Whether or not Main Line home buyers are still willing to spend more for homes with “Green” features, as was reported in an American Institute of Architects 2008 survey, is not clear.
Our 2011 experience with buyers, especially in the luxury home market, is that while eco-friendly materials and energy efficient appliances are appreciated, buyers pocketbooks open wider for well designed and updated kitchens integrated into family space. This is supported by a 2011 report: Kitchens and Baths Regain Some Attention in Home Design by Kermit Baker the chief economist of the AIA.
Here are some pertinent facts for homeowners from the report.
“As the residential sector begins to recover, focus turns to making kitchens and baths more accessible and sustainable”
“Pressure on the number and size of kitchens and baths as a result of the housing downturn appears to be subsiding. A growing number of residential architects report that the number and size of kitchens and bathrooms have been increasing recently. Residential architects see growing popularity in pantry space and recycling centers in kitchens, while interest remains strong in integrating family space with kitchens. Similarly, bathrooms designed for adaptability and incorporating universal design features remain very popular. These are all key findings of the AIAs Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010.”
“Kitchens again the focal point”
“The AIAs 2009 survey of kitchen and bath design trends reported that more residential architects indicated that the size of kitchens was declining than increasing. This downsizing of kitchens may have run its course.”
“With less pressure on size, some special function areas within the kitchen remain popular. At the top of the list are pantry space and recycling centers, where almost half of residential architects are reporting increasing interest, and very few are reporting a decrease. With growing numbers of electronic devices being used, areas for recharging these devices (as well as general computer work) also remain popular features within kitchens. Integrating kitchens with family living space often called great rooms“remains a very popular design feature. Other more upscale kitchen features (double islands for working or eating, wine storage areas, composting bins, pet feeding and grooming areas) have more limited popularity at present.”
“Sustainable design is the dominant theme for popular kitchen products. Almost half of residential architects surveyed indicated that both renewable material flooring (like bamboo or cork) and countertops (concrete, bamboo) are gaining in popularity, while only a small share indicated that consumer interest was decreasing. Drinking-water filtration systems and natural wood cabinets still are showing reasonable gains in popularity. However, as with upscale design features for kitchens, upscale products are not faring well. Duplicate appliances, upper-end appliances, and natural stone countertops are all declining in popularity, according to a large share of residential architects.”
“Accessibility remains key design concern for bathrooms”
“Bathroom design that promotes accessibility and incorporates universal design elements topped the list of features growing in popularity, according to survey respondents. This concern has rated high for several years in the AIAs Home Design Trends Surveys, and an aging population ensures continued popularity for years to come. Radiant heated floors also were reported as a feature with increasing popularity in bath design.”
“Given the emphasis on accessibility and universal design, doorless showers and hand showers were reported as growing in popularity. However, topping the list of bath products were water conserving toilets both those directly using less water as well as those with a dual flush option. LED lighting is another bathroom product seeing continued, strong growth in popularity. Again, more upscale products (steam showers, towel warming racks or drawers, sensor operated faucets) were reported as having decreasing levels of popularity.”