Predictions From the Builders Show

Walking the convention floor in Orlando for the International Builders

Show takes perseverance, politeness and comfortable shoes. But when you are in search of the next big thing, then walking and talking is what it is all about. This year some distinct trends appeared. Some are repeats recast in a new way and others are simply emerging.

  • Small is the New Big
    The trend among home buyers favoring smaller homes with open multifunctional rooms continues. “The sense of entitlement that people used to feel about having everything they wanted in their homes is being replaced by a sense of gratitude for things they already have,” says Jill Waage, editorial director of Better Homes & Gardens’ Home Content Core.
  • Island Living
    Islands, the perennial darling of kitchen plans, hold even more potential in new-home plans updated for modern living. Marc Thee, co-CEO and co-founder of Marc-Michaels Interior Design in Winter Park, Fla., suggests eliminating the breakfast nook to make room for a larger island, which can be useful both for casual family dining and for giving guests something to gather around. He encourages, “Give them something people can hang on to—something to get the party started.”
  • Storage is Still King
    Lack of storage is the No. 1 complaint from most homeowners. And it’s something that homes rarely offer enough of It is particularly critical near the home entry, be it back or front of the house. Hopefully this new conversation about mudrooms will create more options for proper shelving and storage near the entrance, including a drop zone for keys and recharging electronics, etc.
  • Universal Design Reinvents Itself
    Although it’s hard not to mention the term “universal design” without referencing baby boomers (the graying of this generation of 78 million is certainly creating a sense of urgency on matters of home safety and accessibility), UD proponents are quick to note that it isn’t just for older homeowners.

    “The new universal design is pretty, easy to use, and has high-tech functionality that is nearly invisible,” Brookfield, Conn.-based kitchen designer Mary Jo Peterson pointed out during a press conference on the topic. “Right now this is a concept that is age driven, but truly the target should be everybody.”

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