ZZZerious emerging home trend: the snoring room

Remember “til death do us part”? Traditionally, it meant putting up with a lot, including the snoring spouse or partner. Well no more.

One of the emerging trends in new home construction is the addition of a snoring room adjacent to the master bedroom suite, along with the usual bathroom and walk-in closet. Typically it’s an 12′ by 12′ soundproofed room with a double bed. And since it’s part of the master bedroom with full-sized bed, it beats the couch every time. Better for sleeping and the relationship.

“It’s an emerging trend,” Nash said. “I think it will definitely go mainstream in the next three years.”

Among “active adults,” the demographic term for people 55 and older, it already has.

Now some don’t like the the word “snoring room”, as snoring is often associated with more mature adults or overweight adults, and why compromise the value of a good idea? So the “double master suite;) ;) is also being promoted as a solution to “lifestyle issues” like being on different schedules, or spouses that move or talk in their sleep.

In existing home remodels, space for the snoring room is being carved from master suite sitting areas or largely unused hallway closet space.

Props: The Chicago Tribune.

The latest remodeling trends

Found an interesting report on Remodeling Trends from the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors Conference

Spending on Remodeling

The experts are predicting a slight and short-lived decline in renovation spending, in line with other national reports and studies.

Tips for working with renovators

  • don’t be afraid to vet your contractor – go ahead and ask the tough questions,
  • specify everything in your contract, and
  • check your contractor has the proper insurance — including workers’ compensation – else you could get saddled with the liability.

Remodeling Trends & Homeowner Demand

“Nearly every panelist mentioned the pervasive influence of TV design shows”. In other words, the media is heavily shaping and influencing consumer demand. Popular trends include:

  • the rise of the outdoor living space
  • home kitchen and bathroom remodels are taking longer because of the selection process – more choices = more time
  • radiant heat floors
  • green flooring (cork or bamboo)
  • more cultural diversity in color schemes
  • pot-filler faucets, and
  • energy-saving appliances or accessories

But the single most striking trend?

“the urbanization of cities”: in essence, more and more people are moving out of the suburbs and into cities … [and] the new urbanites, apparently, are renovators.

… city dwellers are willing to spend freely on their smaller spaces. “A survey we did a couple years ago,” Wilkinson said, “noted that people who live in condominiums spend the same amount of money renovating their homes as people who have driveways and backyards.”

Source: Remodeling the American Dream, Inman News.

Too much of a good thing: the 5 dumbest renovation fads

Playing catch up on the news … came across this timely slideshow on CNNMoney about the 5 dumbest renovation fads.

They are:

Good pictorial that demonstrates how overkill killed some great renovation ideas, and how to do them the right way.

New laundry rooms do double or triple duty

The new oversized laundry room is an “all-in-one” space for work, rest and play. No longer relegated to the “crowded mudroom” or “dark basement”, the laundry room is both upscale and ready for prime time.

Big, beautiful laundry rooms are cropping up in homes across the country. Experts say it’s a result of homeowners’ ongoing desires to revamp their living space to better suit their lifestyles.

“You try to fit all these things in your life and still spend quality time with your kids,” says Dubs, 44, whose laundry room upgrade cost about $30,000. “Now, I can multitask with him.”

Multi-functional and easily accessible, the new laundry rooms have:

  • more room,
  • more storage,
  • better organization,
  • space optimization,
  • workflow optimization, and
  • ergonomic design

… all designed to help take the “work” out of the chore.

But the biggest differences between the new and the old are the customizations to integrate with other lifestyle needs. Play room for the kids (complete with integrated toy storage), gift-wrapping and crafting stations, built-in ironing cupboards, recycling centers, computer workstations, you name it.

For more, read the source article New Laundry Rooms Are Multi-Purpose.

For design considerations, read Laundry Rooms Move Upstairs and Upscale on HGTVPRo.

Want more? Try Dress up your laundry room decor tips from HGTV.

Hot Bathroom Fixture Trends for 2007

See a full review of new model shower heads on Trendir

Large round shower heads that simulate the sensation of rainwater are one of the hot trends for this year. For a full run down on what’s hot read Shower Head Trends 2007 – The most desirable shower heads on Trenddir.

Not surprisingly, showers are getting bigger (faster than we are getting bigger anyway). There seems to be less interest in adding whirlpool tubs; although they add value, people don’t have the time to enjoy them. Instead, homeowners are enhancing the experience they have time for, the shower, making it a more luxurious, spa-like experience with pulsating and multiple spray options. Hand held showers are also very popular because of their flexibility.

Read more from the original source article: April Showers – The latest trends in bathroom fixtures.

5 Surprising Home Remodeling & Building Trends

From a recent survey of real estate execs, agents and brokers, here are the surprising features people are asking for:

  • Upscale garages
  • “Caving” – more personal space, a room of one’s own
  • Rejuvenation rooms
  • Heated patios
  • Snoring rooms

Read Five Home Trends We Never Saw Coming for the full story.

When Green Products & Green Design Don’t Measure Up

Came across a post on AbbeyK’s on interior design blog that referred to this Interior Design Magazine article When Green Products Don’t Perform.

Non- or under-performing green product alternatives are a concern for every designer and specifier. I posed the issue to some of my colleagues and heard horror stories—bamboo flooring that comes apart in high traffic zones only after a couple of years, low odor and fast drying concrete sealers that do not adhere well and chip, scratch or stain easily, cork that fades relatively quickly under UV rays.

Failures such as these sour both the designer and client on green products and green design in general … we have found that it is incredibly important when a building is beginning its ‘journey’ towards sustainability that the first green products are successful.

My thought isn’t that this isn’t just a problem for designers, it’s a challenge for anyone interested in “going green” and promoting environmentally friendly alternatives. The green product is supposed to be “the good guy” – you want green products and green design to succeed. After all, you have to go out of your way to find and research green products, buy them, and usually pay more for them. Maybe you even tell your friends about them. To have them turn out to be a bust, well, it’s disillusioning.

So how do you prevent Green product failure?

The Interior Design article recommends you

  • Use green products in established categories and that have a track record
  • get “word of mouth” recommendations
  • request product testimonials from manufacturers
  • ensure proper installation & maintenance
  • try before you buy – ask for product samples
  • find a forum where green products are discussed, such as list serve Big Green

From personal experience and other research:

  • don’t use green alternatives where they won’t perform well
  • don’t go low end – “you get what you pay for”.

I would also suggest look for ratings and reviews on green products. If you are interested in trying green products, you are probably an early adopter and may well be the one writing these reviews … but they are out there if you look …

Do Blog Searches for products you want to try

You may stumble on a houseblogger who has tried it out and learned from the experience. Keywords to use would be the brand name and type of product. Then ask questions on the blog posts.

Visit Green Review Sites

The Green Home Guide offers editorial reviews on green products & services – “unbiased reviews and advice from professionals and homeowners like you”.

Five Limes – community / consumer reviews and ratings on green products and local stores and services.

Finally, back to the blog post that got me on this topic, AbbeyK makes a good point: if your green design product ends up in a landfill before it’s time, it “can end up not being green in the long run”.

Contractors speak: why good help is hard to find

A while back I read an article on SFGate.com answering a question from a homeowner who was having a hard time finding a home improvement contractor. She was trying to get three bids with references, without success.

“While it sounds prudent, I live in Vallejo and I can’t get a single pro to come out to my house, let alone three of them. I have been stood up many times and have been disappointed with the few that have come out.”
Burnett Brothers Q & A, San Francisco Chronicle

The writers advised her to work her network (friends, family, coworkers, etc.). Then try local real estate agents, who usually have a stable of professionals to call on when getting homes ready for sale. Finally, they suggested checking out Angie’s List, an online home improvement review site that has been getting good publicity.

Their observations on the root of the problem:

In our minds, the cause of the dearth in tradespeople is twofold: the real estate boom and the lack of skilled workers — especially those willing to take on home-improvement projects. It’s simple supply and demand. Too many jobs are chasing too few workers. The good contractors can afford to cherry-pick, and you don’t want the bad ones.

Since then, they’ve published a follow up article with more suggestions from readers such as trying other websites, homeowner associations, the BBB (Better Business Bureau), and even the NARI (National Association for the Remodeling Industry).

The most interesting thing about this follow up, though, was the responses from contractors.

You know you’re supposed to vet contractors before you hire but did you know they also vet you?

Trust. If the contractor doesn’t think the homeowner trusts him, it will be an uphill battle to get the job done. So some will turn it down. Do you blame them?

How did they find me? Contractors trust referrals from people they know more than from the internet … just like you do.

I decided to do a bit more digging and found this thread on ContractorTalk.com. The question for discussion: Should homeowners have to provide references for contractors? “To find out if the Homeowner was a good customer, or a PITA or Deadbeat”. An interesting and insightful read, if you dare.

Multiple bid situations are not a desirable situation for a contractor. It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a bid … to not have a realistic chance of getting it. As one anonymous contractor said “why compete when the market doesn’t require me to?”.

Operating costs. Doing small jobs doesn’t make financial sense. And estimates aren’t really free. “The cost of visiting the job and performing the estimate has to be worked into the cost of the work”.

“Next, there is a cost to everyone from selecting the too-low price. The last thing you want on your job is a contractor who is not making any money. When people realize what they are doing isn’t profitable, they take all kinds of shortcuts to make up the loss.

“If you sound like you know what you want, and it’s a clear, straight-up process, a contractor will be much more likely to spend the time bidding and communicating with you because they know it is more likely to be a successful job.”

The last word from the Burnett Brothers:

The bottom line is to define and communicate the scope of the work. Change orders are expensive. And expect to pay a fair price. If you do this, you’re more likely to get a contractor to show up when promised, actually do the work you want and charge the estimated price.

Read more: Contractors weigh in on why good help is so hard to find on SFGate.com

Chick Picks – DIY Tools for Women

Did you know that women are the fastest growing segment in DIY Home Improvement retail sales? I found that quite surprising. Women also spend more when they go shopping for tools than men. Is that because we don’t know what we’re doing? Ha! Hardly. It’s because we want quality and do our research before we buy.

And what women have been buying in increasing numbers are Redback Tools. Redback makes tools for professionals but has also recently introduced a line of tools for women. According to the Aussie-based company’s recent survey, 80% of the people who bought their products in the last 6 months are female.

The first major product in the US market is the MaxiStrike hammer. Winner of the prestigious USA Dealers Pick Award for Outstanding New Item, the MaxiStrike has some innovative features that make it a great hammer, and a great hammer for women in particular.

Why choose the MaxiStrike:

  • more “strike” power than ordinary hammers
  • “maxi-access” – the ability to use the head of the hammer to reach over obstructions and deep into recesses
  • an extra hard head
  • an ergonomic, shock absorbing grip, and
  • twist and slip resistance.

According to the designer,

With a traditional hammer, you get overstrike and reverberation up your arm. My design eliminates a hell of a lot of that … And, because of the arc design, you can nail over, say a roof rafter or around a piece of piping. It eliminates the need to pull out a nail punch to finish it off.
Jake Tyson, president, designer and Australian-TV home-improvement personality

A slick new hammer isn’t going to get me anywhere near a roof rafter. But if it makes hammering jobs more comfortable and convenient, count me in.

MaxiStrike models cost between $16.49 and $29.99 and are available from big box stores and Amazon.com.

Ohio Remodelers are real ladies’ men

Professional Remodelers of Ohio is out to charm the ladies. This year, the RemodelOhio Show has undergone a bit of makeover, changing it’s name and shifting focus from DIY products and services to connecting homeowners with professional remodelers. In particular female homeowners, who are taking a more active role in deciding who to hire. In the words of PRO executive director Brenda Callaghan, “… women are becoming a stronger voice in remodeling. They want their homes to be nice, and they want to work with a professional.”

To that end, this year’s show caters to the ladies by having:

  • a female spokesperson (local broadcaster Robin Swoboda)
  • a soap star (Aiden Turner of “All My Children” fame), and
  • hair and makeup makeovers on the “Remodel Yourself” stage

in addition to more conventional seminars on kitchens, decorating, custom decks, and adapting your home as you age.

Did I mention the hot tub full of firefighters raising money for charity? No?

Well you have to give credit where credit is due. Ohio Remodelers have big cojones. It’s a bold move, I just hope it doesn’t alienate all the guys out there.

RemodelOhio runs Thursday Jan 25 through Sunday Jan. 28 at the International Exposition Center. Remember ladies, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland. ;)

Read the source article New focus at remodeling show by Melissa Herbert on cleveland.com.

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