They represent the largest demographics in the United States – Millennial and Generation Z adults — and both groups are entering the homebuying market in significant numbers. So what these young tastemakers find compelling in design and remodeling is definitely worth noting.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association spotlights their preferences with its annual 30s Choice Awards, selected by members of the trade organization’s latest Thirty Under 30 class and announced in a virtual ceremony on April 29.
These young judges, all professionals in the design and remodeling industry, are divided into six teams, each focused on one of these areas: Sustainability, universal design/aging in place, outdoor living, wellness, creative use of color and smart home integration. It’s worth noting that most of the product winners – not just the one claiming the wellness award – offer features and benefits that fit into one or more of the five facets of wellness design. Here are their choices.
Outdoor Living Award
FLORIM, Aesthetics & Versatility Porcelain Tile
What makes these tiles wellness enhancements? Simply put, porcelain fulfills the functionality facet of wellness design. This material’s durability and low maintenance make it an ideal outdoor surface, which can be used on flooring, countertops, cabinet fronts and walls. On outdoor floors, it can also come in slip resistant finishes to reduce falls, a definite safety facet benefit, especially for older adults. And it’s versatile enough to fit any owner style preferences, fitting into the comfort and joy facet.
Smart Home Integration Award
GE CAFÉ APPLIANCES, WiFi Enabled Products
Smart home technology isn’t inherently wellness-enhancing and some appliances deliver less than they promise, but there are tech features that can definitely fit into the wellness design facets. Voice control is one of them, making it easier for someone with vision or mobility limitations to cook, (an accessibility benefit). It can also let you turn off a burner you or another household member left on) without being at the stove, a definitely safety facet of wellness design benefit. Guided cooking can help a burgeoning home chef prepare healthier meals, a health and fitness facet.
Universal Design / Living in Place Award
ELKAY, Dart Canyon ADA Compliant Sink
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed almost 31 years ago, it was intended to make commercial spaces accessible to everyone, regardless of physical challenges, but there have been definite spillover features and benefits for single family residences. In fact, as more homeowners prefer to live at home in their senior years, manufacturers are responding with an increasing array of products that enhance independent living for those with mobility or ability challenges. These benefit the millions of Americans of all ages living with such issues.
A workstation sink that lets a wheelchair user enjoy the conveniences of pro-style accessories in a premium grade stainless steel definitely fits into the accessibility and functionality facets of wellness design.
KOHLER, Stillness Tub
Since the era of Roman baths and the advent of indoor plumbing, bathrooms have been touted as health and wellness sanctuaries. For those who take their self-care seriously, a tub that offers chromatherapy, aromatherapy and sound therapy could easily fit into the health and wellness or comfort and joy facets of wellness design. Such features definitely land at the luxury end of the spectrum, rather than the entry level homes many Gen Z and Millennial buyers are purchasing, but there’s something to be said for aspirational living.
Creative Use of Color Award
SAMSUNG, Bespoke Refrigerator
How does an appliance with changeable fronts fit into a wellness design facet, you might be wondering. Being able to express yourself creatively when you buy and when your taste changes offers that comfort and joy facet that many homeowners crave today. It’s not as simple as changing your phone or computer screen with a new image, but even some DIY changeability enhances personal expression. This capability is definitely trending in 2021.
Sustainability/People’s Choice Award
EMERSON, Insinkerator grind2energy Waste Recycling System
You can certainly make the case that a home product that enhances sustainability improves the wellness of the planet, in this case reducing the quantity of food waste going into landfills. While sustainability and wellness design differ in many respects, there’s no question that preserving the planet ultimately helps protect its humans.