Oregon Home Remodeling: 3 Trends in Northwest Renovation

Natural light fills this addition built by Sitka Projects.

The recession has lead many people to seek simplicity and efficiency. Rather than the extravagant additions and opulent materials of the ‘nineties, home remodelers in the Pacific Northwest are reporting a thirst for soothing, simple designs. Portland home remodeling styles reflect this broader bent toward a simpler life. This article presents three major remodeling trends in the Pacific Northwest. As you plan your Oregon home remodel, perhaps you will choose to incorporate what is currently in vogue.

From global warming to the BP oil spill, there are plenty of reasons for our first trend: eco-friendly renovation.  Many homeowners are reducing their energy bills by embracing smaller building footprints and installing solar tube skylights to bring in more natural light.  Others are seeking out recycled materials, such as blue-jean insulation and reused ceramic or glass tiles. Eco-friendly, low-VOC flooring materials including cork and bamboo are also popular, although Pacific Northwest designers predict more and more Oregon home remodels will elect for indigenous woods, such as cherry. That’s because bamboo flooring is typically shipped thousands of miles from China, meaning lots of fuel must be used. Incorporating building materials from demolished buildings is also popular, as is refinishing second-hand furniture. When they want to be distinctive, today’s homeowners may contract for custom cabinetry made of post-consumer materials.

Another general trend is adding onto current structures, rather than buying new, larger homes. In particular, outdoor living spaces have seen a surge in popularity in the last few years. This trend makes good economic sense; on average, decks bring the highest ROI of any home additions. Manufacturers have responded to this trend by producing outdoor fabrics to delineate al fresco living rooms. In general, homeowners are reorganizing and re-envisioning their current homes. Along these lines, many Portland remodeling projects involve making changes to facilitate “aging in-place.” Instead of assuming they will buy a new retirement nest, Oregon home remodelers are choosing to alter their current homes, perhaps with the addition of a sunroom or game room. Universal fixtures, such as touch faucets, are increasingly common in Oregon homes.

The final trend on the horizon for every home remodeler in Oregon is toward multiple-use rooms. This falls under the same desire for a smaller environmental footprint.  For instance, the living room may double as an office space thanks to a rolling laptop desk. When guests drop by, a modular couch may be moved around into a full bed. Designs that incorporate gadgets fall into this category as well. No longer is the computer relegated to the home office; now, one may spy a fold-out desk in the kitchen, in order to facilitate looking up online recipes. Accordingly, docking stations and spaces for flat-screen TVs are the vogue.

A final overall trend is to take care of repairs before embarking on other projects. This makes sense from a real estate perspective. The cost of necessary repairs is usually deducted from a home’s selling price, so it’s smart to take care of anything that’s broken. Many projects, such as electrical and plumbing repairs, are beyond the scope of the average homeowner; in such cases, you should contact a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor who has received high ratings from the BBB and consumers on Angie’s List.

Photo: Sitka Projects LLC