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Local builders tell us what’s hot for new homes in 2018

Is 2018 the year you build your dream home? If so, no doubt you’ve researched everything from floor plans to faucets, from flooring to fixtures – making note of every detail that will help create the perfect home sweet home for you and your family.

And while your home should reflect your personality and your lifestyle – and you shouldn’t be influenced by trendy ideas – it’s always fun to see what’s popular and whether those ideas fit into your plans.

Let’s take a look at what’s trending in new builds in 2018 in Western New York.

“The housing market in Buffalo is really hot right now,” says Kelly Murphy, New Home Construction Professional for Marrano.

“Millennials are able to get a good price for their first home and so are moving up to a bigger home in a nice community. They’re looking for at least 2,000 square feet, with three to four bedrooms and two or more baths. And they recognize that while they’ll pay more upfront, they won’t have to worry about a new roof or furnace, painting or updating for quite awhile.”

Marrano’s upgraded 3,000 square foot design center provides homebuyers with an exclusive service. It shows design trends they can incorporate into their new home.

Architecturally, the trend seems to be leaning toward traditional with a contemporary interpretation. “We’re seeing the same gravitation toward the Craftsman style, but with an ‘urban loft’ flair,” says Andy Romanowski, President and Founder of Alliance Homes in Hamburg. “So, higher ceilings, fewer walls and more contemporary fixtures, colors, appliances and technology.” Accent exterior trim colors, textured or shake shingles and unique landscaping and lighting are popular ways to set the home apart from others on the block.

“Clients want character in their homes, too,” says Murphy. “They’re opting for more built-in bookcases, interior accent columns, distressed flooring and accent tiling in the kitchen and bathrooms.”

The open floor plan concept seems to be quite popular now, and it’s not just limited to the first floor. “We’re getting requests for open floor plans on the second floor and even in the basement,” says Greg Nanula, Regional Sales Manager for Essex Homes. “The concept works well on the second floor, when you have bedrooms that are off one common, open hallway instead of the traditional long, dark and narrow hallway. It can really make a difference in terms of light and airiness. And in the basement, it means fewer poles in the way, giving clients more options for finishing off that area.”

Essex Homes’ open floor plan shows a large eating area as an extension of kitchen.

Homes are smarter now, too. Video doorbells shoot a live feed to your smart device, allowing you to see and communicate with whomever is at your front door, safely and from any location. It also allows you to open the door from a remote location. Most homes now come pre-wired for mounting televisions above the fireplace and/or in kitchens and bathrooms, and security systems are still in demand. “It’s so much easier now because everything is wireless,” says Romanowski. “There are more diverse, cost-effective opportunities for home automation that makes life easier and the home more efficient.”

Energy efficiency is no longer limited to programmable thermostats. Tankless hot water heaters, indoor air purifiers, double-paned windows, super energy-efficient furnaces with zoned heating and 2x6 construction on exterior walls are all commonplace in new builds. “New York State building codes are updated frequently,” says Nanula. “The focus is on making homes cleaner and more cost-effective to run.”

And while open floor plans are popular, creating cozy spaces within the open concept helps create a much more cozy atmosphere.

Maybe you’d like a reading nook in the corner of the great room, with a half wall for books or a carved out space for a desk and charging station in the kitchen. Mudrooms are a must: a space where busy family members can store items – boots, hats and gloves, phone chargers, backpacks, keys, etc. – to keep them organized.

Interesting trends for the kitchen seem to be two-toned painted cabinets, Quartz countertops, hardwood flooring and large peninsulas with seating. But… a formal dining room? “They’re still popular with about fifty percent of our clients,” says Nanula.

“Those who entertain over the holidays must have that formal dining room. Others just see it as a waste of space.”
Nanula says the more popular option is to create a large eating area as an extension of the kitchen.

Bathtubs, which used to be a “must have” in every home, are also less popular.

People are, instead, opting for large, luxurious “party” showers with ceramic tile accents, more upscale materials and fewer gadgets.

“We install tubs in fewer than fifty percent of the master bathrooms now and hardly any whirlpool or soaking tubs anymore,” says Romanowski. “Clients realize they use the tub once in awhile, but they use the shower every day, and so they want a nicer shower.”

The best way to ensure you get exactly the home you’re looking for, one that will fit your busy family’s lifestyle, is to sit down with the experts – home builders, architects, designers – and discuss your needs, see samples of materials and visit model homes. Then, when they build it, you will love it.

(By Nancy Cardillo |
(Essex Homes photos Jim Lesinski.)

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