With more of our lives spent indoors, homeowners have had a lot more time to really look at the places they call home. They’ve been able to identify what they love about their houses and the ways they use them—and what they don’t.
Increasingly, homeowners have been turning their homes into the spaces they need them to be. Spending on home renovation projects jumped 15% last year, according to a Houzz survey of over 75,000 Americans. More than half of the survey respondents indicated that they planned to start or make more renovations this year.
Among remodeling projects, four areas of the home are getting particular attention.
Kitchens are the most popular room to renovate. Investments on major remodels of large kitchens rose 14% in 2020.
Homeowners cite two main challenges with their existing kitchens: not enough storage and not enough light, according to 34% and 24%, respectively, of homeowners that Houzz surveyed last year.
To provide more natural light, remodeler Eric Lin not only upgrades the existing windows in his clients’ homes, but also often replaces them with larger windows. Expansive windows with low-e glass, such as JELD-WEN’s EpicVue™ windows and Siteline® clad-wood windows, can fill the kitchen with natural light while providing energy efficiency.
The number-one request that Lin gets from his clients: take down the walls between the kitchen and the living or dining room. “In most of my kitchen remodel projects, homeowners want more connectivity, absolutely,” says Lin, owner of LineWork Development, a design-build company based in San Marino, Calif.
More connectivity often involves installing large glass doors, such as Siteline® patio doors, between the kitchen and the backyard. Patio doors allow for easy, smooth traffic flow for both day-to-day living and special entertaining.
When it comes to storage, homeowners’ first thought might go to walk-in pantries. These spaces certainly provide storage, but they also cut into a kitchen’s usable square footage. Instead, Lin frequently uses tall cabinets that can provide the space of a pantry but without its closed-off walls.
To create a storage or pantry space while still allowing for light and connectivity, consider interior doors with translucent glass, like the interior doors available in the MODA® Collection.
“We definitely see a lot of kitchen remodeling due to the pandemic-related need for more storage,” says Grace Tsao Mase, CEO and founder of BEYREP, a Los Angeles company that offers a project management tool that allows homeowners and building professionals to collaborate on home improvement projects.
After opening up interior spaces, backyard renovation is the second most common remodeling request from clients, Lin says. “We’re seeing a lot of backyard construction,” he says. “The backyard has become an extension of the primary house.”
That’s reflected in the national data: Last year, outdoor projects increased in popularity by 6%, according to Houzz.
Homeowners want to turn their backyard into an oasis that’s part indoor, part outdoor, Lin says. “It’s essentially a large, shaded outdoor room that’s part of the house.”
To achieve that, Lin finds one product line especially useful: “LaCantina Doors™ are vital to creating that,” he says.
“People are making outdoor living part of their overall living space,” Mase says. “They want to bring the outside in and the inside out.”
Like Lin, Mase says the indoor-outdoor connection can be achieved by using LaCantina’s folding, sliding or swing door wall systems. “LaCantina completely opens up a room and can double or triple its size,” she says.
Another trending backyard feature—the accessory dwelling unit (ADU)—can serve as an office, entertainment area, or even a pool house. The ADU’s popularity has climbed 20% this year, according to a recent survey of residential architects by the American Institute of Architects.
“ADUs provide privacy and separation, and they’re a great way to increase additional livable space and value for one’s property,” Mase says.
With LaCantina Doors on both the ADU and the primary house, the yard between them becomes like “a traditional Italian courtyard,” Lin says.
But with a greater connection between the interior and exterior, ADUs and primary homes also need heat-reflective glass and finishes that let in light while still providing year-round comfort. Homeowners might consider JELD-WEN’s Siteline, EpicVue® or Custom wood windows with triple pane glass or the Premium™ Vinyl windows with FiniShield exterior finish technology that helps reflect heat.
3. Living room
These days, a lot more living happens in living rooms. These rooms have to allow for all the many ways that homeowners use them, day in and out.
“Living rooms are becoming multipurpose rooms, used not only for entertainment, but also for exercise and work and as a play space for kids,” Mase says.
The barn door trend continues in popularity and is a great way to transform living rooms so they can fulfill these various functions. “In the pandemic and post-pandemic era, people are using barn-door systems in their living rooms,” Lin says.
With JELD-WEN’s DesignGlide™ hardware, most standard doors can easily be converted to a barn door to create one large living space when open—or create two distinct spaces when closed, such as an office, study or exercise room.
“Barn doors are a popular way to modularize space, and they’re now used in living spaces far more than ever before,” Mase says. “People want the ability to customize this space.”
To have the experience of modularization but without partitions, homeowners are getting creative, Mase suggests. For instance, they might turn the seating area next to a large bay window into the living room’s work-study space.
4. Home office
Almost one-quarter of homeowners see the lack of a designated workspace as a challenge in their homes, according to Houzz. With more people working remotely, they need a home office that meets their needs.
Barn doors can create a quick and casual home office. But serious home workers need a stronger physical and sound barrier between their working space and their living space. Solid core doors, like JELD-WEN’s ProCore™ solid core upgrade, reduce noise transmission so that the home office stays quiet, private and professional.
Home offices also benefit from high-quality windows, Mase finds. “Double-pane windows create a sound barrier for more privacy and insulation,” she says. All of JELD-WEN’s window products come standard with double pane glass and the option to upgrade to triple pane glass in the higher end window lines.
Solid core doors and double-pane windows enhance any room used as a home office, whether it’s an ADU in the backyard or a converted garage, basement or attic. “For people who want a clear delineation between living and working, double-pane windows help a lot,” Mase says.
An ADU might not be used only as a home office; it might serve different functions at different times. LaCantina Doors can give the ADU that flexibility, Lin says. “LaCantina Doors are very popular because homeowners want to have both big open spaces and flexibility,” he says. “So if it’s not used as an office, it can be used as an entertainment space.”
With the rise of work from home (WFH) and virtual learning, homeowners are demanding so much more from their dwellings today than even a few years ago. As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, expect a growing number of homeowners to invest in upgrades and remodels of their home to create spaces that meet all their needs, starting with the kitchen, backyard, living room, and home office.
For more pandemic-driven remodeling trends and ideas, check out JELD-WEN’s infographic, Remodeling Trends Are Changing.