AIA Findings – Home Features and Designs
Every quarter the American Institute of Architects (AIA) conducts a survey that covers topics such as home characteristics, neighborhood design trends, kitchen and bath features and more. The survey is conducted by a panel of 600 architectural firms that practice mainly in the residential sector.
Recently, the findings of their Spring 2014 were released. They show evidence that as the economy continues its upward climb that homeowners are again feeling good about investing in their home. Residential remodeling activity is up and improvements and features that disappeared during the economic downturn are back in demand.
In 2014, popular trends include home accessibility, energy usage and cost management. This is demonstrated by a revival in special function rooms, a resurgence of smart home features such as those that improve accessibility and automation, and, the use of products that promote energy efficiency and sustainability.
One of the most popular special function rooms continues to be the outdoor living room, which transforms ordinary outdoor spaces into open-air living rooms that add to the family’s usable living space and comfort, year-round.
The improving economy has given rise to self-employment and telecommuting, which has driven the need for dedicated home offices. Also, with more people back to work outside the home, there is also the concurrent need for private space for in-home care givers for young and old, or independent suites or rooms for aging parents or grown children returning to live under one roof.
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Features that improve accessibility have gained popularity. Wanting to insure that their home suits their needs as they age, many homeowners are making improvements that make their home more accessible for themselves or visiting family and guests. Favored improvements include first floor master suites, on-grade home entry, ramps and elevators, and easy-to-use features.
Because the technology has become more available, user friendly and affordable, home automation features are being incorporated into both new home and older home remodel designs. Desired features include wireless telecommunication and data systems, remote electrical controls and smart home systems, automated lighting controls and centralized audio and video systems.
Energy efficiency and sustainability enhancements are also driving building and remodel activity. Energy management systems such as smart thermostats, solar heating, and docking stations for electric cars are being installed by homeowners seeking to control and lessen their current and future energy costs. Likewise, there is widespread availability of reasonably priced products that reduce energy usage such as triple glazed windows, tankless water heaters, STAR rated appliances, and water saving devices. Low maintenance, sustainable products made from synthetic materials are popular choices for decking, siding and house trim.
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Today’s trends, as confirmed by architectural and home building industry experts, show homeowners are responding favorably to the improved economy by investing in their homes and in their futures.