Kitchen & Bath Design News

OCT 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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LAST MONTH, Trend Spotting looked at new construction trends for kitchens and the demographics underpinning home buying. Why look at new construction specifically? The national builders working on these projects have access to some of the top research in the country and the shifts they're spotting ulti- mately impact most of the industry, including remodels and additions. It's worth taking a look at what they're seeing. This month, we're look- ing at bathrooms with these same professionals and research. MARKET TRENDS RECAP Demand continues to outpace supply, which is helping to drive up home prices. Retiring boomers and millennials – entering the market in increasing numbers – want smaller starter homes that are increasingly hard to find. On the other hand, the National Association of Home Builders shared in its most recent (2017) Home Buyer study that "nearly one fourth of high-income buyers want more than three full bathrooms." Clearly, this segment is not going smaller. That's good news for kitchen and bath designers, dealers and fixtures companies. Builders are also becoming more design savvy, as are homebuyers (with access to Pinterest, Houzz, HGTV.com and other free platforms), notes long-time model home design consultant Mary DeWalt of Austin-based Mary DeWalt Design Group. She also observes that both millennials and boomers, (the country's two largest demographic groups), like the 'lock and leave' lifestyle that lets them travel whenever they want and split time between seasonal residences. This points to low- and no-maintenance home features that can extend into bathroom spaces, where maintenance issues like mold or leaks can become massive insurance claims. Accessibility showed up strongly in the NAHB study, as well, with first floor full bathrooms, wider doorways and halls, non-slip floors, shower seats and grab bars all appearing on the majority of homebuyers' want lists. Toll Brothers, which builds luxury homes, as well as condos and apartments in 22 states and the District of Columbia, sees smart-home technology and multi-generational design as major trends today. Millennials are a strong fo- cus for the national builder, as well, reports Tim Gehman, v.p. of design and innovation. The firm is designing contemporary townhomes and single-family residences with sub-1,500 square footage for this demographic, he says. BATHROOM TRENDS Another valuable resource is the American Institute of Architects fourth-quarter kitchen and bath studies reporting on what member architects are designing. Its most recent survey showed "Adaptability/Universal Design, stall shower without bathtub and larger walk-in showers all had over half of the respondents re- port them as increasing in trends," according to Kermit Baker, the AIA's chief economist. What's going into these new construction trends? The NAHB's study puts double vanity, both shower stall and tub, linen closet, granite tops and private toilet compartments high on homebuyer wish lists. Notably, too, "the white toilet, tub and sink combination scored considerably higher than the color alterna- tive." Spa tubs and multiple showerheads also showed up on wish lists. The AIA report noted that radiant floors are going into many bathroom projects, though that's likely to be more regional and didn't rank as highly as the accessibility features noted above. "We are seeing buyers introduce in- door/outdoor living to their master baths; fold-away doors lead you toward small, semi-enclosed terraces or gardens," shares Toll Brothers' Gehman. The company is also incorporating aging in place with downstairs New Construction Bathroom Trends BY JAMIE GOLD, CKD, CAPS Walk-in showers, freestanding tubs and accessibility features to facilitate aging in place are just some of the features homeowners want for their personal sanctuaries. Shades of white and gray are still trending strongly in the bath. Bath bars over mirrors are giving way to vertical installations. Photo: Courtesy of Mary DeWalt Design Group - Designer/Westin Homes – Builder Photo: Courtesy of Toll Brothers 32 Kitchen & Bath Design News • October 2018 TREND SPOTTING

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