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Half of architects AIA surveyed said special function areas within the kitchen remain popular, especially pantry space and recycling centers with only a few architects reporting a decrease in the demand for the special function areas.

As in other studies, the architects said the growing use of electronic devices is pushing demand for recharging areas, as well as space and place for general computer work.

Making space for electronics is also part of a trend to integrate kitchens with family living rooms to create more of an all-purpose ( Architects and Designer Kitchen and Bathroom Advice ) "great room", AIA reported.

Sustainability is also popular in the kitchen. Nearly half of residential architects said renewable material flooring (bamboo or cork) and countertops (concrete, bamboo) are gaining in popularity. Only a small percentage indicated that consumer interest in sustainable items was decreasing.

Drinking-water filtration systems and natural wood cabinets were also showing gains in popularity.

Upscale kitchen items were a no sale as architects saw falling demand for double islands for working or eating, wine storage areas, composting bins, pet feeding and grooming areas, duplicate or upscale appliances, and natural stone countertops.

In contrast with other studies pointing to a smaller-is-better approach, more architects said the size of kitchens is increasing (22 percent), compared to those who said the kitchen is downsizing (16 percent). The vast majority, however (62 percent) said they see no change in size of the kitchen, which has decreased in size during the housing bust.

Bathrooms

Most architects (67 percent) also saw no demand for larger bathrooms, 20 percent did see demand for an increase in size and 13 percent saw demand for a decrease in size.

Universal design features were at the top of the demand list of bathroom design elements. Universal design features promote accessibility for people of all ages, especially older people and people with disabilities. The demand for universal features has been high for several years as the nation's population ages.

Architects say water conserving toilets, both those directly using less water as well as those with a dual flush option, topped the list of features in demand, followed by radiant heated floors, doorless showers and hand showers. LED lighting was another popular bathroom product with growing demand.

As with kitchens, upscale bath items (steam showers, towel warming racks or drawers, sensor operated faucets) were waning in popularity.

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