Spacious kitchens and bathrooms are near the top of the list
Bigger is better when it comes to kitchen and bathroom remodels. That’s the main trend sweeping the country, according to owners of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen remodeling franchises nationwide.
Franchisees are witnessing growing demand for big, open kitchens with large center islands, more refined use of granite and other custom stone countertops, and higher ceilings. Many homeowners are also asking for computer workstations in the kitchen.
Master bathrooms are undergoing similar design changes to make them larger — even if that means absorbing adjacent small rooms. Soaking tubs are being replaced, if necessary, by large and luxurious walk-in showers, either open or frameless, with multiple shower heads or more versatile single heads. In most instances, there is an increased demand for more ambient lighting, including large skylights, with standard lighting fixtures, especially fluorescents, quickly becoming history.
Shower seats, safety grab-bars and low- or zero-barrier walk-in showers also are becoming more popular as aging Baby Boomers look to the future.
Room to breathe
Jennifer Strohl of the DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen franchise in Bradenton, Florida, says that while most new homes are built with very open floor plans, they still see many homes and condos where the kitchen has a small pass-thru window or is cut off from the other areas of the home.
“The biggest trend we’re seeing in the kitchen is really opening up the space to the living and dining areas, maybe because of Florida’s beautiful views, and providing a place for guests and family to gather near the cook. We remove a lot of the old drop ceilings, soffits, terrible lighting and full or partial walls to make the space feel completely different.”
In terms of style, there is a very wide range in tastes and preferences, she continues.
“We have many projects more traditional in style, with raised-panel doors, granite countertops and tumbled marble backsplashes, but we are also increasingly seeing a demand for a slab or Shaker door style with sleek hardware, quartz countertops, glass tiles and chrome accents. The same goes for bathrooms in terms of finishes. Large-format tiles, river rock pebbles and wood-looking tiles are all very popular with clients wanting a soothing, spa-like bathroom.”
Re-imagining living spaces
On the West Coast, Patty Gray, co-owner of the DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen franchise in Bakersfield, California, says color schemes are changing, too.
“The creamy whites are definitely a big pick in our area. Our area is more conservative than Northern or Southern California, so traditional design still reigns, but gray tones are also catching on.”
Clients also are opening up their living spaces, especially kitchens, she notes, so that cooks can be included in conversations with family and guests. Large islands or a large amount of peninsula counter space is a must for homeowners. Cambria quartz countertops are also becoming a favorite because they do not require the maintenance of granite.
She also sees the trend of master bathroom tub/shower enclosures being routinely replaced with large walk-in showers.
“Boomers are more and more concerned about aging in their homes and want the peace of mind with a barrier-free shower. Seating and safety bars are not as taboo as they once were, and clients are asking for them, while frameless shower doors are also a big request to finish off the room with fewer lines and a fluid look.”
Bringing the kitchen into the rest of the home
In Minnesota, DreamMaker’s Lynn Monson of St. Louis Park says he is receiving more and more requests to open up kitchens to the rest of the living areas and to make the resulting open space more multi-use.
“Specialized centers such as breakfast stations, beverage bars and technology stations are popular. Kitchens are less showy and more transitional or contemporary in styling. Classic white-painted cabinets are still favored, but we are also seeing shades of gray, usually a warm gray or taupe, which work well with other colors. Stainless steel is still the norm for appliances, although we have been specifying black appliances for smaller budgets and appliance panels to match the cabinets for larger budgets. The artful and functional mixing of materials for cabinets and countertops is a continued trend.”
Clients are asking for larger bathrooms by borrowing space from other areas of the home, especially for the master bath.
“Like the kitchen, it has become less showy and more transitional or contemporary in styling, with comfort and relaxation at top of mind. We have fewer requests for jetted tubs (unless prescribed for therapeutic use) and more for freestanding soaking tubs, but, if space is at a premium, the tub is abandoned altogether in favor of a larger shower.”
Heated floors and computerized controls are common requests, he says, as is more natural light in the form of obscured glass windows, skylights or Solatubes — special high-performance “tubular skylights” that bring daylight into interior spaces where traditional skylights and windows cannot reach.
When it comes to designs, aging-in-place should be considered by clients even if they are healthy and fit in their 50s and 60s.
“Today’s remodel should suit your needs today, but it should also anticipate your needs 20 years from now,” DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen President Doug Dwyer says. “A great remodel can enhance lives, and that’s what we work hard to deliver for our customers.”
DreamMaker franchise opportunities
DreamMaker is a remodeling franchise with dozens of locations nationwide. The franchise system offers several advantages to remodelers — whether they are longtime carpenters or new to the industry — such as national vendor relationships that enhance buying power, carefully designed business plans and marketing plans, training and coaching. Just as important — when you join DreamMaker, you become part of a family of franchisees who share ideas with one another, help each other improve and form friendships.