Design, tech advances reshape home renovation

It’s hard to believe, but the new year is almost upon us. If you’re looking at making changes to the place you live, you might want to take stock of what the experts are seeing and predicting. There could be good ideas for you to consider for your own redesign, new home purchase or remodel. Here are five pros weighing in on some of the major trends happening now: Vanessa Linn, vice president with national builder Shea Homes, which has 13 new communities in construction in San Diego County; Niko Zavala, store manager at Lowe’s San Diego location; Clay Leaf, a La Jolla-based building contractor and 2017 president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s San Diego chapter; Chrysanthe Broikos, curator at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.; Alex Capecelatro, co-founder and CEO of, a home technology company specializing in high-end voice control systems.

Social trends

It all starts with people, including the people who live in your home today, the people who might be joining your household, (perhaps a new baby or older relative), and the people who visit regularly.

“Unprecedented shifts in both demographics and lifestyle have fundamentally transformed how we are living,” observes curator Broikos. The National Building Museum is showcasing these shifts in its current “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America” exhibition. “While only 20 percent of our households are nuclear families, (down from 40 percent in 1970), the housing market largely remains fixated on their needs,” she comments. Many households today are extended family, older singles or home shares.

Shea is one of the national home builders addressing social shifts like these. “A major factor in our layout is the impact of multigenerational families; either with adult children returning or aging relatives needing care. At a variety of our communities, we offer two options: either an additional master bedroom or a multigenerational suite with living space. We expect this to be an accelerating need in San Diego.” The region’s multicultural dynamics likely contribute to this as well, with many households having family visit from other countries for extended periods.

This is true for home renovation, too, Leaf notes. Aging-in-place projects (designed to provide safety, accessibility and comfort for older residents so they can remain at home), are happening regularly, the contractor says. “As a region with an aging population, I expect more kitchen modification for aging in place.” Bathrooms often get those enhancements first.

Interior remodels and room additions were the most requested projects in our area this year, Leaf observed from local NARI activity, and “with a short supply of new homes in San Diego, we expect this trend to continue.”

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