Time has become a luxury for many families and individuals. If we can find opportunities to be more efficient—in any aspect of life—we take advantage. These ideas apply to how we construct our homes as well. Our homes are a personal reflection of our values. If you have the chance to remodel or build, do it in a way that not only gives you the biggest bang for your buck, but also optimizes your opportunities for comfort, quality time together and self-expression.
Heart of the Home
Kitchens serve as the heart and hub of many homes. They are a central location for cooking, entertaining, working, doing homework with the kids and more. When done well, investments made in kitchen remodeling typically reap a nice return. Homeowners today value functional storage with less space, and the open concept kitchen continues to thrive. Islands are popular, according to Carol Marshman at Higgins Cabinetry, and installing them at counter height helps give homeowners more workspace. Granite and quartz top the list as the most in-demand countertop materials.
“Going green to save some green” is no longer a trend reserved for the wealthy and environmentally impassioned; it’s common practice. Inclusion of Energy Star-rated appliances, windows and other products now strongly influences the modern homeowner’s design and budget—and for good reason. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average homeowner spends 75 cents per square foot on electricity. In newer, more energy-efficient homes, owners spend 65 cents per square foot—a cost savings that adds up quickly.
Gone are the days of big closets being only a dream. In today’s homes, master bedroom walk-ins are standard, and there are endless ways to maximize the space within them. According to Jenni Jordan of Med City Builders, walk-in closets can be custom-designed to accommodate storage for apparel, shoes, jewelry and much more. They can include built-in cabinetry, seating and even a window to bring in natural light. What used to be a “closet” is now more comparable in size to a small bedroom.
Well-appointed walk-ins go hand-in-hand with elaborate master bathrooms designed with all the trimmings, from radiant in-floor heating to designer lighting and beyond. Bathtubs in the master are becoming a thing of the past. “More homeowners are opting for walk-in showers and multiple showerheads,” says Jordan. Popular surveys agree. According a to Winter Bathroom Trends Study conducted by Houzz in 2013, today 43 percent of homeowners prefer only a shower.
Furnishing and putting the final touches on the setting is what makes a house your home. In 2014, there was a co-mingling of vintage decor with innovative, modern pieces. According to Jennifer Noonan’s article “These 8 Vanished Home Trends Have Returned,” shag carpeting is making a comeback (in throw rugs), as are brass fixtures and accents, bold wallpapers, shaker cabinets and painted finishes.
Trends don’t indicate change as much they as do refinement. There will be more products designed to make homes more energy efficient and quality time more effective. Focus will continue to provide more functionality and better flow to maximize space. Buyers and builders will continue to work together to personalize and customize homes that satisfy budget requirements.
Jenee M. Cummings is a freelance writer.