Are You Offering 'More Contemporary, Fresh Styles'?

John G. Swanson
June 13, 2011
THE TALK... | Products, Markets & Trends

"At the heart of the growing trend toward 'modern traditional' residential design is the desire to blend the ordinary with the extraordinary," says a recent press release from CMI, announcing th company's new hollow core CraftMaster Conmore molded flat panel interior door. "Today, homeowners are seeking the familiar comforts of traditional design in more contemporary, fresh styles."

We don't talk design and style too often. One reason is that design and style shifts tend to be subtle and slow paced in the window and door business. These two sentences caught my attention, however, because they quickly summed up a trend that I think many industry companies are targeting. The  "modern traditional" may be more apparent in door products, but it's an aesthetic that window companies too seem to strive for in their products, and definitely in their marketing.

Am I right?  I thought I would use this week's poll question to ask if the industry moving in a more contemporary design direction?  As usual, I'd like to hear your feedback too. Has your company freshened up your products? Are you selling less colonial and more craftsman?  Are doors and windows evolving? Post a comment below or email me and let me what you see on the design front.

 

Survey Results as of 06/21/2011:

 

Do you see demand for 'modern traditional' on the rise?

No, I don't see much change in door and window styles.

  

 

47%

Yes, and we have attempted to offer products offering "contemporary, fresh style."

  

 

32%

I see the trend, but we haven't changed our products.

  

 

21%

Well this week's question drew a tepid response–a relatively split vote between those who see changes in window and door styles and those who don't and no reader comments.

I can't say I'm surprised by either. Changes in style emerge very slowly in exterior building products and the types of products in demand vary by region as well.  But things do change. There's probably no market data to back me up (or disprove me) but Prairie and Craftsman style doors and windows, I would say, have grown steadily in popularity over the past 10 years or so.  My guess is that sales of Colonial style products have probably dropped over that same time period. The trend for some individual manufacturers, dealers or within specific regions might be completely opposite, however. 

Through all my years, I've asked window and door manufacturers and industry suppliers about style trends and more often than not, they are hesitant to comment or come to any conclusions. It's almost like they're afraid they'll hurt someone's feelings if they say "such and such is getting more popular."  Maybe that's wise, but I still think an awareness of changing tastes is critical. Not everyone may like the Craftmaster Conmore door, but it will get certain buyers a lot more excited than a standard six-panel option.  The same is true for grid pattern and trim options for windows. The right one might seal the deal for some homeowners.       

 

 

 

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I think it is smart to offer all styles.  However, I would do some research on what has been the top selling trend in your area first.  I might even go as far as to call some Indianapolis remodeling companies to see what they are finding the top demand is. I think that each area and each window/door company is going to have a different market to sell to.