The most recent Home Design Trends survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) focused on kitchens and baths. Results indicate that kitchens have evolved into one of the most important rooms in the home. Topping the list of consumer wants are high-end appliances, additional pantry space, wine storage areas, recycling centers, and island workstations.

“There is a strong desire to integrate the kitchen with living space, which allows for a more open home environment with the ability to converse and access entertainment options while in the kitchen,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker says. “There has also been a sharp rise in demand for renewable materials for counter-tops and flooring, as well as dedicated areas for recycling.”

The number of bathrooms in homes is also increasing, and popular features include radiant floors, multiple-head showers, dual vanities, and towel warmers.

Baker says accessibility and universal design to accommodate an aging population are on the rise in bathrooms. However, the popularity of whirlpools has dropped for the second consecutive year.

The AIA Home Design Trends Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. The kitchen and bath trends are from the Fall 2006 survey. Future surveys will focus on home layout (June 2007), special-function rooms (September 2007), and community design trends (December 2007).