Increased spending on home remodel projects, use of nontraditional materials, and incorporation of modern design options are themes in home remodeling so far in 2013, according to the members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 51 years. With more home-improvement dollars to spend on remodeling projects, consumers are taking on multiple projects and using higher-grade materials to upgrade rooms throughout the house.
Milwaukee/NARI members who offered their trend predictions for the future of home remodeling in interior design, kitchens, flooring, and bathrooms back in January, now provide an update on where consumers have invested their home improvement dollars in the first half of the year.
According to Stephanie Quinn of Modern Edge Design in Glendale, the old standards of maple and cherry wood are being replaced with more exotic items used for cabinetry, such as Ribbon Sappelle wood, and veneers like Creamy Zebrano, Burled Walnut, or Wenge. “If you have a smaller space to work in, you can afford to use high-end materials,” said Quinn “They have tremendous impact and add a beautiful linear feel to your space, especially running the wood grain horizontally throughout the entire kitchen cabinet design on all base and wall cabinets, creating a book match effect with the veneer,” she added.
“Fireplace surrounds or re-facing with unique grained wood panels from floor to ceiling are popular. For example, paneling separated by metal u-channels provide a sleek modern look to totally transform your fireplace,” said Quinn. “Gone is the standard use of tile or the traditional wood mantle,” she added.
Quinn also sees laminates making a comeback to offer consumers more design options. “The endless colors, styles, and finishes make it such a versatile product,” said Quinn. “They have honed and river wash finishes, metal laminates, and sculpted finishes which gives homeowners a pattern to work with in creating unique rooms,” she added.
Integration of appliances continues to be the trend in 2013, with inset being top sellers according to Cheryl Ryan, CKD, owner of Kitchens By Design in Elm Grove. “People like their clean lines and I have seen an increase in the use of microwave drawers and induction cooking,” said Ryan. “Clients like their appliances built in rather than taking up counter space. A microwave drawer has become in vogue, because people like appliances built in rather than taking up counter space,” she added.
Another popular style taking hold in kitchen-remodeling projects are stacked cabinets. “Instead of 42-inch high cabinets with one door, we are seeing two doors stacked on each other, with glass or a solid door for the top. The top door is usually one third the size of the lower door,” said Ryan. “They are adding the glass doors for display purposes,” she added.
An economy that continues to recover, and an increase in consumer confidence, is driving sales this year. “Business has been busier than a year ago, and sales were strong in 2012 as well,” said Ryan. “Demand is up for remodeling both kitchens and baths. Several clients have done more than one bathroom at a time,” she added.
“At the beginning of the year, I noted the industry trending towards hard surface products such as Luxury Vinyl Tile and Luxury Vinyl Wood Plank,” according to Steve Wamser of ProSource Wholesale Floorcovering in Milwaukee. “Carpet giants Shaw and Mohawk are now battling to win back that business. Both have introduced Luxurious and Super Soft carpet lines recently,” he added.
Carpet manufacturers are introducing new product lines to compete for consumer dollars. “Shaw's Tigressa Brand has introduced a whole new line called Tigressa Cherish that offers a satiny smooth feel, the most luxurious nylon carpet available,” said Wamser. “Tigressa Cherish is a type 6 Nylon, which means its crafted from recycled resources and can be renewed in the future as well,” he added.
Another example of carpet manufactures being more innovative to compete with hard wood floors is the introduction of a green flooring carpet line called Innovia Touch, marketed as The Most Refined Softest Carpet Ever. “This carpet has been a hot seller because its ultra soft feel, exceptional color line, and superior clean-ability,” said Wamser. “It has built in stain protection that doesn't wash or wear off. It naturally repels spills and stains and cleans up with water,” he added.
“The overall carpet trend in 2013 is the extraordinarily soft carpets with tremendous warranties and both carpet lines also have a green story to them,” concludes Wamser.
“People are spending more money to remodel their homes so far in 2013, with projects like large showers and more detailed and elaborate designs,” according to Mark Brick, MCR, CGR, CGB, CAPS of B&E General Contractors in Glendale. He is cautiously optimistic about the economy, especially since April, as customers are looking to do more than basic maintenance. “People are now doing multiple room projects at the same time, such as the bathroom and the kitchen,” said Brick.
Another new trend for homes that has been popular with businesses are waterless urinals. They help keep the bathroom cleaner and conserving water is good for the environment. “Instead of water, it utilizes a gel to reduce odors, and pressure from use of the bathroom sink moves the waste material out of the toilet,” said Brick “This type of urinal is good for families with several young boys, because it lowers the water bill and keeps the bathroom cleaner,” he added.
"We are also finding that customers that have us install soaking tubs are asking us to add heated pillows for the backrest," said Brick. "The pillows are a popular item because they are easy to install and people find them very comfortable."
For more information, call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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