The housing industry is clearly on its most solid footing in years and Americans are projected to spend a near-record $317 billion on home improvement this year
That translated into plenty of energy and excitement at this year’s Design & Construction Week, in Orlando, Fla. A team of Consumer Reports home editors and market analysts joined more than 80,000 design and construction professionals at the Orange County Convention Center, where about 1,500 manufacturers and suppliers unveiled their latest appliances, kitchen and bath fixtures, building materials, and more. A trade show of this size and scale almost defies trendspotting, but patterns did emerge as we traversed the 569,000 square feet of floor space. Here are seven developments we expect to see more of in 2017. We included pricing and availability information, where we could.
Indoor Gardening Goes High-Tech—and High-End
Houzz, the home design website, released a survey at the show that found a third of homeowners report leading a healthier lifestyle after a kitchen renovation, from eating more fruits and vegetables to preparing more meals at home.
That’s creating a market for products that help homeowners grow fresh produce in the kitchen. Exhibit A: the Urban Cultivator (pictured), a climate-controlled, irrigated indoor garden that’s about the size of an undercabinet wine chiller. Bobby Berk, a designer based in Los Angeles who took home the NAHB’s 2017 Gold Award for Best Interior Design, said he has been installing the Urban Cultivator on more and more projects, especially in extreme climates like Las Vegas, where it’s tough to garden outdoors.
“It definitely caters to health enthusiasts, but also my clients who are into tech stuff,” he said, adding that he’s also put them in garage studios and wet bars (think mint juleps and Thai basil mojitos).
The Urban Cultivator includes all of the equipment needed for hydroponic growing; you just need water and electrical lines. At $2,500 the unit isn’t cheap, but given the cost of many artisanal greens, from sorrel to sunflower, you could make it back … eventually.
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, we saw more evidence of the indoor gardening trend in Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler, an indoor recycler that is said to use a combination of oxygen, moisture, heat, and mixing to speed up the decomposition process, converting a week’s worth of food waste into ready-to-use homemade fertilizer within 24 hours. The Zera system is expected to be available in September 2017 through Indiegogo. You can pre-order it through Indiegogo at a promotional price of $999, down from the $1,199 manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
For a look at more of these trends, click here: Home Improvement Trends