Interest in Kitchens and Bathrooms Beginning to Build

April 11, 2011

Kitchen or bath remodeling projects may be picking up! According to a recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends survey, homeowners are indicating a preference for larger and, in some cases, additional kitchens and baths.

Economic problems and a decline in home values have, in part, been the cause of more modest kitchen and bath designs in recent years. That trend seems to be easing up, however, as households continue to desire products and features that promote energy efficiency and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns.

Residential architects are seeing business conditions stabilize and there is a new demand for remodeling and renovation projects. These findings come from the AIA Home Design Trends survey for the fourth quarter of 2010, which focused specifically on kitchens and baths.

 “We are not seeing the same level of demand for larger and additional kitchens and bathrooms as we saw during the peak of the housing market, but there has been a shift away from downsizing those rooms that has taken place the over last two years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Key considerations are the amount of pantry space, dedicated recycling centers and the integration with family space allowing for easier child care and home entertaining.”

Other popular kitchen products and features, according to the survey, are renewable flooring materials, computer area/recharging stations, renewable countertop materials, drinking water filtration systems, adaptability/Universal Design and double islands.

 “In order to help manage utility costs, homeowners are still opting for items such as water-saving toilets and LED lighting,” said Baker. “Accessibility within the home and demand for Universal Design principles continue to be a priority and should remain so for the foreseeable future given the aging U.S. population.”

Desirable bath products and features on the survey also included doorless showers, radiant heated floors, handshowers and linen closet/storage.    

“The encouraging signs for the still struggling residential market are the increase in inquiries for new projects and that project backlogs at firms—the amount of work in-house and under contract—can now support current staff for over three months. Backlogs have been slowly trending up since early 2009,” said Baker.

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