Home Sizes, Suburban Shift Seen Increasing as COVID Offshoot

Home Sizes, Suburban Shift Seen Increasing as COVID Offshoot

WASHINGTON, DC — Single-family home sizes are reportedly rising as an offshoot of the COVID-19 pandemic, reversing a recent trend toward downsizing, as homeowners are seeking additional residential space for a wider range of purposes, particularly teleworking and school-related activities.

At the same time, trade association officials are reporting a continued shift in new residential construction away from urban areas to lower-density, lower-cost suburban markets.

According to the latest analysis by the National Association of Home Builders, the median size of a newly built single-family home increased to 2,297 sq. ft., while the average size for new single-family homes increased to 2,540 sq. ft.

Since Great Recession lows, home sizes rose between 2009 to 2015 as entry-level new construction was constrained, according to the NAHB. In contrast, home sizes declined between 2016 and 2020, as more starter homes were developed, the NAHB said.

“Going forward, we expect home size to increase again, given a shift in consumer preferences for more space due to the increased use and roles of homes in the post-COVID-19 environment,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the Washington, DC-based NAHB.

The NAHB also reported that residential construction continued its yearlong shift toward the suburbs and lower-cost markets, a trend that’s especially pronounced within the multifamily sector.

According to the association’s latest Home Building Geography Index (HBGI), multifamily residential construction posted a 14.3% gain in small metro core and suburban areas during the second quarter of 2021, while large metro areas experienced a 0.5% decline for multifamily building activity.

“The trend of construction shifting from high-density metro areas to more affordable regions, which accelerated at the beginning of the pandemic, appears to be continuing,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke.

“There’s a marked increase in new apartment construction outside large metro areas, as people have greater flexibility to live and work in more affordable markets,” added Robert Dietz, chief economist for the NAHB.

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NAHB Urges Action on Supply Chain Bottlenecks, Tariffs

NAHB Urges Action on Supply Chain Bottlenecks, Tariffs

WASHINGTON, DC The National Association of Home Builders has renewed its calls on Congress and the Biden administration to help ease building material supply chain bottlenecks that are stunting housing affordability by eliminating trade barriers and seeking solutions to port congestion and major delays in truck and rail transportation.

Testifying before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations, NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke this week told government lawmakers that disruptions in the building materials supply chain that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are having “a disproportionate” impact on smaller homebuilding firms.

“Without large economies of scale, small businesses generally cannot negotiate bulk discounts on lumber and other key building materials,” said Fowke. “The effects of this uncertainty trickle all the way to the (prospective) homebuyer, many of whom have balked at projects due to unexpected price increases.”

According to the Washington, DC-based NAHB, historically high lumber and building materials prices continue to serve as “headwinds” for the U.S. housing sector, significantly impeding housing affordability.

“From steel mill products and plastic piping to cooper pipe and wood windows and doors, prices are up dramatically year-to-date and are exacerbating the growing housing affordability crisis,” Fowke said, suggesting that the Biden administration address two fundamental problems.

“On the trade front, until a long-term solution can be reached, Congress and the administration should temporarily suspend duties on a wide array of imported building materials and goods, from Canadian softwood lumber to Chinese steel and aluminum,” said Fowke. “In addition, policymakers must continue to aggressively explore solutions to ease building material supply chain disruptions that are causing project delays and putting upward pressure on home prices.”

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KBIS, IBS Health & Safety Guidelines Updated

KBIS, IBS Health & Safety Guidelines Updated

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ A revised set of health and safety protocols, including COVID-19 vaccination requirements and/or proof of a negative coronavirus test result, have been issued for the 2022 Design & Construction Week (DCW), the annual three-day event that encompasses the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the International Builders’ Show (IBS).

The National Kitchen & Bath Association, which owns KBIS, and the National Association of Home Builders, owner of IBS, this week released the revised protocols for DCW, set for Feb. 8-10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The guidelines, effective as of Oct. 11, apply to all attendee and exhibitor registrants for both KBIS and IBS, and are subject to revision, event sponsors noted.

“The safety and wellbeing of our attendees, partners, exhibitors, site workers and staff remains our top priority, said DCW organizers, adding that they are “working with our vendors, partners and the Orange County Convention Center to…deliver a safe and productive environment in which to conduct business.”

“As we get closer to returning to an in-person event, we continue to update our health and safety policies based upon current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Florida and local Orlando health authorities, event organizers added. “We will continue to monitor their recommendations and will update relevant information as needed.”

Among the following health and safety protocols to be adhered to are the following:

n All registered attendees and exhibitors will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within five days of attending the show. Two types of negative tests are acceptable: polymerase chain reaction, referred to as “PCR” (also called diagnostic or molecular), or rapid antigen test (also referred to as a “rapid test”).

n Any one of the following will be accepted for entry (when accompanied by a valid government issued photo ID): electronic proof of a negative test result through a show-management approved app, or a printed or digital copy of negative COVID-19 test results, written in English, that indicates the type of test administered and includes the name of the person in question and the date the test was administered. Per CDC guidelines, negative COVID-19 test results are valid for five days, meaning that the negative test must have been completed no earlier than Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, in order to be accepted for entry for all three show days. If an individual is unable or unwilling to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to entry will suffice.

n Show attendees, exhibitors and others will be required to wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status when riding on an official show hotel shuttle and when indoors at the OCCC from move-in through move-out and at other show related venues.

n U.S. domestic residents will be considered fully vaccinated if they have completed two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. International travelers who have completed full regimens of vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be considered fully vaccinated.

Show management said it is “continuously monitoring guidance from the CDC and state/local health authorities” and reserves the right to adjust the shows’ health & safety protocols “as relevant recommendations and tradeshow industry standards evolve.”

“Guidance related to large gatherings relative to COVID-19 and associated variants continues to change,” DCW organizers said. “What will remain constant is the commitment of the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) and NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and to the health and safety of attendees, exhibitors, partners and staff at our shows.”

Additional details regarding the health and safety Policies for Design and Construction Week can be found at: http://www.designandconstructionweek.com/healthsafety.html.


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Beauty, Function & Wellness Blend in the Latest Bath Accessories

Beauty, Function & Wellness Blend in the Latest Bath Accessories

As homeowners look to their baths as an escape from the hectic world, function and beauty take the lead in design. However, the urgent craving for wellness is also having an impact on the elements of the bath. What were once luxuries, such as towel warmers and statement-making accessories, are now an integral part of the overall aesthetic of peaceful pampering.

Here are some of the hottest trends in bath accessories right now.

Organization has taken a giant leap forward, with storage shelves and towel storage becoming key elements of the design.Finishes are still trending warm, with matte blacks and all shades of gold leading the charge.Safety and accessibility continue to be top of mind, and items such as grab bars and shelving provide their services in very stylish ways.Open storage is becoming much more popular, and shelving on walls and in vanities and showers is adding extra space for decorative and functional items.Decorative accessory finishes have moved beyond metals and now include powder-coated paints, as well as stone and wood for a touch of nature.Saving space and using every inch of the bath continues to be important, and those demands are being answered by smaller-sized accessories, individual towel warming rails and wall niches.

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Appliance Shipments Continue Climb Through Q3

Appliance Shipments Continue Climb Through Q3

WASHINGTON, DC — Reflecting continued gains in new construction and residential remodeling, domestic shipments of major home appliances continued their year-long upward climb through the third quarter of 2021, despite a modest July-through-September downturn, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reported.

According to the Washington, DC-based AHAM, a July-through-September decline of 2.4% compared the same quarter a year ago was not enough to thwart an overall year-to-date gain of 16.0% in major appliance shipments compared to the same nine-month period in 2019.

Year-to-date shipments through the third quarter of 2021 totaled 66.7 million units, compared to 57.5 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2020, AHAM reported.

Gains through the third quarter were posted in all key product categories, including food preservation (+17.8%), cooking (+12.6%), kitchen cleanup (+9.1%) and home laundry (+19.1%), the trade association said.


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SEN to Host Four-Day November Business School

SEN to Host Four-Day November Business School

CHARLOTTE — SEN Design Group, the Charlotte, NC-based buying group and business education resource, has begun accepting registrations for its industry-specific Business School, to be held in-person Nov. 8-11 at theMART in Chicago.

The four-day event, sponsored by Custom Wood Products and Bridgewood Cabinetry, is aimed at empowering owners and executives in the kitchen and bath industry with business management tools aimed at growing their businesses, according to SEN.

“The Business School is the kitchen and bath firm owner’s opportunity to move the needle in their organizations. It’s a truly transformational, poignant program that brings industry owners and partners to the next level,” said Dan Luck, SEN Design Group’s senior v.p.

“The program covers critical topics to maximize returns, master financials, leverage marketing strategies, improve personnel relations and implement proven methods to quickly and profitably grow kitchen and bath businesses,” Luck said.

According to SEN Business School, attendees “will develop strong strategic planning skills and learn how to manage business financials, build a successful commission system, learn how to forecast sales, create an effective pricing formula, increase profits, build a powerful sales team, win bank financing requests, develop a three-year budget and more.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting www.SENDesignGroup.com.

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An Incredible story from our Client

An Incredible story from our Client

Hey there. My name is Anna. I live with my husband, David, in Vienna in Northern Virginia. For years and years, we just rented apartments together. We worked hard and saved up to get our own place. He works as a cashier in the local bank, and I’m a corporate administrative assistant. On the side, he does some gardening work, and I teach English online for extra cash. We never had the big bucks but always had enough to pay our way. I would say that we are the epitome of good, honest Americans, determined to make our way in the world without handouts or dishonesty.

The dream we shared, though, was to have our own place. Renting apartments was always fine, but we longed to have our own space. Having control over decorating decisions and whether or not we had a pet always seemed like such an improvement. In any case, we are both thirty years old now. Apartment living is okay for a young couple, but now we are older, we might want kids. With that in mind, we just needed more space. It was better for us to get our own place before we had kids anyway. We didn’t want the pressure of finding somewhere while I was pregnant, nor did we want our children growing up on a building site.

So, we set about looking. It was a long process. So many places priced us out. We weren’t averse to paying to have work done on any property, but it had to come to the right price to begin with. Anyway, after months of disappointment and anxiety, we found the place and our offer was accepted.

It was an old-fashioned single-story house with three bedrooms. The interior decoration was so outdated. I think the previous occupier had been living there since it was built in the 1970s and had never bothered to decorate. For example, the kitchen was a disgrace. The entire thing was covered in lime green tiles. The concrete floor had a thin carpet over it. Anybody who has ever cooked anything in their life knows that no one needs carpet in the kitchen. The cupboard doors were coming off their hinges, and the entire space was illuminated by just one hanging lightbulb.

To make matters worse, the kitchen looked like it had barely been cleaned in its entire existence. Grime appeared to be embedded into the surfaces. Both David and I agreed that the whole thing would have to go. We would rip it out and start again, build our own creation. This was effectively our decision with the whole property. The only thing that we wanted to leave in place was the roof and the walls. Everything else had to be changed and rebuilt to our specification. Sure, this would cost a little bit of money, and our budget was fairly tight, but by the end, we would have the house of our dreams.

The kitchen was the starting point. First of all, because we wanted to live in the house right away. If we started on the bedrooms or living areas, then our lives would be disrupted significantly from the get-go. The kitchen, on the other hand, presented the least amount of inconvenience. Sure, there would be an uncomfortable period of eating takeaway every night, which would be expensive too, but that pain would be worth it. Once it was done, we could move onto the rest of the property.

It seemed like a good plan at the time. It wasn’t. The nightmare that ensued around that kitchen taught me a lesson that I will never forget. I will never forgive those responsible for what happened, including myself. It was a total disaster, and I am now writing this as a warning. Do not make the same mistakes we did. We made blunder after blunder. It ended up costing us thousands beyond what was reasonable. To make matters worse, the emotional cost was so much more than that.

Before I can properly describe what went wrong, I have to tell you what we were trying to get done. We wanted the kitchen to be extended. It was not really big enough for our needs, especially if we were going to raise a family in it. So, we needed to carry out some home additions knocking out a wall and extending the space into the garden a little bit. We needed the kitchen remodeled completely. It was open plan and decorated in the most grotesque way possible. Instead, we wanted a clean, classy look with an island in the center where my family and I could eat and socialize.

Once the kitchen was done, all three bedrooms and the lounge needed to be done. They were decorated with discolored white wallpaper that had turned a sort of yellow over the years. We did not need much done in them other than a redecoration, with the walls getting replastered and painted a new shade of white. A lick of paint would have solved many of the problems in the house, making it seem brighter and less dated. This was something that we identified the moment we moved in and wanted to get started with as soon as the kitchen was done.

The bathroom was the final issue. Perhaps one of the biggest inconveniences of the property is that it only had one bathroom to begin with. The style of the bathroom was the next issue. Although it was a good size, the bathroom’s décor was not dissimilar to the kitchen. Everybody knows that the best color for a bathroom is white. Why the designers decades ago decided that lime green was the best shade, I will never know. Of course, the area has dilapidated over the years, but I cannot imagine that it ever looked any good to begin with. Even being in there at all made me feel nauseous.

Given my description of the house, you might be wondering why we even bought it at all. That is understandable, as I can see that I have been less than complimentary about the state of the property. The simple answer is that it was within our budget. If we could have purchased somewhere cheap that was also our dream home, then, of course, we would have. The plan was to get this place for a low price and then have a relatively low-cost renovation, meaning we had our perfect house for less than we could have paid. Of course, we were willing to spend some money, but we intended to be as frugal as possible.

The first issue we ran into was getting a contractor to do the work. I can now see that choosing the right contractor is potentially the most important part of any project. At the time, we did not choose the right contractor. We chose the one that was cheapest and available at the earliest opportunity. We should have spent time doing research, looking at a variety of contractors across the surrounding areas like McLean, Great Falls, Reston and Arlington. Instead, we just chose the cheapest one from Vienna. I won’t name them out of courtesy, but we made a huge mistake. We ignored their bad reviews because of their low pricing and willingness to do the job straight away. We were just so desperate to get the job done immediately (yesterday would have been preferable) and for a low cost. In the end, it cost us more time and money than it would have done if we’d have just done our research properly.

The company turned up two hours late on the first day of the job. Both David and I had taken a day off work to oversee the first day and welcome the workmen. Already, we had lost two precious hours of time on the project, as well as two hours that we could have been at work. To their credit, the workmen did start work as soon as they got there, beginning to process of demolishing the wall to extend the kitchen’s area. Although, by the end of the day, they had caused unwanted damage to the roof, which we intended to keep largely intact. Already, after just a few hours, the additional costs had started to rack up.

The extension took what felt like forever, almost the entire amount of time we had budgeted for the whole project. Every day, it felt like we were running into a new issue. It did not matter what was happening, there was always something to make it worse. The builders we had chosen charged a cheap rate but charged by the day. Every day, they were late. Sometimes, they would not work at all if the weather was not perfect. I cannot describe to you how many coffee breaks were had. It is not healthy to have that much coffee, surely. Then, occasionally, they would tell me that some material or tool they needed was not available or had increased in price for some obscure reason. All of this meant extra time and extra money being added to the job.

Both David and I felt humiliated by the time the first stage of the project was completed. We had burned through almost our entire budget on what was supposed to be just a small part of the project. So angry were we that we decided to complain to the contractor’s management. In fairness, they were understanding and helpful, although I now realize that this is because they were accustomed to dealing with complaints on a regular basis. All of their customers were disgruntled and for the same reasons as we were.

The management offered us a discounted rate for the rest of the kitchen, as well as their personal assurance that the levels of professionalism would increase and that they would use only the finest and highest quality materials on our job. I cannot believe how stupid we were. We believed them. We swallowed the sales pitch, the lie: hook, line, and sinker.

The kitchen design they gave us for the remodeling was good. Well, it looked good in the pictures, which had undoubtedly been edited beyond recognition. Maybe they were made on a computer in the first place. I cannot tell. Suffice to say, the final version did not look like what we were promised.

As I have said, we wanted a clean, white kitchen, with an island in the center. More than anything, we wanted to reduce clutter and have a place that was practical for kitchen tasks but also comfortable enough to spend time in every day. We received neither of these things.

The issues around timeliness did not resolve themselves, despite the resolution from contractor management. They still turned up late. They still did not turn up in bad weather (even though the job was now primarily inside). They still had issues with tools and materials. Their problems obtaining the correct apparatus for the job led to us accepting cream furnishings for the kitchen instead of white. We now have cream tiles and cupboards, with a white sink. The cream tiles remind me of the original faded white wallpaper in the bedrooms and lounge. The very aesthetic we were trying to avoid is the one we had installed.

I still cannot believe this, but one of the cabinets actually fell off before the kitchen was fully remodeled and installed. This is a particularly impressive example of shoddy workmanship, considering we had not even used the kitchen cabinets yet. Surely these people cannot have been professional kitchen cabinet installers. Any person with any experience could have surely fitted a cabinet without it falling off before the conclusion of the project! I still cannot get my head around it.

At the end of the kitchen remodeling, it looked nothing like the model we had been shown. It was a different color. None of the finishing was done properly. Bits of grouting between the tiles had been spread over the lines and had not been cleaned up at all. The light fittings were done how we asked but occasionally flickered when we turned them on. The sink was a different color from the cabinets and tiles. David put a spirit level on the counter of the island and realize it was not even straight. If you filled a glass of water to the brim, it would spill. We were devastated. We had gone so far over budget that we may as well have used one of the more expensive professionals. Our quick job had become protracted, and we had barely started, there was still the rest of the house to do.

We could not carry on with this contractor. Even though we had come so far with them, we could not do any more. We decided to change contractor and cut our losses. This time, we did our research and looked for an experienced professional with a degree of integrity and skill. We looked at reviews and pricing. Eventually, we decided to go with Explore Kitchens, who are based not too far away, in McLean, VA. They were able to come out to us straight away to price up the job. The project was priced honestly. The quote was more expensive than the previous company, but we were more confident that it would not be exceeded and that we could depend on them to keep to their promises. Similarly, the job was predicted to take a little bit longer, but this was okay. A longer deadline that is actually met is better than a short one that is missed.

We chose them to undertake the bathroom remodeling work and the home remodeling tasks. They did an excellent job, with everything being done as promised and within budget. They used high-quality materials that I am confident will be durable and not need repairing for a long time to come. It is a shame that they were not around to do the original home additions and kitchen remodeling because they would have done such a better job.

Although the kitchen is not what we wanted, Explore Kitchens have done an amazing job with the rest of the place. They were truly professional and greatly exceeded our expectations. In all likelihood, when we have saved up a little more, we will go back to them to realize our kitchen dream and get it back to how it should be. It is a shame that we have to get Explore Kitchens to remodel somebody else’s work, but we will feel better once it has been done.

I think we were naïve in our hope that we could get a perfect job for such a low cost. We looked at other projects that had been expensive although well crafted and thought we could get the same result for a low price. We thought that we could outsmart the system, that everybody else was stupid for following the status quo. We thought that the more expensive and reputable companies were conmen, keen to make extra money off unsuspecting and gullible customers. As it turned out, we were the gullible ones. My face still turns red with embarrassment just thinking about it now.

I cannot overstate how much we recommend Explore Kitchens for anyone in Northern Virginia. Please, learn from our experience. If you try to go cheap, you will end up paying twice. If you want it done yesterday, you should be prepared to wait a year. If you’re in McLean, Vienna, Great Falls, Reston, Arlington or Virginia, you should use them. Whether you’re after kitchen remodelers, kitchen design, kitchen cabinet installers, or just tile and flooring, they are certainly the company for you. I am happy to write this recommendation for them so that other people do not make the same mistakes that David and I did.

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New CA Law Requires Use of ‘Lead-Free’ Plumbing Fixtures

New CA Law Requires Use of ‘Lead-Free’ Plumbing Fixtures

ONTARIO, CA — A new plumbing code signed into law in California will mandate strict new limits on the manufacturing and sale of plumbing fixtures that leach lead, a toxin that has been tied for decades to drinking water, state officials announced.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week signed into law AB 100, legislation that establishes new lead leaching standards for the state, according to the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), an organization that coordinates the development and adaptation of plumbing, mechanical, swimming pool and solar energy codes in the U.S. and abroad.

The new law, effective Jan. 1, 2023, prohibits the manufacturing and sale in California of any plumbing fixture, fitting or faucet that does not meet NSF/ANSI/CAN 61-2020, the IAPMO said. The law also requires that product packaging and labeling of any device that’s intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption must indicate compliance with the “lead-free” standard.

“AB 100 will help reduce the risk of lead exposure in the built environment through certified, ‘lead-free’ endpoint devices,” said Robyn Fischer, director of government relations for the Ontario, CA-based IAPMO. “This new law will complement the larger-scale efforts underway to help protect Californian’s water infrastructure and underscores the state’s commitment to uphold public health and safety.”

“We’re grateful that California’s new law promotes the industry standard for lead reduction, so that drinking water fixtures and faucets are accurately labeled,” added Tom Palkon, IAPMO’s executive v.p.

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Continued Growth Forecast for U.S. Building Products

Continued Growth Forecast for U.S. Building Products

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. building products market will continue building on its “exponential growth” of the past two years, gaining an additional 2.9% from 2023 through 2025, with the professional sector increasing by 4.6%, according to a newly released forecast by the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI).

The Indianapolis-based HIRI predicted that the total U.S. building products market will increase by 13% in 2021 over the previous year, with the professional sector growing by 18.2%. The total building products market is forecast to grow an additional 2.3% in 2022, with the professional sector growing by 7.1%, HIRI added.

“The home improvement industry had explosive growth during the coronavirus pandemic, due primarily to DIY projects, but that may now be driven by pros,” said HIRI Research Director Matthew Craig, adding that growth in the DIY sector is expected to decline as an overall share of home improvement product sales in 2022, since “many homeowners completed planned projects throughout this year and the last.”

However, growth “will continue further in the professional products market as COVID-19 restrictions ease and projects put on hold resume, HIRI said.

“The strong home improvement outlook provided by pandemic behavior has been given new life by improved employment gains, increased access to vaccinations and additional stimulus measures,” said HIRI. “A continuing strong economy suggests that spending (in the professional sector) will improve, as households feel more comfortable with contractors in their home.”

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LX Hausys America Unveils New Brand Identities

LX Hausys America Unveils New Brand Identities

CHICAGO – LX Hausys America Inc. unveiled new brand identities for its  HIMACS Solid Surface and Viatera Quartz Surface brands, and a new brand identity for its resilient floorcovering line of products, HFLOR, at NeoCon last week. The new brand identities reflect the company’s name change this summer from LG Hausys America to LX Hausys America.

The new name is a result of the company’s position within the recently established LX Holdings Corp. The holding company is a globally diversified organization recently spun off from LG Group, the South Korean multinational conglomerate best known for its advanced consumer electronics.

Concurrent with the name change, the company introduced a new logo. It pays homage to the company’s roots, looks to the future and embodies the organization’s management philosophy: “Link to a sustainable future.” Of significance, the “X” within the LX Hausys logo is intersected with an ascending diagonal line, which is a visual representation of the company accelerating into the future, notes the firm.

An ascending diagonal line is now found within each brand logo. This subtle design treatment creates a unified look between the company and its three brands, the company continues. It also ensures the company’s mission for creating a more sustainable future is consistently visually represented across its portfolio of brands.


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