Homeowners are demanding houses with less square footage and more indoor-outdoor living options, as well as features that will let them age in place. That’s according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2017, which focuses on home and property design and the use of interior and exterior space.

“With younger households that are increasingly entering the market looking for more affordable options, home sizes appear to have peaked for this economic cycle,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker.

Of course, a trend toward smaller homes could mean fewer windows per house. Among all U.S. households, 37.7 million currently have ten to 15 windows, according to the latest Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), released in February by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). About 28.4 million have six to nine windows, and 17.6 million have three to five windows. Roughly 3.7 million homes have 30 or more windows.

Options that allow homeowners to age in place will continue to grow in popularity as the nation’s 76 million baby boomers make their way into their retirement years.

“For aging owners, accessibility continues to be a high priority,” Baker said.

According to the AIA survey, 59 percent of architects reported increased interest in in-home accessibility, and hardware for doors and windows that meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)  can be an important component of accessible design. For example, lever-handled doorknobs are among the top five most frequently completed projects for homeowners choosing to age in place, according to a 2015 survey by HomeAdvisor in partnership with the National Aging in Place Council.

ADA design standards have been harmonized with ICC/ANSI A117.1, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. It requires “handles, pulls, latches, locks, and other operable parts on accessible doors shall have a shape that is easy to grasp with one hand and does not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate.”

Other findings from the AIA survey show that 62 percent of architects report increasing interest in indoor-outdoor living, which is one of the most appealing aspects of large sliding doors.

The U.S. market for residential patio doors increased from 3.1 million units in 2013 to 3.3 million units in 2015, according to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 2016 Study of the U.S. Market for Windows, Doors and Skylights. Sliding products represent about 77 percent of that total.

Home designers are paying attention, too. For example, at the 2015 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Mark Montgomery, PlyGem’s vice president of marketing, told DWM that 92 percent of architects say outdoor living products such as sliding patio doors are a key part of their design considerations

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