Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home Renovating

Consumer Reports magazine recently polled subscribers on their home renovating trends (yes, they do more than just review products), and the results are interesting!

Many folks, instead of adding a bumpout or
home addition, are cutting costs by renovating their kitchen, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces to make better use of the space, open up sight lines, and make the areas more livable. Quality, not quantity, “is the new standard”, according to CR.

According to CR’s poll, two-thirds of homeowners have changed their remodeling plans and given up appliances, specialized features, and extravagances that will not add to the home’s value. Sensible doesn’t mean boring, though – many of CR’s top performing appliances are in stainless, which consumers still crave. Bamboo flooring beats oak, and plastic laminates look like real stone for a fraction of the cost. Instead of adding deluxe whirlpool tubs, homeowners are opting to add luxury by way of handheld body sprays with powerful jets and pulsating massage settings to conventional tubs and shower stalls.

Homeowner trends are leaning toward spending more on products they interact with every day – namely, appliances. (Interestingly: “subscribers who scrimped on cabinets, countertops, and showers wished they had spent more” while at the same time “almost 60% of readers opted for ceramic tile over pricier stone.”)

Almost two-thirds of homeowners plan to do the renovating themselves.
Working with an architect has advantages, though. CR recommends using professionals and adds a warning: “Remember that local building codes will probably require an architect's or engineer's sign-off.”

Top renovations include increasing energy and water efficiency. Eighty-four percent of those polled bought energy –efficient appliances, 43 percent picked out water-efficient appliances, and 38 percent chose fluorescent lighting for their kitchens. Water-saving toilets and low-flow showerheads were installed in 62 percent of bath remodels. Paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are popular, as well.

If you’re planning a home renovating project in the near future, consider the benefits of working with a
green architect to design your home.