Remodeling trends contractors can look for in 2015

In this issue, Phc News is taking time to explore remodeling trends for 2015. Since the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), held in January, we have heard buzz about outdoor living projects, increases in age-in-place building, home owners shifting focus from resell to customization, and more.

We reached out to a well-respected resource on the subject, the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI). NARI provides a medium for business development and a platform for advocacy and industry intelligence by connecting homeowners with its professional members.

Kevin Anundson, MCR, CKBR, national president of NARI, and vice president of Renovations Group, Inc., based in Elm Grove, Wis., shared some trend research that the association has been conducting. Anundson also provided summaries of winning projects at the association’s recent remodeling competition. Take a look at what NARI pinpointed for 2015.

PHC: Can you share an overview of NARI?

KA: NARI is the only professional trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. NARI helps members adapt to the pressures of a changing economy through industry intelligence, provides a voice in Washington, increases professionalism, and provides peer-to-peer education. As the industry continues to evolve, so do NARI members with the upmost integrity and professionalism. Through continuing education, trend research and adoption of new products and technologies, NARI members stay at the forefront of the industry to provide homeowners with a superior remodeling experience. These qualities have been a staple of NARI members since the association began, and continues year after year.

PHC: What types of research and reporting does NARI conduct?

KA: NARI does a quarterly measure of the current health of the industry and an outlook for the near term, which provides insight on specific business issues that are helpful in lobbying efforts and informing NARI members and the general public. NARI’s Membership Survey provides a snapshot of NARI remodelers, which serves as a benchmark compared to the industry in general. The data provides insight on the share of remodeling projects; general demographics, including volume of sales in dollars and number of jobs, length of business, etc.; as well as the average project size and number of projects in production. This information is helpful to NARI members, the board, staff, and different board committees.

PHC: What other events does NARI host, sponsor or attend?

KA: NARI hosts an annual Spring Business Meeting. This year’s event is April 15-18, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. NARI also hosts various events for its chapter leaders. We are at national and regional trade shows including KBIS, JLC LIVE New England, Skills USA Conference, the Remodeling Show, and JLC LIVE Northwest held in December. We regularly attend the SEN Design Group Conferences, the Remodeling Leadership Conference, Remodeling Futures Conference, and the PRIME Extreme Sales Conference.

PHC: Is there any recent or coming news from NARI?

KA: We recently redesigned our website—www.nari.org—which has both a consumer and industry portal. Our national blog—blog.nari.org—has a following of 16,500 visitors and features original industry articles, legal advice, marketing tips and interviews with industry leaders. We also have partnerships with Chrysler, Porch and Guild Quality that help our members save time and money while they grow their business.

PHC: Can you discuss the remodeling contest that you all recently hosted?

KA: NARI named 160 Regional Contractor of the Year (CotY) winners from the 2015 competition, with 33 team members. Regional CotY winners now advance as finalists at the national level. The CotY Awards program also recognizes projects with universal design and green elements through the Universal Design Project Recognition Program and Green Project Recognition Program.

The CotY award signifies a successful remodeling project in every way. Awards are given to those who recognized their client’s needs and overcame difficult challenges to make their client’s dreams a reality. In order for this to happen, remodelers must exhibit the highest level of skill in design, planning and execution.

The CotY award also symbolizes, for many, the highest professional recognition from industry peers. It is a true test for quality and advanced remodeling techniques, as chosen by the industry’s most highly regarded remodeling professionals from across the country. For an industry that has such varied standards, this recognition becomes even more meaningful to those who receive it and, in turn, to those working with CotY award winners.

The entries of this year’s competition totaled over $85.5 million worth of remodeling projects. Regional winners will be honored and national winners will be announced at NARI’s Evening of Excellence reception on April 17, at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

All projects in the CotY awards program are an improvement or an addition to an existing structure, with the exception of one category, “Residential Exterior Specialty.”

Following are a few of the remodeling ideas that were trending at this year’s Regional CotY Awards.

Outdoor

Key Residential, Ltd., of Farmers Branch, Texas, won a CotY award in the Residential Exterior Over $200,000 category. The backyard oasis created by Key Residential included expanding the outdoor kitchen/living area, and remodeling the pool and deck. However, everything was interwoven in a way that it seemed part of the original house.

The roofing material had been discontinued, but was retrieved through a special trip to Oklahoma, and also shipped in from Michigan. A fully-functioning kitchen was completed and featured restaurant-quality appliances, even a wood fire pizza oven. The pool was refashioned into an extended wet deck, and drainage was built into the limestone pavers on the pool deck prior to the installation of synthetic grass.

Master bath

In the Residential Bath $50,001 to $75,000 category, Pure Design Environments, of Eden Prairie, Minn., took home the 2015 CotY Regional honor. The project they tackled had a master bathroom that was compartmentalized and outdated. It featured a large, unsightly fireplace that was no longer chic.

To address these issues, the company was able to amend the bathroom’s floor plan to make the layout larger and more user-friendly. The addition of a round, freestanding stone tub, new vanities, quartz top, and porcelain tile flooring provided a contemporary edge. A large picture window was also included to draw in natural light and contrast the flooring. This helped to balance the heavier elements.

Efficiency

The 2015 CotY Green Project Recognition recipient was Clark Richardson Architects, of Austin, Texas. They were recognized in the Entire House $750,001 to $1,000,000 category. When the 4,252-square-foot home was completed, it has a 5-star Austin Energy Green Building rating.

Years of neglect took its toll on the single-family home. Originally built in the 1920s, the home is listed as a nationally recognized structure in a historic neighborhood in Austin, Texas. When Clark Richardson took on the project, the foundation was failing, the floors were sloping, the roof was leaking, and the windows were decaying, along with other states of disrepair in the home. With the remodel, the single-story, cottage received a two-story addition that nearly doubled the square footage in the rear. In clear juxtaposition to the traditional exterior, the contemporary interior renovation opened up the home.

An open plan and numerous diverse outdoor spaces helped define the feeling of the home. Upstairs, the master suite received an extensive built-in storage addition and outdoor roof top deck nestled into the trees. A caretaker’s suite was incorporated above the garage. The structural design allowed for the integration of a future elevator to enable the client to live comfortably in the home for many years to come. The street elevation and first 15 feet of the existing home were maintained and restored.

Heating

Before Beck Building Co., of Vail, Colo., tackled the interior of this condominium, it had very old-fashioned finishes and cabinetry, which made it look outdated. Beck Building won in the 2015 CotY Regional Residential Interior Over $150,000 category.

In the remodel, a contemporary fireplace was added for warmth, more lighting, and clean and modern lines. Open, clean, contemporary and sleek is how the new kitchen was described. Updated appliances, gorgeous marble countertops, and reclaimed floors added to the warmth and stylish look.

The main living area was expanded to make room for the extended family. The bedroom’s minimalist style and simplicity is what the homeowners had in mind. Clean lines, contemporary cabinets and a sleek barn door entry to the bath added to the luxurious look. The bathroom, which is simple and understated, was made to feel luxurious with the stylish fixtures, cabinets and tub.

Universal design

The 2015 CotY Regional Winner for Residential Bath Under $25,000 was TZ of Madison, Inc., from Madison, Wis. Their project incorporated universal design features, also known as aging in place. While visiting friends out of state, a couple decided to purchase a modern, third-floor loft condo for their future retirement home. The condo lacked a main floor accessible bath and anticipating their future needs, the homeowners wanted to create an accessible ¾ bath on the main floor.

Fitting a vanity, toilet and shower in the small footprint required clever planning and an eye for detail. The vanity was relocated. A small bump-out into the hallway provided the cabinetry above and below with additional storage. The custom-made sink has an overflow feature. A wall mount toilet’s tank was recessed behind the wall. An almost invisible trough drain prevents water from collecting and made the bath easy to clean. It gave the small bath a more streamlined look by not having a floor drain as the focal spot of the tile floor.

The door was widened. The entire door trim was given a marine finish so incidental splashing from the shower would not deteriorate the door or the finish. Additional lighting over the vanity and overhead kept the space brightly lit.

The finished bathroom was a modern, clever space that literally utilized every inch. The homeowners have a full accessible bath without the need to navigate a spiral staircase to the loft on the second floor, which also has a full bathroom.

The full list of 2015 Regional CotY Award Winners is available at nari.org/industry/recognition/coty. 

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