Investment by Homeowners in Kitchen and Bathroom Design Continues

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As the housing recovery continues, homeowners investment in their kitchens and bathrooms remains a key focus. Kitchens in particular have solidified their standing as the center of operations within the home. Residential architects also report very healthy business conditions at their firms. 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 AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2014, which focused on kitchen and bath design trends.

“The major point of emphasis in kitchen design nowadays revolves less around actual cooking activities,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. ”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,” said, 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.”

Popular kitchen products and features*

2014

2013

LED lighting:

88%

87%

Computer area / recharging stations:

50%

37%

Larger pantry space:

43%

42%

Upper-end appliances:

35%

35%

Double Island

34%

29%

Adaptability / universal design:

32%

32%

Drinking water filtration systems:

31%

25%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Popular bathroom products and features*

2014

2013

LED lighting

81%

80%

Doorless showers

66%

58%

Adaptability/universal design

63%

60%

Large walk-in showers

61%

62%

Stall shower without tub

56%

61%

Water saving toilets

43%

44%

Radiant heated floors

39%

32%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2014 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 60

• Inquiries for new projects: 67

Baker added, “Business conditions are as prosperous for residential architects as they have been since prior to the Great Recession. In recent years, the remodeling and renovation market was providing the bulk of the billings, but now the custom design market is also on more solid footing and positioned well for the months to come.”

Specific construction segments

2014

2013

Additions / alterations

61%

65%

Kitchen and bath remodeling

55%

64%

Custom / luxury home market

35%

37%

Move-up home market

35%

33%

Townhouse / condo market

15%

13%

First-time buyer / affordable home market

8%

13%

Second / vacation home market

3%

-5%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity