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Design and Interiors...

Design elements and features are a major source of income for builders and renovators, according to the latest Readers Survey conducted by Home BUILDER Magazine in April. Overall, results show that while 39 per cent of clients typically will not spend more on design
elements, as much as 16 per cent of them will spend over 20 per cent more than the original home or renovation project cost. Another 45 per cent will spend between 10 and 20 per cent more. (See Table 1)
In British Columbia as much as 23 per cent of clients will spend over 20 per cent more, followed closely by Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where 22 per cent will spend over 20 per cent more. In Atlantic Canada (61%) and Quebec (50%), clients will not spent more than the original price of the project. Generally, about one-half of clients will spend between 10 and 20 per cent more on design elements in Ontario (46%), Quebec (47%), British Columbia (52%), Alberta (52%), Manitoba (50%) and Saskatchewan (50%).

What part of the home gets the most design attention?
Builders said that the front entrance, kitchen and living room areas are the prime candidates for additional design work. These are followed closely by the family room and bathrooms. For renovators, the front entrance, living rooms and kitchens were the top three areas, followed by family rooms and bathrooms. (See Table 2) In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, bathrooms were in the lead, while in Quebec it was living rooms that were first.

Why do clients add design?
For builders, the main reasons to add design elements were: ease of sale (51%), additional comfort (41%), looks (41%), convenience (39%) and energy savings (38%). For renovators: ease of sale (50%), comfort (46%), looks (43%), increased quality of life (42%) and energy savings (41%).

What do clients want?
The hottest design trends that clients request are in flooring, trims, colours, high ceilings and stairs, followed by built-ins, lighting, walls and front porches. Builders said the items that are very important to their clients are: flooring (93%), high ceilings (71%), trims (67%), colours (56%), front porches (53%), stairs (51%), built-ins (44%), walls (42%), lighting (36%) and security (35%). Renovators' clients want these features: flooring (70%), trims (62%), colours (53%), built-ins (52%), stairs (47%), lighting (47%), walls (40%), high ceilings (37%) and front porches (28%). (See Table 3)
Nationally, results were very similar with the exception of built-ins, which are in high demand in British Columbia and stairs, which are in demand in the Atlantic Provinces.

What kitchen design elements help you sell?
Overall replies show that the hottest items (considered "very important") in the kitchen area are: cabinets/hardware (81%), flooring (76%), open concept (75%), corian/granite (61%), colours (58%), upgraded faucets and sinks (57%), lighting (54%), vaulted ceilings (45%) and built-in appliances (41%). Replies from builders and renovators were very similar. Regionally, colours had a higher priority in Quebec, and the open concept was the main element in British Columbia and the Atlantic. Lighting was in second position in Manitoba after cabinets.

What bathroom design elements help you sell?
Overall replies for the hottest items (considered "very important") in bathrooms design are: flooring/tile materials (79%), separate shower stall (65%), colours (54%), spa tubs (54%), lighting (50%), upgraded sinks (48%) and rain showerheads (45%). Builders ranked spa tubs and upgraded sinks a bit higher and renovators ranked lighting and rain showerheads higher. Regionally, in Ontario colours were ranked much lower and spa tubs and upgraded sinks higher. In British Columbia, separate toilet areas were ranked higher and, in Alberta, lighting was ranked higher.

Home Builder Magazine will continue to conduct timely surveys about issues of concern. If you'd like to participate, please register (click here) to be counted and to let us know what you think.

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