Featured Story

Featured Stories

Do You Know

A Conversation With

In-Depth

In Remembrance

Observations

Planned renovation spend increases year-over-year. Recent homebuyers double national median spend.

Home renovation activity and spend have reached the highest rates reported since 2018, according to the eleventh annual Houzz & Home survey of nearly 70,000 U.S. respondents. More than half of homeowners renovated their homes in 2021 (55 percent), up from 53 percent in 2020 and 54 percent in both 2019 and 2018. Following the 15 percent growth in median spend last year, homeowners report an additional 20 percent jump in median renovation spend at $18,000. This growth can be attributed to homeowners with higher budget projects (the top 10 percent of spend) increasing their investment from $85,000 in 2020 to $100,000 in 2021.

Home renovation activity continues into 2022, with over half of homeowners planning to renovate (55 percent) and nearly half planning to decorate (46 percent) this year. For the first time since 2018, homeowners’ planned spend has increased to $15,000 for 2022 versus $10,000 for the past three years, a 50 percent jump. Additionally, homeowners with higher-budget renovations (the top 10 percent of spend) are planning to spend $75,000 on projects in 2022 compared with $60,000 in 2021.

“Renovation activity remains strong due to market fundamentals, including limited and aging housing stock, despite heightened product and material costs driven by supply chain disruptions,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz staff economist. “Homeowners are clearly committed to investing in their homes and are exploring diverse funding sources. This is especially pronounced among recent homebuyers, who rely heavily on cash from previous home sales to fund their projects and spend significantly more than the national median.”

Recent homebuyers*, who accounted for 10 percent of renovating homeowners in 2021, spent nearly double the national median ($30,000), surpassing short-term** and long-term*** homeowners ($19,000 and $15,000, respectively). Recent homebuyers with higher budget projects (the top 10 percent of spend) invested $175,000 compared to $100,000 invested by short-term homeowners and $90,000 for long-term homeowners. This is likely attributed to the larger scope projects they undertake, averaging three to four rooms, as well as home systems, such as electrical and plumbing.

The share of homeowners relying on cash from savings to fund their renovation projects declined by seven percentage points in 2021 (76 percent), after remaining stable the three years prior (83 percent, each year). In contrast, homeowners financing renovation projects with credit cards gained six percentage points (35 percent). Savings and credit cards hold their ground as the leading forms of payment regardless of homeownership tenure. As expected, recent homebuyers and short term homeowners were more likely to rely on cash from previous home sales (42 and 19 percent, respectively), whereas long term homeowners were more likely to use secured home loans in 2021 (17 percent).

Demand grows for home professionals

More homeowners sought help from professionals for their renovations in 2021 than in the year prior (89 versus 87 percent, respectively). Homeowners relied more heavily on specialty service providers (49 percent) than other professionals for help with projects that required electrical and plumbing expertise. That said, both construction and design-related professionals were hired by a larger share of homeowners in 2021 (38 and 20 percent, respectively) compared with 2020 (36 and 18 percent, respectively). With recent homebuyers tackling more projects than their peers, it’s no surprise that they’re also the most likely to hire professional help (93 percent), compared with short-term and long-term homeowners (88 percent, each).

Investment rises in interior rooms

Median spend increased across all interior room renovations in 2021. Kitchens, which remain the most popular interior room to be upgraded and the room that commands the highest spend, saw an increase in spend of 25 percent compared with 2020 ($15,000 versus $12,000, respectively). Interior rooms that saw the most dramatic increase in spend included guest bathrooms (38 percent), laundry rooms (33 percent), living rooms (33 percent) and guest bedrooms (28 percent).

Securing the grounds

Renovating homeowners spent a quarter more on home security systems last year. In fact, outdoor security systems are now nearly three times more popular than they were in 2015 and the second most frequently installed outdoor upgrade behind lighting (17 and 22 percent, respectively). Outdoor security system upgrades are most popular among short-term homeowners, followed by recent homebuyers, and long term homeowners (21, 20 and 14 percent, respectively).


The Houzz & Home Survey was sent to registered users of Houzz and fielded February through March 2022. The full report is available here.

* Recent homebuyers are those who have not yet moved into their home or moved in less than a year ago.
** Short-term owners refers to homeowners who moved into their home between one and five years ago.
*** Long-term owners refers to homeowners who moved into their home six or more years ago.

Featured Story

Featured Stories

Do You Know

A Conversation With

In-Depth

In Remembrance

Observations

Kline Electric employee owners celebrate a memorable year.

Since the company became 100% employee-owned, Kline Electric has made a point of celebrating the team responsible for its success—the employee owners. This past month the employees had even more to cheer about.

“We do an event every year to announce the annual stock valuation,” says Kline President Shane Kline. “We feed everyone and have some kind of games and giveaways. It’s a chance to get our entire team in one place.”

With over 200 team members in four locations, that’s not an easy task, especially in a field where there’s always work to be done and a project—or 2 or 12—going on.

“Everyone shares in our success because everyone’s an owner, and we want to celebrate the hard work everyone’s put into that,” Kline says.

This year’s festivities recognized even more than the rising stock value. “We finished our new building and moved into it last month,” Kline says. “So this celebration was the first time a lot of our team have been able to tour the building.”

The new facility, Kline Headquarters, houses the corporate office staff, freeing up the original building for the Des Moines team. “We were getting pretty crowded at the original space, and we had the land here, with room to build. Now that we’re in, everyone is kind of wondering how we all managed to fit in the old building together,” says Kline.

The company is rapidly expanding beyond the Des Moines area, with two other offices in Iowa and one in Omaha. According to Kline, “We opened our Waterloo location three years ago because of projects we had going with one particular builder. Since then, it’s just continued to grow.”

He says those builder relationships have been key to the company’s expansion. Increased work in the Cedar Rapids area resulted in a second location in the eastern part of the state. And a long-term relationship with D. R. Horton led to the Omaha office.

Those satellite locations have been organic outgrowths of the Kline concept. Each time the company set up a new office, it’s been led by a current Kline team member. “We do things a very specific way, and we want every Kline Electric location to operate with that same culture and philosophy,” Kline says. “The guys leading those new locations then hire local people and train them.”

Kline says the company has opened up the management opportunities to qualified team members each time a new location has been proposed. “The fact that we’ve had great people willing to relocate to get these separate offices going is a reflection of the company culture we’ve developed. These guys have recognized that we’re offering them a chance to move up and get more leadership and management experience, and they’re eager to do that.”

That enthusiasm is contagious. He says new hires at each location are amazed at the Kline difference. “They come in for interviews and find out that working for us isn’t just a paycheck. We provide a clothing allowance, we offer an apprenticeship program, and every employee is part of the ownership program on their eligibility date. It’s a career focus, not just a job.”

Managing each branch individually while nurturing a corporate culture is one of the reasons the company invested in the new building. “This new office space allowed us to separate the Des Moines management team from the corporate team. And it provides space for corporate activities that we didn’t have room for in the original building,” says Kline.

In addition to corporate offices, the new building offers meeting spaces, a small gym that’s available to the entire team, and a classroom for the company’s newest venture, Kline University (see “Kline University”).

“The apprenticeship program is a very big investment,” Kline says. “But we realized that with the way the job market is right now, and if we want to make sure our employees are not just licensed but highly skilled in every area of the business, we needed to be overseeing that education in-house.”

They say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. At Kline Electric, that’s just the right way to do business. And based on the results Kline Electric continues to see, that’s something to celebrate.

Featured Story

Featured Stories

Do You Know

A Conversation With

In-Depth

In Remembrance

Observations

Build My Future event surpasses expectations.

The lack of young people entering the skilled trades is not a new dilemma. It’s one the Greater Des Moines Home Builders Association (HBA) has been seeking to address for years.

Since 2019, the Build My Future event has been a key part of those efforts. This year’s turnout not only surpassed expectations but offers real encouragement for the future of the industry. “We were shooting for 4,000 attendees,” says Brandon Patterson of Workforce Development and Iowa Skilled Trades. “We ended up with 5,200 registered on the day of the event, representing over 120 schools and organizations from across the state.”

Not only has the number of attendees grown exponentially since 2019, but the number of exhibitors and volunteers continues to grow as well. According to HBA Executive Officer Dan Knoup, “We blew past our goal, but we haven’t even reached all our primary targets yet. There are so many potential exhibitors and industry segments we haven’t even reached yet.”

That rapid growth resulted in expanding the exhibit space this year to include a second building in addition to more outdoor exhibits and activities. “We had so many exhibitors and attendees last year that we knew if we were going to continue expanding, we had to add more square footage,” Patterson says. “There was no room to serve lunch to 1,000 people at a time if we stuck to one building. So we had exhibits in both the Varied Industries Building and the 4-H Building with outdoor exhibits set up between the two for more activities.”

This year’s new exhibit partners included RJ Lawn and Landscape, Microsoft, and GoServ Global/Sukup Manufacturing.

Paul van Gorkom, Executive Director of GoServ Global, says, “We didn’t really know what to expect that day, but it’s an impressive event.” GoServ, which assists with disaster relief and housing needs around the world, brought one of Sukup’s Safe T Homes®. Students built and disassembled it throughout the day.

Other popular exhibits included Murphy Tower Service’s rope climb; construction projects for Habitat for Humanity, led by volunteers from Beisser Lumber at the HBA booth; and the welding trailer, manned by members of Plumbers & Steamfitters Union Local 33.

Numerous community college trade programs, apprenticeship programs, and military branches were represented, including the Army National Guard’s massive exhibit that took up multiple booth spaces.

“We continue to add more career pathways every year,” Patterson says. “We had more agriculture, manufacturing, and tech represented this year than in previous years.”

Knoup says, “There were four Build My Future events across the state this year, but each one has a slightly different focus.” Earlier in the year, events were held in the Quad Cities, Sioux City, and Cedar Rapids.

“Our intent has always been to take a more nondenominational approach,” Knoup says. “We want to show students the huge variety of possibilities out there. We want to show them everything and not focus on any one area.”

Patterson says, “Because of that, we keep adding to the variety of exhibitors. This year we had more groups representing health care, law enforcement, IT. The Sioux City event takes a similar approach. It doubled in size this year, too. One of the other Iowa events is geared toward middle schoolers specifically; the other is more industry-segment specific.”

Another highlight of this year’s event was Signing Day, where students signed commitments for apprenticeship and trade programs. “We hold Signing Day events throughout the year,” Patterson says. “We’ve done this at each Build My Future event so far, but this year it was more of a coordinated promotion. Students who are pursuing careers in the trades and their employers should be getting the same publicity and recognition that athletes do when they sign.”

Knoup says, “That was one of the big highlights of this year’s event for me. It was great to have the Governor’s press corps present for that and to really celebrate those students. We want parents as well as students to see the advantages their kids receive pursuing careers in these industries.”

Although organizers have not tracked specific numbers following the event in the past, Patterson says that’s one element they continue to develop. Eventually, the organizers hope to be able to track which exhibits are drawing which students, whether exhibitors are drawing applicants as a result of the event, and more.“This year we added a new function with a QR code app,” says Patterson. “We had 3,600 attendees scan that. For those who used it, we can see where they went and what their interests were.”

Feedback like that will help in planning next year’s event. Some of the perennially popular exhibits, like the welding booth, continue to fine-tune their own approach.“They doubled the number of welded eagles since last year,” Patterson says. “We reorganized the flow of traffic this year to cut down on the lines and distribute attendance in each building, and that seemed to work out really well.”

It took nearly 200 volunteers, plus exhibitor teams, to accomplish this year’s Build My Future career day. Knoup says that’s a “heavy lift” that takes some serious dedication, not just from the HBA board and members.

Patterson says, “It’s a lot of hours, a lot of time, and it’s not free for us. We couldn’t do this without our financial partners and all the people who volunteer. The more exhibitors who participate, the more companies who participate in the Signing Day, the more excitement we see in the students and teachers who attend.”

“After lunch that day, I was walking from the 4-H Building to the Varied Industries Building,” Knoup says. “I looked around, and kids were waiting in line to take part in the outdoor exhibits. It was about 35 degrees, sleet was coming down sideways in that wind, and they were still excited to be there. That tells me that we’re doing something right.”

If this year’s event was any indication, young people in Iowa are starting to get the message that a future in the trades is worth pursuing.

Featured Story

Featured Stories

Do You Know

A Conversation With

In-Depth

In Remembrance

Observations

Six interior design concepts to bring outdoors in 2022.

There’s been a recent shift in the way people design and utilize their outdoor spaces. With more time spent at home, there’s more incentive to transform our yards into livable, functional spaces that are an extension of our interior living spaces. If you’d like to hit the refresh button on your backyard, apply these 2022 interior design trends to your outdoor landscape design.

These New Interior Design Trends Look Equally Amazing Outdoors

Leave the “Modern Farmhouse” furnishings and Live Laugh Love signage behind—these hot new interior design trends will complete your yard’s much-deserved makeover in 2022.

Wicker and Rattan

Combining the eco-friendly benefits of biodegradable, natural materials and all the appeal of 70s retro aesthetics, wicker and rattan furniture is a perfect way to bring trendy interior design to the outdoors. Plus, you can easily reupholster or replace your existing cushions with different patterns and colors if you ever grow tired of your current style. Whether you want a natural finish for a more boho look or dark tinted wicker for a more dramatic look, there are plenty of different options to suit your ideal outdoor aesthetic.

“Grandmillenial” Aesthetics

This interior design style has so much charm and personality. Millennials are embracing all things Grandma-style, with an emphasis on old-fashioned florals and damask textiles. Add in some kitschy flourishes like doilies, crocheted throws, and vintage furniture sets. For the perfect finishing touch, get a cute tea set and serving trays so you can party like it’s 1949.

Curved, Abstract Shapes

Years of minimalist interior designs and low-contrast beige and gray color palettes have us craving some whimsy and eccentricity. Look for tables and garden art with asymmetrical shapes. Edge your garden beds to have curving lines instead of straight borders with 90° angles. Instead of planting flowers in straight rows, make them squiggly. Have fun with it—you’d be surprised how modern and cutting-edge this interior design concept can look!

Pantone Color of the Year: Very Peri

Pantone forecasts the top trending colors for interior designers every year, and in 2022 they’ve named Veri Peri as their Color of the Year. This rich, vibrant purple-blue shade is cool yet energizing and uplifting. Not only can you choose furnishings and outdoor accessories in this ultra-current color, but there are also plenty of beautiful blooming flowers in this exact shade. Some of our favorite periwinkle flowers include:

  • Blue Salvia
  • Delphiniums
  • Irises
  • Lobelia
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Sea Holly

Complementary colors for this saturated periwinkle hue include white, gray, marigold, and sage green. Look for plants and containers in these shades to balance your color palette.

Statement Rugs

Rugs and woven carpets are a classic staple of interior design, but bold statement styles are having a big resurgence. Minimalism and colorless decor are out, and creative, exciting interior decor is in. Weatherproof rugs are amazing for creating outdoor “rooms” that pull your design together and help make your patio furniture look less awkwardly placed. Look for abstract designs with splashes of color to bring that modern, artsy vibe to your yard.

Outdoor Home Offices

Creating makeshift workstations at home has become the norm, and they continue to be useful as more folks adopt a hybrid work model, half at home and half in the office. Instead of staying cooped up in the same place all day, create an outdoor workstation in a gazebo or underneath a covered patio. Bonus points if you can set up your outdoor office near a power outlet to charge your laptop. Try using a standing desk so that you don’t remain sedentary for hours on end, and surround yourself with as many plants as possible—they help boost energy and improve focus.

Interior design concepts look just as gorgeous outdoors if you choose appropriate furniture and accessories to suit the space. Visit Ted Lare Design + Build to see all the latest patio furniture and trendy accessories to complete your outdoor living space.

Featured Story

Featured Stories

Do You Know

A Conversation With

In-Depth

In Remembrance

Observations