At builder’s show, walking the floor for remodeling ideas

Clayplaster_4You want your remodel to reflect tomorrow’s trends, not yesterday’s. Right? Toward that end, I’ve been in San Francisco this week at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference as your proxy, to learn what the new-home builders are thinking. As I heard at an all-day green building workshop, homes built correctly today could last 200 years or longer. But of course, as we’re Americans, we will want things updated from time to time.

Here are the trends I’m seeing this year:

Green products and a focus on the environment are everywhere, which is pretty amazing considering that homebuilders have not been green enthusiasts in the past. The word for years was that consumers weren’t demanding it, and so builders didn’t build it. Well, now the consumers have spoken. Green is in. (You do wonder, though, if this era of do-goodism will be followed by one of hedonism, as the ’60s were eventually followed by the ’80s.)

Natural products are hot. Walls finished with natural clay plaster (pictured) look amazing, so appealing.

Solar roof tiles are a big focus for production builders. It could be that someday a house without solar is hopelessly outdated. BP Solar and Sharp are big players. Read this story in the Real Estate section.

• The quieting of homes seems to be a priority, from soundproofing drywall to super-quiet exhaust fans to, believe it or not, extra quiet garage door openers.

• And finally, retractable screens are everywhere. These are window or door screens that roll up or sideways into a tubular enclosure when not needed. And come to think of it, why do we need screens over our openings all the time, even when there are no bugs around? Like so many other good ideas, you think: What took them so long!

(Photo: American Clay)