Green Building, Outdoor Living Top 2004 Trends

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Green building and outdoor living spaces will be the top home building trends of 2004, according to an informal Professional Builder survey of builders and other industry professionals.

January 01, 2004

 

McBride & Sons Homes in St. Louis mixes dark brick and light stone.

Green building and outdoor living spaces will be the top home building trends of 2004, according to an informal Professional Builder survey of builders and other industry professionals.

“We are all more environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient,” says Brian Binash, president of Emerald Homes in The Woodlands, Texas. He and other builders credit Energy Star and home builders associations’ voluntary green building programs for that.

Porches, patios, decks, courtyards and loggias — any kind of outdoor space that expands living areas — are hot. And outdoor living space need not be at ground level. Balconies and view-oriented terraces also sell, says Erika Geiser, vice president of marketing with Christopher Homes in Las Vegas.

Rooms in Flux

As the home office trend grows, it takes on new dimensions. High-tech wiring, once remarkable, is the norm, and buyers, especially boomer couples, ask for two offices. Residential designer Larry Garnett of Larry W. Garnett & Associates in Fort Worth, Texas, says he designs offices with separate entrances for seeing clients without bothering the household.

Garnett also sees the dining room evolving. “A growing market segment prefers a single dining area adjacent to the kitchen and family room that offers enough room for large informal and formal gatherings.”

Tim Kane, president of Irvine, Calif.-based MBK Homes, says MBK does formal dining rooms only in large, high-end homes.

In Indianapolis, customers don’t need living rooms, says Greg O’Herren, co-owner of Shamrock Builders. They use that square footage for rooms off the kitchen — sun rooms, hearth rooms, hobby rooms and “mom’s rooms” — multipurpose rooms that have computer capabilities.

The kitchen continues as the home’s hub, with more and more design attention and dollars coming its way.

Outside the Box

St. Louis architect Barry Glantz notes that his builder clients now pay more attention to roofs. They are replacing typical asphalt roof shingles with architectural-grade shingles and using metal and other “alternative” roofing materials for accent areas such as porches and bay windows.

“This year will bring a wider variety of siding materials and shapes, from cedar shakes to scalloped siding,” and builders will mix exterior materials more, Glantz adds. He also predicts that improved moisture repellence will boost the use of stucco and similar products.

Finally, Glantz says builders will use earth tones rather than white for window trim and will substitute different grid patterns for the usual squares and rectangles.

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