What Idaho Women Want

The experts say the lady is the decision maker. If you are a lady, is this what you are looking for in a new home?

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the ultimate home multi-tasking space, and it tops the list of rooms that are important to the buyer. A well-designed kitchen assists in handling everything from meal preparation and informal dining to supervising children's homework.

It really is the center of the home for most buyers. This is the gathering space that allows family and friends to spend time together, so it must be comfortable and cozy. But they also want it to be open, look fabulous, and have all the bells and whistles.

Women are likely to opt for upgrades in the kitchen, says Kay Green, a nationally recognized leader in model home and sales center merchandising.

Key features that make a kitchen irresistible to buyers include:

  • Multi-user design. The concept of the traditional work triangle, with its focus on optimizing the kitchen workspace and appliance location for the convenience of a single chef, has given way to new arrangements that promote socializing and make it practical for two or more cooks to work at the same time.
  • Islands. Islands continue to be one of the most important and practical focal points in the kitchen. Not only do they contribute valuable work and storage space, but they also tend to be the spot where everyone gathers.
  • Luxury finishes. Television shows, tradeshows, and designer websites highlight the wide range of new products for homes available today and many want these things in their homes.
  • Customizable cabinetry. Special features including dedicated-purpose pull-out drawers, bins, and built-in organization options are always highly desirable in kitchen cabinets.
  • Professional-style appliances. According to the experts, women prefer the look of stainless steel appliances in their kitchens and choose larger refrigerators, ranges, and separate cooktops whenever possible. They are also attracted to kitchen gadgets including refrigerated and warming drawers; wine coolers; and drawer-style dishwashers.

The Master Bathroom

Buyers look to the master retreat to provide a sense of escape from the stress of their busy lifestyle. The crown jewel of the space is a luxurious bathroom that looks and functions as a personal spa.

The oversized jet tub that has long been the focal point for the well-appointed master bathroom. This has been replaced by the spacious, luxury shower as the top choice for women when it comes to bathroom amenities. Vertical multi-head shower bars, ceiling-mounted rain showerheads, and hand-held personal body sprays all make the shower more appealing. And built-in seating is a must.

Other hot features in the bathroom:

  • Separate his and her vanities rather than a single counter with two basins
  • Private toilet
  • Chromatherapy lighting
  • Aromatherapy showerheads
  • Luxury footbaths
  • Steam showers
  • Practical storage solutions such as tower cabinets
  • Spa features include towel warming bars and radiant heating in the floor

The Command Center

The newest dedicated space in the home, the "command center" may be a completely separate room or simply a nook adjacent to, but visually separated from the kitchen. The command center must include a planning desk and built-in organization features.

It has become a very important space for both stay-at-home and working moms. With its close connection to the kitchen, the command center keeps the family connected to the activity going on in the home rather than isolating them.

The Family Foyer

In today's family-friendly floor plans, the mud room — that traditional catch-all space connecting the garage to the main living space of the home — has been redefined, reconfigured, and appropriately renamed the family foyer.

Gone are the washer and dryer, and in their place- the space may have a small bench or desk and a built-in mail shredder and charging station for cell phones or iPods; cubbies or lockers for storing coats, shoes, and backpacks; and even, perhaps, a tiled dog-washing center with its own floor-level faucet for cleaning muddy paws.

The stuff that we carry around with us every day needs a place to go when we get home.

The Laundry Room

The feedback heard most often about the laundry room is that people prefer not to walk into their homes through it.

A more sensible solution, agree the experts, is to locate the washer and dryer in its separate room adjacent to the family foyer, or better still, to move the laundry facilities closer to where the laundry is actually being generated—near the bedrooms.

Opportunities for Organization

Clutter leads to stress for everyone and we are always looking for ways to help eliminate it from our homes. Serendipitous chunks of storage space will appeal to everyone.

These include:

  • Bulk storage areas
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Multiple closets
  • Built-in organizers
  • Window seats, benches and niches

Many are attracted to little alcoves and niches as opposed to large formal offices or dens. A big reason for this is the desire to stay connected to the rest of the household.

Other Key Features

  • Curb appeal. The exterior style and finish of any home are very important to buyers because it immediately expresses perceived value and the owner's personality. Buyers tend to be drawn to opportunities to express their individuality through their homes.
  • Ability to customize.  Home Buyers appreciate being able to establish their own style in their home, and builders have a great opportunity to reach the buyers on this level by giving them plenty of choices. For small or mid-size builders who don't maintain their own design center allowing the buyer to make their own selections at the local home center results in a home with a more custom look.
  • Less volume. Rather than big soaring ceilings, families feel more comfortable with modest, 10- to 12-foot heights.
  • Interior jewelry. Finishes make a big difference to the female buyer. Interior drama can be achieved through the use of applied moldings, beamed ceilings, columns, unique doors, beautiful plumbing fixtures, cabinetry hardware, and custom lighting.
  • Healthy alternatives. Buyers are very concerned about establishing a healthy living environment within their homes. Hard surface flooring including wood, tile, stone, and laminate, for example, has become very popular with buyers in all markets because it requires less maintenance and seems cleaner than conventional carpet.
  • Flexible floor plans. People readily see the sense in floor plans that offer flexibility in adapting to their own or their family's current needs as well as to their lifestyle requirements as they change.
  • Practical technology. If a home is not easy to use and does not simplify their lives, they are more likely to do without it.
  • Outdoor living space. Covered porches, three-season rooms, decks, terraces, lanais, and grilling porches are very popular in all markets. Many homes today include several distinct outdoor areas, including one connected to the kitchen or great room and another off the master suite or den.

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