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The hottest new home trends: Experts reveal the 8 must-haves buyers are demanding

The hottest new home trends: Experts reveal the 8 must-haves buyers are demanding

home building trends, Carrara marble, lighting that illuminates, January 2013
Carrara kitchen and white kitchen cabinets. Light-colored Carrara marble is become a hot item in kitchens across the nation. In relation, kitchen cabinets are going back to white. Shown is the 2012 BALA Platinum winner for attached homes built for sale, Symphony Park, Bethesda, Md. Photo courtesy of © 2011 Eric Kieley Photography
2013 New American Home in Las Vegas, January 2013, swimming pool
Outdoor living. The New American Home, the primary showcase home of the convention, had little separation between the kitchen and the swimming pool, just a few feet away. Timberlake Cabinetry
home building trends, ceiling treatments, 2, January 2013
Fancy ceilings. It’s not just about flooring anymore. Barrel vault ceilings, coffers and beams are bringing design to ceilings. Shown is the 2012 BALA Silver Award winner for one-of-a-kind homes more than 6,501 square feet, Atkinson residence in Berlin, Md. Photo by © Cheryl Nemazie
home building trends, multi-generational living, January 2013
Multigenerational living. Homes are being built to accommodate the homeowner's children and parents. For example, step-in showers are built without curbs. Shown is the 2012 BALA Platinum Award winner for bathrooms up to $50,000 in Crest Ridge, Austin. Photo by © Allison Cartwright, TwistArt LLC
home elevator
Elevators. The aging Baby Boomer population is realizing that climbing the stairs may not be easy in 20 or 30 years. NCStairway.com
home building trends, Carrara marble, lighting that illuminates, January 2013
2013 New American Home in Las Vegas, January 2013, swimming pool
home building trends, ceiling treatments, 2, January 2013
home building trends, multi-generational living, January 2013
home elevator

LAS VEGAS — Whether it’s built-in cabinetry to accommodate your poodle or ultra-luxury wine cellars that would make Ernest Gallo jealous, you can always count on the International Builders Show to generate trendy ideas for the year ahead. Early this winter, more than 60,000 builders and suppliers migrated to Las Vegas for their annual convention, sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders.

CultureMap was there, trudging through the overwhelming acreage holding 900 exhibits on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, touring various show homes and attending multiple seminars and press conferences. We sifted through it, listened to various experts, and came up with this list of top trends you can expect to see in home building frequently in the near future.

1. Scaling it down. Even when they can afford it, home buyers are telling architects and builders that the pursuit of massive square footage alone is not their goal. Buyers remember the recession. A house does not have to be huge to be high quality.

A judge in the NAHB’s Best of American Living Awards said new homes are reflecting the idea that “small is beautiful.” 

2. Outdoor living. Home are getting more outdoor kitchens and patios are decorated with furniture that looks like it belongs indoors. The New American Home, the primary showcase home of the convention, had little separation between the kitchen and the swimming pool, just a few feet away.

When the home’s glass pocket doors were concealed, it was hard to tell where the outdoor space began.

3. White kitchen cabinets. “We are back to white,” says Anchorage, Alaska home designer Karen Kassik-Michelsohn. Dark, stained cabinets are on their way out, she says.

4. Pet provisions. If you are designing a custom home, you might as well bring your dog along to meet the architect.

“Pets are becoming an important part of the design process,” says St. Louis architect Barry Glantz. Look for more homes to have a dog bathing facility in the laundry room or built-in compartment in the bottom of a cabinet for a dog’s food bowl.

 If you are designing a custom home, you might as well bring your dog along to meet the architect. 

5. Carrara kitchen. Light colored Carrara marble is become a hot item in kitchens across the nation. Also huge: The mega-island, which is extra long and wide to provide space for cooking and socializing. By the way, Carrara is finding its way into baths, also.

6. Multi-generational living. Homes are being built to accommodate the homeowner’s children and parents — three generations. It’s part of a cultural shift.

We are changing from Leave it to Beaver to The Waltons says Glantz. Homes should have wider doorways to allow easy wheelchair access. Cottages for grandparents are popular, as are dual master suites. Showers should be built without curbs.

7. Elevators. The aging Baby Boomer population is realizing that climbing the stairs may not be easy in 20 or 30 years. Home elevators, starting at $20,000 or so, are becoming a more popular option.

Thinking ahead, other builders are lining up closets with the proper dimensions so they can be converted to an elevator shaft as the homeowners grow older, says architect Wayne Visbeen of Grand Rapids, Mich.

8. Fancy ceilings. It’s not just about flooring anymore. Barrel vault ceilings, coffers and beams are bringing design to ceilings. And the ceilings don’t have to be all white — overhead color is alright, too.

In 2013, people are looking up.

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Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is founding editor of RealtyNewsReport.