06 January 2009


What does 2009 hold in store for American homeowners? What trends will we embrace? What products will we bring into our homes this year?

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I’ve been tracking my own projects and prospective clients and asking colleagues for their predictions. Here’s what I think we can look forward to in this intriguing new year…

I don’t think we’ll see the housing market rebound for a while, so most folks will be staying put. That being said, they’re going to continue being interested in improving their living spaces. Three or four years ago, that meant a lot of flash and keeping up with the Joneses. I think – no, I hope – that the consumption for its own sake trend has passed. While people still want luxurious touches and high performance appliances, they want them more for what the comforts, durability and specific features they add to their daily lives, rather than just for the brand appeal. What people are asking for now are:

Time savers – like storage organizers, low-maintenance countertops and multi-tasking appliances that add hours to one's day and simplicity to one's life will be increasingly in demand this year. Last year was tough for many Americans, and taught us what's truly important -- time spent with the people we love, giving back to the communities that nurture us and being grateful for what we have. Products that help us pull together and serve a quick neighborhood pot luck will sell faster than ones that need endless buffing.

CaesarStone quartz top in new 4330 Deep Gray... Skimpy maintenance, super style

Spaces that work for how people really live, not how a magazine says they should will influence how we remodel our homes and select or build new ones.

Kitchens will continue to be the home's gathering space, with more and more functionality, and exert even more pull over the spaces around them. Landing zones in or near the kitchen will continue to be created for cel phones, backpacks, briefcases, iPods, mail and all the other stuff we carry in and out.

Televisions will move into the kitchen more and more, as the family spends more time there and wants to keep up with the world. Televisions will also move into more master baths, as that space continues its evolution into true master retreats.

This CWP custom kitchen features space for homework and home work

Water and energy savings, and the accompanying utility bill reductions, will become factors in more and more remodeling (and building) projects. Some clients will be motivated by the financial rewards, others by the global considerations, many by both.

LED lighting will find its way into even more fixtures, from its current strengths in under-cabinet and recessed ceiling lighting, to contemporary pendants, sconces and chandeliers.

More code restrictions on water use will lead to more tankless water heater and dual flush toilet sales. Plumbing manufacturers will continue working on ways to couple the spa shower and tub experience they love marketing with the water savings our communities demand.

Dual flush toilets, like Kohler's new Persuade model, save water, without sacrificing style

Better, healthier materials, not just better-looking ones. Many clients remodeling today have already updated a bath or kitchen in the past five years and don't relish going through the process more than absolutely necessary. They plan on staying in their homes indefinitely, and are asking about products that will last a long time. Many also have health concerns about a family member with asthma or cancer, and want products in their home that won't create a hazardous indoor environment.

This contemporary Neil Kelly custom kitchen is friendly for your family's environment... And the planet's

More personalization and comfort at home will be important to more and more clients this year, as they seek to make their house a personal refuge from a harsh world. They'll build in materials and accents from travels they've enjoyed and mementos of people close to them. "Rooms to go" will give way to rooms to grow together in.

This Pottery Barn new for 2009 Marin sofa invites relaxation in five fabric grades and about 50 colors and patterns

Upgrades that allow them to age gracefully, safely and successfully in their own homes and communities.
AARP reports that 90 percent of Americans want to stay put as they age, rather than relocate to an assisted living or nursing home facility. Clients in their 40s, 50s and 60s will be looking for ways to make their existing residences work for them into their 70s, 80s and beyond.

Companies like Moen, Kohler, Kraftmaid and others with mass market appeal are planning for this demographic with more stylish and accessible-oriented products. Look for this trend to continue in 2009 and accelerate in future years as the economy rebounds.

The slide-bar shower head, grab bar and bench from a bath I redesigned for a
50-something couple will take them comfortably into their senior years

I believe that people will continue to add style, functionality and comfort to their homes in 2009, and spend some of their happiest hours there.

Happy New Year.

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