Home Trends: New Home Wish List

The influence of HGTV is a driving force behind choices in floor plans and finishes.

Kitchen islands—the bigger the better—are a must-have for today’s new home buyers.

Garrison/Courtesy of AV Homes

While HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper ended production earlier this year, the influence of its stars Chip and Joanna Gaines on homebuyers indicates no sign of slowing. Filled with out-of-the-box ideas that are livable, casual, and oftentimes affordable, these programs appeal to the options-oriented.

“Ten years ago, homebuyers building new homes were dealing with a limited range of options. The presumption was that they would be overwhelmed by too many choices, so we pared it down,” says Annette Brown, studio manager at KB Homes in Orlando. “Now we’re in the age of Amazon, where there is no end to options, and people are used to shopping that way. It applies to new homes as well.”

As new home communities proliferate throughout Central Florida, so do the varieties of fixtures and finishes that distinguish one home from the next. It’s all in the details. Particulars as focused as grout color are now a matter of discussion.

“We recently had a buyer who wanted a rustic farmhouse look. She loves the show Flip or Flop, and she showed me a few snippets from an episode she liked. We basically re-created everything from the show, from the floor and countertops to the fixtures and walls,” says Brown.

We tend to think that customization comes with a hefty price tag, but tailor-made rooms in the new home market are available at every price point.

Stephen Yerrakadu, director of architecture for AV Homes in Orlando, designed homes for Toll Brothers in a previous role. He took the time to wander through the sales center and listen to buyers commenting on designs for six-figure houses. “I would listen for those wow moments—their reactions to functional spaces that make life easier as well as dramatic, informal spaces.”

Those wow moments had the same energy and inspiration as HGTV shows that inspire AV Home’s buyers. So informed by the needs and interests of buyers whose tastes are cultivated by lifestyle programming, he developed floor plans that capture the spirit of those higher-end homes. “If we can offer homes at the entry-level price point that reflect what they see on HGTV shows, we’re offering a better product to our buyers,” he says. “We’ve been able to add features like larger kitchen islands, drop zones, oversized pantries, and owner’s entries without increasing costs.”

The features described by Yerrakadu, which are the same features touted by on-screen designers, are right in line with trends that were on display in exhibits at the International Builders’ Show earlier this year at the Orange County Convention Center. So where did these trends originate? Were they born on television or did product designers develop them first?

“The designs come first and the television shows celebrate and encourage the lifestyles that align with those designs. The Gaines family and Tarek and Christina El Moussa make it okay for everyone to embrace those trends. The casual and welcoming design for casual entertaining has come to the forefront as a result, and the formal dining room has fallen by the wayside,” explains Yerrakadu.

The trend funnel is set to keep producing. HGTV has new shows in their 2019 lineup— each one a source of inspiration for the style-minded: Christina on the Coast features El Moussa solo,  and  Restored by the Fords depicts a brother and sister renovating Pittsburgh houses while preserving the historic charm.

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