Builders are focusing more on windows, utilizing closed cell insulation and making sure they meet certain ratings and comply with Title 24
By AMI HARARI
Technology is providing many exciting new options for homes, especially in mild weather areas like Southern California where people are able to spend more time eating, relaxing, and playing outdoors. A number of trends have surfaced in recent years: one of these is an increase in requests for home automation and outdoor living spaces. In addition, we’ve seen a steady increase in clients splurging on outdoor landscaping. As people in these areas tend to “experience” their exterior spaces the most, they end up spending the most money and time on them.
Landscaping is a large splurge, but low voltage lighting (home automation), kitchen, and electrical and bath fixtures are some other high-splurge items that are important to consider when building or designing your next project. However, when considering your next project, whether that be a new build or design project, it is crucial to also consider the home’s resale value, school ratings, and curb appeal. Moreover, getting on the same page as your client from day one is imperative.
As far as trends go, we’ve noticed a few shifts in response to the increase in environmental changes (e.g. extreme fires in California, rising temperatures, etc.). To this end, we recommend putting more focus into windows, utilizing closed cell insulation, and making sure they meet certain ratings and comply with Title 24. One of our favorite trends at the moment is Ipe decking. Ipe decks are as beautiful as they are affordable, with the deep colors and texture of the wood creating a rich look that will add great value to any project. Ipe has also become increasingly popular as decorative siding, offering a beautiful finish to exterior surfaces. Lastly, outdoor showers are also an inexpensive upgrade to exterior areas.
Within the last two years, we’ve noticed that Fleetwood oversized doors have become increasingly popular, as well. These doors add depth to any room, creating the illusion of an outdoor extension, enhancing its indoor/ outdoor flow. Creating a cohesive indoor/ outdoor space is crucial. A designer once suggested to me that one should pick four colors that they love and then choose one of the colors as their focus in each room, with the other three to be used as accents. Throughout these rooms you then change the focus color, creating a theme that ties the colors and rooms together. I and the LA Build Corp team have always remembered that piece of advice.
Recent changes in determining buildable space within cities has also come to the forefront of design, effecting their own specific trends and details. For instance, a shift from detached to attached garages as a way to utilize every bit of square footage possible has become more prominent. We have also noticed an increase in basement additions in the area. With such mild weather there is rarely a need for basements, however, with the limited building space currently allotted, adding a basement can easily provide a home with at least 1,800 extra square feet. These trends have both stemmed from the desire to add more square footage while accommodating small lot space.
Ultimately, there are various interior and exterior details one can add to positively impact a home. However, it is good to keep in mind that narrow lots are some of the most challenging spaces to work with. A great example of overcoming restrictions such as recent building growth and limited lot space, is what has now become one of our signature exterior looks. At LA Build Corp we build pools which begin as a wading pool alongside the home and widen as they reach the backyard, allowing for every inch of building space to be utilized.
While trends come and go, and every person has a different list of things that are important to him or her, one thing we have noticed is that, whether you are your home’s main cook or your kitchen is used for catering only, counter space is of the utmost importance when it comes to actually living in a home. A well-thought-out kitchen makes a cook (or caterer) happy, and the details of a counter space can never be emphasized enough.
With the spring and summer months right around the corner, it is exciting to see exterior design and beautiful, yet functional indoor/ outdoor spaces on the rise.
Ami Harari is President of LA Build Corp. He may be reached at labuildcorp.com.