Karen King, Home Rebuilders, Atlanta
Collectively our account managers and architects provided me with their thoughts on what they are asked for the most. Here's a short list:
* Master suite additions. People are deciding to stay in their homes and adding a master suite on as their own personal luxury space.
* Ranch conversions. These houses are still a good buy to gain land and good bones for a total remodel.
* Facelifts to the fronts of houses. This type of remodeling really dresses up a home's curb appeal without costing an arm and a leg.
* Better relationships to the rear yard and outdoors. Homeowners want spaces that relate to the rear yard for entertaining and play space for families
* Family room/kitchen connections. If you open up these two spaces, they connect to each other and reflect a more casual way of living and entertaining.
* Rich materials. We're seeing natural stone in baths and kitchens, as well as on the fronts of houses. Granite, Silestone, and cherry and maple cabinets are still big. Concrete as a countertop surface is being requested more often.
Brad Cruickshank, Cruickshank Inc., Atlanta
Wine cellars and screened porches.
Anna Mavrakis, TNL Design/Build, Canton, OH
We are starting to use wine coolers in kitchens and lower-level bar areas. Granite countertops are still hot. We recently used a new appliance by Whirlpool called the Personal Valet. We used it in a master bedroom closet. It refreshes and steams your clothing. It's supposed to make trips to the dry cleaners less frequent, although it is not promoted as a dry cleaning unit. It is really new and is not available except in test market areas at this time. I think we'll start to see them in hotels for business travelers, and then people will become more aware of them.
We have also been using some gorgeous hand carved moldings in crown molding, columns, brackets, mantels, and more. I do a lot of decorating work, and I am using more murals and hand painted areas in rooms in addition to faux finishes.
Of course jetted tubs are still hot, and ceramic tiles with decorative insert tiles and detailed ceramic murals for kitchens and baths are popular, too.
Kevin Kalman, Kalman Construction, Charleston, S.C.
We are seeing that master baths and kitchens have to be homey. They need the ability to be the lived-in rooms. Since September 11th, we're getting clients who want to cocoon even more.
Lynn Monson, Monson Interior Design, Minneapolis
Reclaimed stone -- or the look of it -- for areas like floors, walls, countertops, tub/shower surrounds, and fireplaces has been consistently strong. It is part of the trend toward a more natural, earthy look, and people appreciate how it gives their home a softness and a sense of history. Some of our clients will pay a premium for naturally aged antique rock, with irregular marks and a patina that has been acquired over time. Others with smaller budgets will opt for replicas of old terra-cotta, limestone, or cobblestones, which have been manufactured to appear distressed. One example is the Madera wood composite flooring that resembles antique pavers that our DreamMaker designers have been showing. We frequently combine these honed matte finishes with the shinier ones, such as newly quarried granite countertops with tumbled marble backsplashes. And bigger is better -- we like to recommend the 16-inch- to 24-inch-square sizes for a solid, expansive look.
Randall Hall, CR, CGR, Randall Hall Design/Build and Remodeling, Dallas
The things that our clients are asking for seem to be pretty consistent over the past six months to a year. They are wanting granite countertops, tile backsplashes, stainless steel appliance fronts, and tile floors. The tile selections seem to be natural stone or faux-stone tiles. Most of the cabinet selections, lately, have been maple with a natural finish with door selections tending toward the flat panel over the raised panel.