Five Design Elements Buyers are Choosing

2013 Real Estate Review | Dec 5, 2013 | By: Angela Colley |
New home construction has seen consistent growth in the last three years and sales of new homes are expected to increase by about 16 percent, or 580,000 homes, in 2014, according to Kiplinger’s Economic Outlooks. And as more homes are built, new architecture trends will begin to appear — slowly.

“Building is not an industry where big changes happen really fast,” said Amy Albert, editor of Custom Home Online. ”Things happen over time.”

Still, Albert named five home-design elements she expects to see more often in 2014:

1. Tranquility

More homeowners are seeing their homes as a place to get away from it all and relax, especially in certain rooms — particularly the bathroom. “The spa bathroom is really big as a result of more people traveling to nice hotels,” Albert said. In 2014, we’re likely to see bathrooms with walk-in showers, roomy bathtubs and tranquil designs become a big trend for homeowners.

2. Mission Control

In the past the kitchen was often built at the back of the house, attached to the garage, and away from high traffic areas, but that tradition is changing. In 2014 we’ll see the kitchen as the focal point of the house, often placed in the center of an open floor plan, especially as more homeowners start to use their kitchen space as a multitasking room, or as Albert calls it, “mission control.” By having the kitchen centered and open, parents can help children with homework, talk or pay bills — all while making meals.

3. Traditional Design

While “midcentury modern design is thriving” and will continue to do so in 2014, more homeowners are looking at traditional home styles, Albert said. For example, Craftsman homes with large porches, front columns and detailed gables will make a comeback in 2014. Queen Anne-style homes with asymmetrical facades and detailed gables may also see a resurgence. However, attention to detail will be important as homeowners look for exact replicas of the original styles.

4. Passive Homes

More U.S.-based architects are expected to include passive-house elements in their 2014 designs. Originally a European design, a passive house is built to work with the climate. For example, its roof may be pitched to make use of wind power, or it could have large windows installed to attract sunlight that heats the home. A passive-house design can slash energy consumption by up to 90 percent, according to Passive House Institute U.S.

5. Flex Rooms

Between the recession and the growing number of senior citizens in the United States, more households are becoming multigenerational. That change is leading to a developing trend in home building – flex rooms. Typically bedrooms, flex rooms are designed to give more privacy to larger families and usually include a separate space such as a reading area or study off the main bedroom area. These rooms may also be built with a change in mind. “Many flex spaces include a private entrance, which could later become a rental unit,” Albert said.



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Hiring a Home Builder?

When hiring a homebuilder, you need to ensure you pick someone with the right professional experience for your needs. There are many homebuilders to choose from, and it can be challenging selecting one with the ability to offer quality construction services. Here are 5 things you should consider before hiring a homebuilder.

1. Level of Experience

A potential builder must have several years of experience constructing homes similar to the one you want. Experience something that cannot be replaced.. Recent homes built by a contractor in consideration should feature the latest design and technology. The buildings should also meet all the applicable building codes. A lot can be said for a builder who has proven the quality of their services over the years.

2. External Relationships

The quality of a builder’s relationships with suppliers, engineers, architects and town planners is a key. Contractors who have excellent working relations with architects and interior design professionals are preferable, because it shows their ability to communicate and manage relationships. Another great benefit of external relationships is pricing. Builders who work with preferred providers may be able to obtain raw materials at a discounted price, reducing your overhead cost.

3. Ability to Offer Customized Solutions

When building a new home, you want to ensure everything is perfect. How flexible and accommodating will your potential builder be? Can they interpret your needs and turn them into reality? Customization of your home includes everything from doors, windows, lighting controls, entertainment systems and more. It’s the smallest details that make a house into your home. Make sure your builder feels the same way.

4. Time of Delivery

A reputable company should have a fixed period of time in which they will to complete your home. They should be able to provide you with a budget of the total costs and a timetable of all the projects with completion dates.

5. Do they feel right?

Finally and most importantly, is this someone you can work with for an extended period of time? This is an important question because it enables you gauge the overall ability of the contractor to meet your expectations. They need to have machinery, well-trained, experienced staff, and the finances necessary to complete your new home. Building a home is no small task, it may be one of the most important things you ever do. Above all else, make sure whomever you pick as your builder shows drive and commitment to constructing a quality home, efficiently and within budget.

About the Author
Post curtesy of Meggie Haneckow, guest blogger. Meggie loves travelling and blogging. The rest of the time, she loves to write about various topics. She is currently working for Home builders Cincinnati.

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4 Tips for Flooring Renovations

4 Tips for Flooring Renovations
Whether you’re remodeling to improve the functionality of a space, or just to trying to create a new look, flooring is a significant element of the design to consider. It takes time to research flooring styles, choose the right one, and prepare for your installation. If this is your first time updating the floors of your home, here are a few guidelines to help you through the process, from selection to installation.

Consider Your Goals
People may choose to update their floors as part of a bigger remodel, to increase the value of their home, or simply to create more interest. Ask yourself what your goals are. Moreover, what aspects of the flooring didn’t work in the past? Certain types of flooring are better for style and home value while others are ideal for large families and rooms with heavy traffic. Make sure you’re clear on your goals so that your new flooring is a true improvement to your home.

Learn about Styles
Different styles of flooring have different functionality. It’s important to choose the one that fits your taste and lifestyle, since the floors are a part of the décor that will last you a long time. A few of the major materials to research include hardwood, laminate, ceramic, and vinyl, although additional styles are always being developed. Also keep in mind that the look of natural materials such as stone and hardwood can be attained with synthetic styles, which may be cheaper and easier to maintain. Ask a professional flooring expert to advise you as you select the proper style for your home.

Plan the Installation
Once you’ve chosen the flooring type, make arrangements for the install. Flooring companies can provide professional installers to simplify the process. You will need to direct them to the proper room and confirm that they are installing the correct materials. If possible, choose a day and time when children aren’t in the house, and keep pets to a part of the house separate from where the installation is taking place.

Prepare Your Space
To make the entirety of the floor accessible, it’s crucial that you make sure all possessions are removed from the room. This includes furniture, small items, and art hanging on the walls. You should also clear the hallways so that installers can carry equipment in and out easily. If it’s hard to fit your things in another part of the house – and if you are remodeling more than one room – you may want to consider a storage container to keep everything safe, clean, and out of the way. You can select a storage unit to fit your possessions, even for a short amount of time.

About the Author
Larry Fisher writes about home renovations and home décor on behalf of Empire Today, which specializes in carpeting, laminate and hardwood flooring, and window treatments. Visit Empire Carpet for more flooring tips.

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