• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

‘Open concept’ remains popular housing trend, Noel says

CATHY NOEL had an opening cut into a kitchen wall of her Versailles home so she could see into the living room. It has been especially helpful when her grandchildren come over for a visit. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

An “open concept” has remained a popular housing trend over the last several years, according to local homebuilder Cathy Noel. She said a lot of her recent remodeling jobs have involved removing walls to create an open concept in older homes. “When people are cooking,” Noel explained, “they like to be with their company or with their family … They want to be where everybody else is. And so when I’m doing remodeling jobs, that’s a lot of what people want.” Last May, Noel moved into a home built in the 1960s. She had an opening cut into a wall above the kitchen sink so someone washing dishes or cooking could see into the living room. It has been especially helpful when her grandchildren come over for a visit in the home where she had lived with her mom as a teen. Hardwood floors, which she now has in her home, are another popular trend in housing. “They like the way it looks,” said Noel, who has owned Evergreen Homes since 1997. House designs are typically dictated by the size of a family. And older homeowners usually want one-story houses or at least their bedroom on the first floor of a two-story house so they don’t have to climb steps, Noel said. She said home offices are becoming more commonplace. In a four bedroom house, a homeowner may want to convert one of the bedrooms into an office. A closet will sometimes be converted into “a built-in desk area.” “People are always looking for a larger master bathroom,” said Noel of another popular housing feature. Instead of wanting whirlpool bathtubs, a growing number of people are now choosing a shower with a rain-shower head. One of the best avenues for finding a reputable home builder or remodeling contractor, according to Noel, is “word of mouth” – a recommendation from a homeowner who has had a good experience. It’s also important to have a good rapport with a contractor because remodeling projects can become a stressful process for the homeowner, she said.

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