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Tag Archives: American Institute of architects

Pace of remodeling activity expected to pick up after slow start to 2019

Michael J. Berens

Thursday, April 11, 2019

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Pace of remodeling activity expected to pick up after slow start to 2019

Coming off a strong period of sustained growth, demand for remodeling services softened somewhat in the first quarter of the year. Although growth remained positive, industry professionals reported lower levels of business activity and shortened periods of project backlogs compared with the previous quarter. Nonetheless, remodelers are optimistic that better business conditions in the second quarter will revive demand.

Early forecasts had predicted that industry growth in 2019 would remain positive but at a more modest pace than in the past several years.

The most recent Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) release, for example, projected that gains in renovation and repair spending to owner-occupied homes in the U.S. will shrink from 7.5% in 2018 to 5.1% in 2019. MetroStudy anticipates that remodeling growth will stabilize and ease slightly, dropping from a 4.8% increase in 2018 to 3.0% this year.

Signs of a slowdown can be seen in some recent industry reports. The just-released Q2 2019 Houzz Renovation Barometer finds activity in the first quarter dropped across most sectors compared to the fourth quarter of last year. The Recent Business Activity Indicator for architects and design services fell two points. The Project Backlog Indicator remained steady at 4.7 weeks but was down 1.4 weeks from the same period a year ago.

Overall, the construction sector experienced flat growth compared to the previous quarter, which had declined from earlier in the year. The backlog of projects remained steady but were 4.8 weeks below that of a year ago.

Similarly, the American Institute of Architects, in releasing the results of its first quarter 2019 Home Design Trends Survey, reports business conditions were positive but softened in the fourth quarter of 2018 for architects working on home remodeling projects. Billings in the fourth quarter slid 7.7 points from the previous quarter, and new project inquiries were down 6.1 points. Year-over-year, demand for remodeling additions or alterations plunged from 61% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 41% in the same period of 2018, and kitchen and bath remodel projects slipped from 57% to 43%.

According to Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, professionals participating in the Barometer survey attributed the slowdown to “unusually cold and wet weather conditions, in addition to consumer apprehension caused by the government shutdown, tax refund uncertainty, and the high costs of products and materials.” They expect that, with business conditions and weather improving, activity will revive in the coming months.

The Expected Business Activity Indicator for architects and designer services professionals rose five points from the previous quarter, and for the construction sector was up two points. Professionals anticipate that both the number of new committed projects and project inquiries will increase over the next quarter. Recent indications that the housing market also is picking up should give remodelers an additional boost.

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About the Author

Michael J. Berens

Michael J. Berens is a freelance researcher and writer with more than 30 years of experience in association communication and management. He can be reached at mjberensresearch@gmail.com.

Continue reading Pace of remodeling activity expected to pick up after slow start to 2019

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Industry Pros Share Top Outdoor Kitchen And Living Room Trends

 

Outdoor kitchens topped the project trends list in the latest American Institute of Architects’ survey, which is not terribly surprising, given people’s love of living outside. But the survey didn’t go into detail on what homeowners are putting into those spaces. As we move into the warmer months, it’s worth looking at what’s popular for outdoor kitchens and their related living areas.

Luxury moves outdoors

“Homeowners are seeking the sanctuary of outdoor living spaces – both for entertaining and unwinding,” shares Atlanta-based landscape designer David Bennett. These spaces are likely to have architectural structures like pergolas, walls, custom fireplaces, hedges and varying elevations to create privacy and distinct rooms with a natural indoor-outdoor flow, he notes. “Divided living spaces encourage conversation gathering, including screening areas for watching the big game or a movie, and heating and cooling systems to ensure year-round use.” These outdoor rooms may also be equipped with water, light and fire design features, as well as heating and cooling systems for year-round use, he says.

Outdoor kitchens are getting more elaborate, both for entertaining and relaxing.

Outdoor kitchens are getting more elaborate, both for entertaining and relaxing.

LYNX, AVAILABLE THROUGH FERGUSON BATH, KITCHEN & LIGHTING GALLERY.

Premium cooking

“In the past, many homeowners focused solely on their grill, and perhaps some outdoor seating,” recalls Mary Hannah Fout, senior marketing manager with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.“Today, many homeowners are accompanying the grill with a fully functioning built-in kitchen complete with sink and faucet, refrigeration, dishwasher, ice machine, beverage unit, pizza oven, weather resistant cabinets and more. Smart appliances are becoming very popular and it comes as no surprise that smart technology is also trending in the outdoor kitchen,” she comments. “Many grills and smokers are now wi-fi enabled, some even have voice recognition,” she adds.

Outdoor kitchens are getting equipped with pizza ovens and other gourmet appliances.

Outdoor kitchens are getting equipped with pizza ovens and other gourmet appliances.

LYNX, AVAILABLE THROUGH FERGUSON BATH, KITCHEN & LIGHTING GALLERY

Even with all of the extras, the grill is still king of the outdoor kitchen. “No longer is stainless steel the only option,” Fout declares. “Grills are available in bright red, sunny yellow, royal blue, hunter green, and more! The ability to customize your outdoor space allows the homeowner to complement the surrounding landscape and views or extend the home’s décor into the exterior.”

Style coordination

This is also true for flooring that can extend seamlessly from interior to exterior, coordinating cabinetry and wall-width, track-free doors that completely open rooms to each other. “Exactly as the interior kitchen and bathroom design trends have shifted towards more sleek and modular aesthetics, so too have outdoor designs,” comments landscaper, contractor and designer Joe Raboine, now director of residential hardscape for outdoor products manufacturer Belgard. “To mirror the look inside the home, homeowners are choosing longer, linear plank pavers outdoors, and playing more with texture and color than in the past. This trend extends beyond modern homes, with this look translating to every home style.”

Outdoor living areas are sharing contemporary styles with their indoor counterparts.

Outdoor living areas are sharing contemporary styles with their indoor counterparts.

BELGARD

Nature connection

“There is a growing awareness about the importance of individuals being connected to nature,” Raboine observes. “That is why you see vertical gardening and the integration of container gardens adjacent to outdoor cooking areas. There is also an increased awareness of how an outdoor space can enhance the habitat, specifically through permeable pavers and plant choices, which can help with water drainage and more.”

Cassy Aoyagi, president of Los Angeles area-based FormLA Landscaping. acknowledges the strong nature connection, too, especially for cooking. “What we see now is increased interest in having edibles integrated into gardens, particularly in areas close to their outdoor kitchens,” she shares. “This has taken the form of grape vine fencing and raised beds where grabbing herbs for the table requires just a step or two.”

Edible plants add nature and nutrition to outdoor cooking.

Edible plants add nature and nutrition to outdoor cooking.

FORMLA LANDSCAPING/LESLY HALL PHOTOGRAPHY

Technology enhancements

An outdoor living area’s natural elements might hide speakers and wiring, as well as irrigation and security tied to smart home controls. According to CEDIA, the association for home technology professionals, homeowners and their consultants are taking on far more projects and spending far more money outdoors than in past years. Outdoor televisions are a major category. So are outdoor speakers.

Outdoor living areas are getting more luxurious high tech features.

Outdoor living areas are getting more luxurious high tech features.

CEDIA/ARGUS TECHNOLOGIES

Last words

While outdoor kitchens and living areas are trending strongly and richly, with more enhancements than ever before, there are still many homeowners who are likely to drag a comfy chair and portable grill out on the porch or deck. It’s all about enjoying life outdoors, financing  nice, but not necessarily needed, for life’s simplest pleasures.

Continue reading Industry Pros Share Top Outdoor Kitchen And Living Room Trends

Demand for major remodels remains strong

As more long-term homeowners make the decision to stick with the home they have, they are undertaking larger-scale remodeling projects, such as complete room renovations or additions.

Due to the complexity of these changes, more homeowners are hiring professionals to assist with or do the entire project for them. While that’s great for business, it is pushing out wait times as project backlogs begin to pile up.

Continue reading Demand for major remodels remains strong

Richard Meier Revisits the House That Launched His Career—50 Years Later

Five decades after completing the iconic Smith House in Connecticut, the starchitect talks with AD about designing buildings that last

Continue reading Richard Meier Revisits the House That Launched His Career—50 Years Later

HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARD FOR APPLE UPPER EAST SIDE MANHATTAN

The Apple Store, Upper East Side, New York City, has received a Special Commendation in the Historic Preservation category from the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed retail store, located at Madison Avenue and 74th Street, is an adaptive reuse of a 1922 U.S. Mortgage & Trust building.

Restoration

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and its consultant team collaborated to restore the building’s general ambiance. The project included exterior restoration that required significant repair to original windows, exterior paint, stone, and grout. Interior finishes, such as the marble entry, plaster coffered ceilings, and chandeliers, were reconstructed with the help of historic photographs and blueprints.

Sustainable Economic Growth

Recognising the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of historic buildings and landscapes. These are the goals of The Preservation League of New York State, which this year selected the Apple Store in Upper East Side, designed by California-based architecture practice Bohlin Cywinski Jackson as the recipient of its award, along with the United Nations Campus Headquarters Glazed Façades Replacement project by Heintges & Associates.

Project: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, www.bcj.com
Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York, USA
Year: 2016
Images: © Peter Aaron, courtesy of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Award: Preservation Award 2016, The Preservation League of New York State

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The right approach to design for aging in place

Building and remodeling projects to make homes more aging-friendly have boomed in recent years. And no wonder. The 74-plus million members of the baby boom generation — whose youngest members will turn 55 in two years and oldest members are already in their 70s — make up the largest portion of the nation’s homeowners and the second-largest group of homebuyers.

However, surprising as it may seem, these senior homeowners are undertaking changes to their homes not because they anticipate getting older, but because they foresee a time when their lives will change.

A survey conducted last spring by the National Association of Home Builders Remodeling Group found 80 percent of remodeling companies were doing aging-in-place projects, up from 68 percent in 2013. Interviewing local remodelers about the survey, the Detroit Free Press cited the example of one firm that had seen its business from aging-in-place projects increase to 30 to 40 percent of total revenue from just 15 to 20 percent five years ago.

In its second-quarter 2017 Home Design Trends Survey, the American Institute of Architects reported that aging-friendly and multigenerational living modifications were among the most commonly requested special features in residential projects. The NAHB’s most recent 55+ Housing Market Index shows builder confidence remaining positive and optimistic for the 14th quarter in a row.

Housing, building and senior organizations have been expecting the demographic inevitability of the aging of the baby boom generation for the past several decades. With multiple surveys showing that the vast majority of boomers have long planned to remain in their homes in their later years, much has been written about the benefits of modifying the home for aging-in-place.

In anticipation of the “silver tsunami,” professional associations like the National Kitchen & Bath Association and the American Society of Interior Designers established efforts early on to educated their members on the changes that occur with aging and how to design environments to make homes supportive, comfortable and safe for older occupants.

Although it took them some time to warm up to the idea, boomers are now coming round to appreciate the benefits of making some modifications, renovations and upgrades to their homes in response to present and future needs. But not so much, as one might expect, because they have come to accept that they are aging. Rather, it is because their lives are changing, and they want homes that will accommodate those changes.

Findings from this year’s Home Advisor Aging in Place report provide insights that should prove valuable to interior designers and kitchen and bath specialists. One of the difficulties designers have had with selling aging-in-place modifications to homeowners has been the stigma around aging.

Whatever their age, people in general don’t think of themselves as elderly, and they don’t want to think about getting “old,” by which they usually mean infirm or incapacitated. However, they do recognize that changes are occurring in their lives, whether that means no longer having children at home, experiencing some health or mobility issues, entering retirement or observing the needs of caring for an aging parent or relation.

“So, how do homeowners prepare for aging in place when they can’t admit that they’re aging in the first place?” asks the report’s author Marianne Cusato, adjunct associate professor at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture.

“They perform regular maintenance and complete projects to keep their homes in good working order, for starters. And that sets them up to layer on the aging-related projects as their aging-specific needs are revealed.”

The report identifies a seven-phase planning period, which begins typically around age 55 and may continue to up to age 75 and beyond. As homeowners’ physical needs and lifestyles change over time, they move up to the period to add more extensive age-friendly modifications.

The changes usually begin by addressing low-cost, ease-of-use and ease-of-maintenance issues, and gradually move to renovations and upgrades made to improve functionality, safety and mobility. A major motivator for making changes is the experience of watching a loved one struggle to get around their home as they age.

For designers, the big takeaway from the report is that they don’t have to talk to these clients about aging. They just have to know what kinds of modifications and improvements to offer them that will suit the changes in their lives they want to address. It also indicates that there is substantial opportunity to attract clients early on by assisting them with smaller projects and then continuing to help them as their needs change over time.

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