing to gain ground.
These were among the trends shared by Denise Dersin, editor-in-chief of Professional Builder magazine, during a presentation at the International Builders’ Show Feb. 4. Based on her discussions with builders and what she observed among the winners of Professional Builder’s 2014 Design Awards, here’s what she sees dominating wish lists this year:
1. Open Wide(r)
The demand for open floor plans is here to stay—and getting bigger. The kitchen, great room, dining areas, and workspace are more and more essentially the same room. Kitchens are shedding their upper cabinets, with open shelving and larger pantries making up the storage difference.
2. Flex Appeal
It’s no secret—with the rise in open floor plans has come an abandonment of the formal dining room and living room. But families still need those spaces a couple times a year. Flex areas—rooms that serve multiple functions and can shift over time—are taking a more prominent place in the home, Dersin said. Minimal changes allow the space to morph from den to dining room to mother-in-law suite.
3. Islands: Large and in Charge
Busy homes revolve around the kitchen island, which now must serve as cooking prep zone, eating area, and homework station. Naturally, this means they’re getting bigger. To keep larger islands from becoming “aircraft carriers,” Dersin sees designers employing elements such as varied heights, contrasting colors, and fold-down leafs.
4. Let There Be Light
Demand for daylight is a trend that’s been hot for some time, particularly as energy costs rise. Builders and designers must continue to incorporate ways to allow natural light further into the home, such as with larger window walls and through creative use of transoms on exterior and interior walls.
5. A Place for Everything
Open floor plans can lead to clutter, so storage near the door has become a must-have, whether a full-on mudroom with cubbies and laundry or a simple drop-zone with a desk, phone-charging station, and coat hooks.
Though granite is still in demand, Dersin sees buyers also leaning heavily toward solid surfacing, quartz, soapstone, and even paper composites. She also sees color preferences headed in two opposite directions: softer and lighter or solid black.
7. Slab on the Back
Single-slab backsplashes, such as those made from marble or glass, are replacing the once-popular subway-tile look in the kitchen.
8. Bye, Bye Bathtubs?
At one time, a master bathroom without a tub/shower combo was unthinkable. But Dersin is observing a reversal, with many new homes doing away with tubs in the master entirely (provided there’s a tub somewhere else in the house). If there is a tub in the master, it’s generally a stand-alone version rather than a built-in, she said.
Luckily for baby boomers, universal design products such as grab bars and lever-handle faucets have shed much of their cold, industrial appearance, allowing for aging in place without losing the feeling of home. Other elements, such as wider doorways, low-threshold showers with stylish built-in benches, and drawer appliances, are hardly noticeable at all.
10. Defining Outdoors
Where the inside is getting more open, Dersin sees the outside space becoming more segmented, with smaller, dedicated entertaining spaces replacing vast expanses of lawn. Add heaters and partial enclosures to make those spaces useable nearly year-round.
To see more examples of trends, check out the winners of Professional Builder’s 2014 Design Awards.
Kernel-caressing microwaves, awesome lighting tricks, paper houses, and other product news from around the web this week.
• Office workers rejoice! A new microwave from Whirlpool has sound sensors that will adjust popcorn-cooking time for optimal results.
• When a simple sconce or spotlight just won’t do, try one of these 18 cool lighting tricks.
• 4 steps to squeak-free floors.*
• Top 10 truck trends for 2014.
• From spiral stairs to fiberglass doors to insulating housewrap, here’s a look at 38 more products from the Builders’ Show.
• 7 tools made right here in the U.S. of A.
• Walk-in closets and low-E windows—expected. Laminate countertops? Not so much. See “what’s most likely to show up in single-family homes in 2014,” according to an NAHB survey.
• We’re feeling a distinct urge to doodle. Check out these 10 houses made with paper.
• Have a gorgeous project featuring Marvin Windows? The manufacturer has opened its sixth annual Architects Challenge design contest.
*Disclosure: The author of this article is a client of this blog’s parent company.
Colors of the year, toxic-material buzzwords, top green products, and more product news from around the industry this week.
• We’ve entered that fun time when paint manufacturers begin releasing next year’s signature colors—those hues that reflect our current culture, state of mind, and style choices. Sherwin Williams’ pick for its color of the year is “Exclusive Plum,” described as a dusky, silky violet.
• Also releasing its color report is Pittsburgh Paints, whose “Book of Now” compilation of 2014 color forecast stories highlights keywords such as “versatile,” “optimistic,” “dynamic,” and “elegant.”
• This is also the time of year when magazines compile their favorite finds. One of the most respected is BuildingGreen’s Top 10 Green Products, which this year includes CLT and mineral wool.
• Broadening the scope, here are This Old House’s Top 100 favorite new-home products from the year.
• If your pickup’s past its prime, here’s a look at three truck models rolling off the lines in 2014.
• Our reclaimed-material-loving hearts are pounding over these bike chain chandeliers.
• Trying to keep toxic materials out of your projects? Memorize these 4 red-flag product descriptors.
• If there’s no room in the bathroom but plenty of room in the budget, try a wall-hung toilet on for size.
• 6 fun-and-functional products from the Remodeling Show.
• USGBC and UL are teaming up to increase building material transparency.
For many of us, the term “wallpaper” conjures images of dated, repetitive patterns, garish borders, and hours upon hours of sticky, steamy removal. In fact, it seems that “get rid of the wallpaper” is one of the few things all homeowners agree on when it comes to remodeling.
But over the past few years, wallpaper has been shedding its dirty-word status thanks to significant upgrades in styles and applications. Read the rest of this entry »
The slow-but-steady housing recovery and Americans’ growing desire for outdoor living space are helping to paint a fairly sunny picture for deck manufacturers, retailers, and builders. Read the rest of this entry »
Fungus-based green building materials, utilities versus solar, ceilings that soar, top-rated work trucks, and other product news from the past week.
- Are mushrooms, sheep’s wool, and bacteria the green building materials of the future? Read the rest of this entry »
2013’s trendy colors, life-saving air conditioning, inspiring islands, arguing against spray foam, and other product news from the past week.