Design Trends

The Light: Value Engineering Increases

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Builders are stripping out features that they believe consumers don’t fully appreciate. Our DesignLensTM database and New Home Trends Institute surveys have identified a significant one: stripping costs out of the house exterior.

Streamlining the exterior is one of the most common cost-reduction strategies we see today and one of the most readily accepted tradeoffs for consumers. Expect these four cost reduction strategies to shift exterior designs in the coming years:

  1. Minimalism
  2. Material mixing with strategic placement
  3. Window standardization
  4. Designing for the street scene


Streamlined interpretations are replacing complex exterior styles amidst rising cost pressure, resulting in designs that are “a degree” less embellished. Not only do our architect partners report it (see below quote), but our homeowner survey results also support it: even historically traditional markets are showing appetite for “soft transitional” exteriors (which take traditional designs and simplify/modernize them).

Strategic Material Placement

Our architect and homeowner survey results indicate continued growth for exterior material mixing. Since the most desired materials for mixing (stone or brick) are high cost, architects are strategically placing more expensive materials to allow them to be used more sparingly.

At King’s Canyon, a Modern Spanish elevation (stucco and red tile of Spanish paired with modern roof lines) includes a restrained application of stone right at the entry. WHA’s color and materials expert, Donna Aldrich, shares that strategic placement on lower levels allows for greater home buyer appreciation and value.

Window Standardization

Supply chain constraints have accelerated the existing trend of window standardization. While not uncommon in entry-level product, this trend is making its way into move-up homes too:

Designing for the street scene

When a consumer assesses a neighborhood’s curb appeal, they are typically taking in the wider street scene, rather than the house in isolation. For this reason, some designers are finding luck with a “every-other-home” or “every-third-home” accent strategy. For example, the simplicity of Plan 2 of Castello by TriPointe Homes (located in Fallbrook, CA) is offset by siding accents in Plan 1 and Plan 3.

To learn more about the tradeoffs consumers are willing to make, please reach out to Mikaela Arroyo or visit our website