There is more space being devoted to kitchens in U.S homes, while emphasis on bathrooms remains stable, according to the fourth quarter 2011 American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey.
The survey, which focused specifically on kitchens and bathrooms, found that households continue to demand products and features that promote energy efficiency and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns. Residential architects who participated in the survey also reported that business conditions are improving and there is a strong demand for remodeling and renovation projects.
“During the lowest points of the housing downturn, kitchen design fell as a priority. However, this space is once again the real heartbeat of a home, with open design and integration with other living space,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “The last few years have seen kitchens take on new functions with dedicated computer areas and recharging stations.”
In kitchens, the percentage of architects reporting an increase in popularity less those reporting a decrease for adaptability/universal design was 34 percent, up from 26 percent in 2010. Architects reporting an increase in popularity less those reporting a decrease for renewable flooring materials remained nearly unchanged from 35 percent in 2010, at 36 percent in 2011, while natural wood cabinets decreased from 19 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2011, larger pantry space fell from 43 percent in 2010 to 33 percent in 2011, and renewable countertop materials decreased one percent in popularity to 31 percent in 2011.
“For bathrooms, minimizing utility costs is a principle concern for homeowners and products such as LED lighting, dual flush and water saving toilets are in increasing demand,” Baker said.
Popular bathroom products in 2011 were LED lighting, up in popularity to 57 percent in 2011, from 46 percent in 2010. Architects reporting popularity increases less those reporting popularity decreases in water saving toilets fell from 58 percent in 2010 to 53 percent in 2011, while accessibility/universal design increased in popularity 7 percent to 51 percent in 2011, dual flush toilets increased from 43 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2011, radiant heated floors and linen closets/storage both remained unchanged at 41 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
The index score for billings rose to 48 for the fourth quarter of 2011, from 45 in the third quarter of 2011, but still below the "positive" indicator score of 50, while inquiries for new projects rose from 52 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 57 percent in the fourth quarter.
The index score of respondents reporting improving conditions minus those reporting weakening conditions was at 44 for kitchen and bath remodeling, -8 for the custom/home luxury market, -18 for the move-up home market, -19 for the first-time buyer market, -23 for the townhouse/condo market and -51 for the second/vacation home market. For more on the survey, visit www.aia.org.
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