There's no single type of buyer who defines the market for the sort of homes featured in the 2014 Fort Wayne Parade of Homes. Those buyers range from downsizing retirees who want room and a setting to entertain to busy 30-something professionals moving up, said Elizabeth Urschel, executive new-home specialist with Granite Ridge Builders.
Urschel and Kayla Hoffman, an interior designer with Choice Designs Inc., said Villa No. 2 in the Parade of Homes exemplifies many of the trends and features people will see in the seven traditional homes and two villas in this year's parade.
The three-bedroom, two-bath one-story house in the Forest at Foxwood subdivision, located east of the Maplecrest exit on Interstate 469, is 2,348 square feet. It's priced at $379,900.
“We try to strive for what people are looking for or forecast what they'll be asking for later,” said Hoffman. She said trends arrive here a little later, often inspired by fashions in home design drawn from both coasts as early style leaders.
Among its features that are hot in home design now:
• High ceilings — 9 or 10 feet — with ceiling details such as ornamental beams to highlight those areas.
• Bringing the outside inside and the inside outside. “People want to stay home; they don't have time to go out,” Hoffman said. “Bringing the outside in ranges from big windows overlooking the 17-acre pond in the center of the subdivision to small features of decor, such as a mirror in the foyer framed in a lattice of driftwood.
When it comes to bringing the inside outside, Villa No. 2 includes a large porch at the rear of the home. Half of it lies under an overhanging roof and can be enclosed by a retractable screen. The other half surrounds a fire pit and outdoor seating.
• Hard-surface flooring, such as laminate flooring, throughout much of the house.
In the case of Villa No. 2, more than half the square footage of the house is contained in a central living area that includes the kitchen, a living room, a sunroom and a dining area.
Urschel pointed out that the same laminate flooring, in a dark wood pattern, panels one wall of the carpeted master bedroom to extend the visual theme through more of the house.
“Most people walk in and want the wow factor,” Urschel said.
An exam-ple of a de-tail that inspires that reaction in home shoppers, she said, are granite or quartz countertops, much more popular now than the laminate countertops common five or 10 years ago.