Renovations are outpacing new builds, a metaverse interior design award and more by Caroline Bourque

Courtesy:Business of Home

September marked the eighth straight month of declining existing home sales in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports, making it the longest such streak in 15 years. As the Federal Reserve has attempted to cool inflation by increasing interest rates—pushing mortgage rates to 6.94 percent this week—the rate of home sales has fallen off sharply after a pandemic boom. Excluding the early months of the pandemic (when home sales stalled briefly), September’s rate of existing home sales was the lowest since 2012. As a result, related industries also saw a dip in demand last month, as prices and sales of furniture and appliances fell, along with lowered spending on lumber and plumbing fixtures.

In related news, many home builders are entering the current market downturn with more precautions in place compared to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, which wiped out about half of all homebuilding companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. While builders are once again seeing a steep drop-off in buyers (one company noted that 639 qualified buyers wanted homes in its development a year ago; today that list has fallen to just 30), industry analysts say that in recent years, companies have taken a more conservative approach to acquiring debt and land, opting for arrangements that provide the option of buying space for properties only when demand calls for it. Others have turned to the rental market to bring in revenue on unsold single-family homes or have sold off developments in bulk to investors at discounted rates for the same use. As a result, experts say the surplus of new homes is not as drastic as it was before the 2008 housing crisis, when a sudden oversupply of housing dragged down property prices across the board.

Retrofitting is on the rise in the U.S., Bloomberg reports. According to a recent analysis from the American Institute of Architects, the majority of new architecture firm services came from renovation work rather than new construction as of spring 2022—marking the first time in two decades that renovations have overtaken new construction. The trend has been increasing steadily since 2017, when renovations made up 44.4 percent of billings compared to this year’s 52 percent. The survey also found that this year marked a sharp increase in the amount of architectural billings for residential work, jumping up from 17.5 percent in 2020 to 28 percent in 2022.

A new survey from U.S. News & World Report explores the worries weighing on the minds of U.S. homebuyers today, finding that 74 percent of those surveyed count the impact of climate change and natural disasters on their homes as chief among their concerns. The survey polled 2,000 U.S. residents who purchased a home in 2021 or 2022, and additionally found that more than three in four cited inflation as a hindrance to their home repair or renovation plans—while more than two in three said that supply chain issues also caused an impact. Overall, 69 percent of recent homebuyers admitted to having buyer’s remorse, with 36 percent nervous about whether they will eventually be able to sell their home.

Museums across the world are experiencing a slew of attacks on masterpieces as climate activists have taken to throwing food and liquid at artworks to draw attention to environmental issues. As Artnet reports, the incidents have occurred at the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany, where activists from a group called Letzte Generation threw mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting; and at The National Gallery in London, where individuals from the organization Just Stop Oil tossed tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The latest move from the group saw protestors smashing chocolate cake on to the wax figure of King Charles III at Madame Tussauds in London, followed by a post from the group on Twitter that read, “The science is clear. The demand is simple: just stop new oil and gas. It’s a piece of cake.”

London-based online home and furniture retailer Made called off discussions regarding a potential sale after the parties involved were unable to meet necessary timelines, MarkwetWatch reports —a move that sent shares plummeting 61 percent. The news comes after last week’s announcement that the company had received a number of nonbinding proposals for its sale and selected several to progress toward firm offers. Now, if neither funding nor a firm offer comes in before it runs through its cash reserve, Made says its board will take action to “preserve value for creditors.”


In honor of Diwali, the five-day Indian festival held in anticipation of a new year, designer Luna Gil teamed up with Ikea for a new line of products inspired by the annual celebration. The collection, titled Aromatisk, includes table runners, candleholders, place mats and seat cushions available in vibrant colors and patterns reminiscent of the colorful activities that surround the festival each year.

Frances Merrill, founder of Los Angeles–based interior design studio Reath Design, has curated a selection of favorite items featured by private auction house Bonhams in anticipation of its upcoming Modern Design and Art auction held in L.A. The assortment offers a glimpse of Merrill’s own historically informed aesthetic, with pieces ranging from colorful floral-design vases by French artist Émile Gallé to a custom set of eight bright green chairs created by furniture-maker and architect Roy McMakin.


Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine announced the 14th annual Home for the Holidays designer showhouse and marketplace, set to take place from November 17 to December 11. For the event, a 10,505-square-foot home located in Atlanta’s Randall Mill neighborhood will be re-imagined by a group of designers that includes Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters of Forbes Masters, Lauren DeLoach of Lauren DeLoach Interiors, Evan Millard of Millard and Amber Guyton of Blessed Little Bungalow, among others. Proceeds from the showhouse will benefit the organization Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.


Scandinavian design stands for everything functional, minimalist and tasteful in home decor for most consumers in the U.S.—but how exactly did the region’s aesthetic principles come to dominate a market halfway across the world? As Nate Berg writes for Fast Company, a cleverly coordinated marketing scheme may have been one of the biggest drivers. As demonstrated by a new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the story dates back to a concentrated postwar effort by the impoverished Nordic industries, which sought to take advantage of a growing demand for household goods in the U.S. by capitalizing on stereotypes Americans had about the Scandinavian way of life.

RH set itself apart from other home retailers with on-site restaurants by elevating the design of its eateries, incorporating high-end materials like white oak and Italian travertine along with custom-made tables, chairs and lighting fixtures. As Priya Krishna writes for The New York Times, it is often that highly tuned aesthetic—not the food, or perhaps even the service—that keeps customers coming back.

According to a new report by online marketplace HomeAdvisor, the majority of consumers today agree that when it comes to homebuying, it’s what’s inside that counts: 76 percent of respondents agreed that they would buy a house that was ugly on the outside but perfect on the inside. As Alina Dizik writes for The Wall Street Journal, the statistic has to do with the fact that homebuyers have shifted their focus to interior spaces since the start of the pandemic, making the day-to-day experience within a house more important than its curb appeal


Architectural Record announced the winners of the ninth annual Women in Architecture Awards. The program’s Design Leader award went to Carol Ross Barney, leader of the Chicago-based firm Ross Barney Architects; the Next Generation Leader award to Jing Liu of Brooklyn-based practice So-Il; the Educator award to Howard University professor Hazel Edwards; the Activist award to Monica Rhodes, leader of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s HOPE (Hands-On Preservation Experience) Crew; and the Innovator award to Jonsara Ruth and Alison Mears, directors of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design, which has established new resources, educational programming and housing prototypes for a more sustainable world.

The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame announced its 2022 inductees. The program’s newest members include Michael Amini, chairman and CEO of AICO/Amini Innovation Corp.; Michael K. Dugan, former president and CEO of Henredon Furniture; John Gabbert, founder of Room & Board; Neil Goldberg, chairman and CEO of Raymour & Flanigan Furniture; and Stephen K. Pond, founding publisher of Furniture Today.

With It, a women’s leadership development network for the home and furnishings industry, announced the recipients of its 2022 WOW Awards. Honorees include JoAnne Staltari-Wiley of J.B. Hunt Final Mile for the Mentoring Award; Shannon Williams of Home Furnishings Association for the Future Leader Award; Amy Vernon of La-Z-Boy Incorporated for the Leadership Award; Kaprice Crawford of Home Furnishings Association for the Education Award; and Jynné Harris of Kreber for the Sales Excellence Award.

The Educational Foundation of the International Furnishings and Design Association announced its five professional grant winners for 2022. This year’s recipients will pursue subject matter ranging from the creation of intelligent cities to holistic health care design, along with wholesale antiquing and historic preservation. Winners include Saman Jamshidi, assistant professor of interior architecture and design at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Christine Wacta, assistant professor in the college of behavioral and social sciences at the school of human ecology at Georgia Southern University; Luke Kwan, a senior project manager at IA Interior Architects; Beth Miller, a professor and the head of the department of interior design and the master’s program in historic preservation at Mississippi State University; and Kayne Wilk of the IFDA’s New York chapter.

Interior Designing Tips to Bring Small Spaces Alive by Lifestyle Desk of News18

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times, when compact housing is being explored as the future of spatial design, optimisation of space is of utmost importance. Cracking the enigma of interior design, it is the minutest details that matter the most. Here are a few tips by Disha Bhavsar and Shivani Ajmera, Principal Designers and Co-Founders, Quirk Studio to fabricate spaces with petite dimensions to make them look and feel larger than they are.

Windows and natural light

Big openings add volume to the space along with airiness. The trick is to opt for sliding fenestrations instead of those with a swing to optimise space utilisation. Additionally, harmonise the wall colour with similar coloured high-hanging drapes over the windows or leave them uncovered to add depth. Using plain colours or small patterned fabrics is ideal to open the compact space further.

Space planning

Reduce the boxy impact by strategizing the layout of the room. Create frames by experimenting with varied setups where the furniture is placed at a distance from the walls. This will add the illusion of space by shifting the focal point away from the walls. One of the best ways to maximise the small space is by opting for multifunctional spaces. For instance, the sofa in the living room can be converted into a bed during the night. The kitchen counter or the dining unit can be used as a makeshift work desk.

Colour palette

Use light, natural shades like cream, beige and white to add more lightness and volume. They create an illusion of space and ensure that the space does not feel congested. These muted colours can be paired with an array of decor elements and will be in style for a long time.

Be vigilant with furniture pieces

Furniture adds mass to the space and the necessary drama. However, the key is to prefer limited pieces of small furniture or pieces that are raised on sleek legs, to open the floor for vision. Additionally, pieces such as full-length bookshelves and wall-to-wall shelves add depth and volume to the room.

 Optimal lighting

Lighting, when used in variety, has a stimulating outcome by creating multiple focal points while illuminating the space for movement of vision. One could also break the uniformity of small spaces by using round lamps and hanging thin lights.

Elements of design

Create a sense of illusion by using transparent or translucent pieces to avoid blocking the vision, for instance, using translucent glass for diving space. Another way to add volume by illusion is by adding reflective elements such as mirrors to the walls. They add drama and a few inches to the frame of vision. A significant contributor to decor is the artwork. Adding to the impact, 1-2 oversized pieces like photographs or paintings manifest a colossal effect.