Architects Reveal Consumer Trends in Home Design
It's nice when industry experts like National Association of Home Builders and popular interior design sites like Houzz, give you insight into consumer trends. Today we share insight from an equally valuable organization - the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
This week the AIA released its findings from a quarterly "Home Design Trends' survey. This survey gives us insight, directly from Architects, of the rooms, building trends, and products that matter most to consumers.
Let's see what we can uncover from the experts involved early on the construction and home design process.
Improved Outlook for Architects
The last few years have not been kind to architects, especially residential architects, due to the recession. Between 2008 and 2009, architectural firms saw a reduction of staff by nearly 25%. Not to mention average home size, something that has been steadily growing since the 1980's, has been steady at 2500 square feet between 2007 and 20012. So architects had less projects and smaller projects.
But many survived. They employed thrifty business management and creative business models. They shifted their focus from new homes to remodels; shifted to new client demographic - first time home builders to senior citizens with more disposable income; or new markets altogether - relocating the firm to a completely new area.
According to AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, architects are making a comeback thanks to the housing recovery efforts across the country. The Architectural professional is seeing a return to bigger and better homes that incorporate more special features and technology, than ever.
Specialty Rooms and Automation for Homeowners
During the recession and housing crisis homeowners had to make hard decisions about what to include in their homes. It was during this time, that seemingly superfluous rooms took a backseat to architectural necessities. But so far in 2013, architects report a shift in homeowners as they include more special features in their new home and remodeling plans.
Outdoor living spaces are a clear winner, with the home office and mudroom tied for second.
So why the emergence of outdoor living as such a popular architectural feature? There are at least two logical explanations.
First, the beauty of outdoor living spaces is you don't have to go away to get away you just have to go outside. And if you didn't know this already, Harvard Healthcare reports that spending more time outdoors makes you happier, improves your concentration, and exercise levels go up.
Second, a depressed real estate market means homeowners are staying put, while also wanting to upgrade their spaces for greater enjoyment - or higher resale value when the real estate market does rebound.
Whatever the reason, outdoors spaces are becoming even more lavish than ever. Forget the gas grill, in-ground pool or fire pit for roasting marshmallows on a warm summer's eve. Think entire living spaces with:
...Expansive outdoors patios
...Full Outdoor Living
If you are looking for more ideas check out HGTV:
Aside from specialty rooms, Architects also reported in Q2, an increased number of clients incorporating automation into the home.
The Automated Home is a reality for everything from keyless front door entries to mobile apps that turn on, turn off, or unlock just about every device in your home. Technology plays a bigger role in the home, with nearly 63% of survey respondents reporting that wireless telecommunications/data systems are increasing in popularity (not surprising that home offices are also popular given that trend).
But the home automation and technology options go so much further than just ensuring you avoid the archaic dial up. Homeowners can take advantage of systems that control their energy consumption and management, incorporate back up power, and also basic household appliances - think entryway camera to make sure your child gets home from school safe, or unlocking the front door for a repair-person.
Not surprisingly, docking stations for electric cars are also showing up more, and this trend is expected to increase in coming years with the emergence and affordability of more electric cars into the market. Another item of popularity, that goes hand in hand with electric cards, the need for products that promote conservation, efficiency and healthy homes.