Washington, D.C. – As the housing recovery continues, homeowners investment in their kitchens and bathrooms remains a key focus. Kitchens in particular have solidified their standing as the center of operations within the home. Residential architects also report very healthy business conditions at their firms. Energy efficiency, water conservation, and healthy home concerns are prevalent in the homeowner product choices in kitchens and baths. Likewise, accessibility considerations are often reflected in the planning for these areas of the home. These are among the major findings from the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2014, which focused on kitchen and bath design trends.

“The major point of emphasis in kitchen design nowadays revolves less around actual cooking activities,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. ”Rather, homeowners are looking for kitchens that are gathering spots for family and entertaining, as well as serving as a hub for electronic devices and recharging stations.”

“The kitchen has become what we call the ‘activator’, the main space in the residence, and the design requirements often include high functionality to accommodate multiple activities,” said, James Walbridge, AIA, Chair of the AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN). “The aesthetics of the kitchen have also changed as the composition and material selections have elevated the space to become an essential focal point of the total design. Another important trend we see appearing more, not only in kitchens but the entire project, is specifying healthier construction components such as paint, caulking, glues, grout and other potentially high VOC (volatile organic compounds) products, that may contain harmful ingredients and off-gas noxious fumes or vapors over time as they are curing.”

    Popular kitchen products and features*

     

    2014

     

    2013

    LED lighting:

     

    88%

     

    87%

    Computer area / recharging stations:

     

    50%

     

    37%

    Larger pantry space:

     

    43%

     

    42%

    Upper-end appliances:

     

    35%

     

    35%

    Double Island

     

    34%

     

    29%

    Adaptability / universal design:

     

    32%

     

    32%

    Drinking water filtration systems:

     

    31%

     

    25%

  •  

      * Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

    Popular bathroom products and features*

     

    2014

     

    2013

    LED lighting

     

    81%

     

    80%

    Doorless showers

     

    66%

     

    58%

    Adaptability/universal design

     

    63%

     

    60%

    Large walk-in showers

     

    61%

     

    62%

    Stall shower without tub

     

    56%

     

    61%

    Water saving toilets

     

    43%

     

    44%

    Radiant heated floors

     

    39%

     

    32%

  •  

      * Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

      Housing market business conditions

      AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2014 (any score above 50 is positive)

      • Billings: 60

      • Inquiries for new projects: 67

      Baker added, “Business conditions are as prosperous for residential architects as they have been since prior to the Great Recession. In recent years, the remodeling and renovation market was providing the bulk of the billings, but now the custom design market is also on more solid footing and positioned well for the months to come.”

    Specific construction segments

     

    2014

     

    2013

    Additions / alterations

     

    61%

     

    65%

    Kitchen and bath remodeling

     

    55%

     

    64%

    Custom / luxury home market

     

    35%

     

    37%

    Move-up home market

     

    35%

     

    33%

    Townhouse / condo market

     

    15%

     

    13%

    First-time buyer / affordable home market

     

    8%

     

    13%

    Second / vacation home market

     

    3%

     

    -5%

  •  

      * Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

      About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
      The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on overall home layout and use (June 2015) specialty rooms and systems (September 2015) and community design trends (December 2015).

      About The American Institute of Architects
      Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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