Martha Stewart, Tony Soprano on Drive-By Home Tour
Driving through neighborhoods is one of the best ways home owners get ideas for building a new home or remodeling an existing one, according to “Driving Design: From the Front Seat to the Front Porch,” a recent study by Harris Interactive and Therma-Tru Doors.
Headquartered in Maumee, Ohio, Therma-Tru Corporation is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — The Supplier 100 of NAHB.
The survey found that nearly 70% of home owners tour neighborhoods in their cars looking for ideas and products to incorporate into their homes. This is especially popular among those with household incomes between $50,000 and $99,000 (77%); those ages 35-54 (75%); and those living in the South (75%). Nearly 25% reported taking photographs of homes they like for future reference.
Therma-Tru research also showed that for a majority, the front door and front porch are among the most attention-getting elements and the second most common item that home owners want to change in their homes.
Among the survey findings:
- Landscaping receives the greatest scrutiny in drive-bys, studied by 94% of the women and 84% of the men who were surveyed. Seventy percent of women and 72% of men said they take a look at the architectural style of the homes on their tour. The front door and front porch were the next items on the list for women, reported to be worth a passing glance by 67% and 65%, respectively, and by a somewhat smaller share of men. Seventy-three percent of the men said they look at siding and the exterior surface, compared to 58% of women.
- Sixty-three percent of the women and 60% of the men said they would be willing to copy a house they liked.
- More than half of the female respondents (53%) and 70% of younger home owners 18-34 years old said they would copy all or certain elements of a celebrity’s home. Those most worth emulating included Martha Stewart's farmhouse (cited by 26% of women and 24% of men); Tony Soprano’s home on “The Sopranos” (12% and 14%); the suburban Chicago home in “Home Alone” (13%, 11%); Susan Myer’s home on “Desperate Housewives” (7% for both sexes); and Bree Van de Camp’s home on the same program (7% and 0%).
- When remodeling or building a new home, the home owners indicated that they first consult home magazines (66% women and 55% men) and home improvement and gardening television and radio shows (56% and 48%), followed by friends and family (55% and 44%), neighboring homes (45% and 50%) and construction professionals (38% and 59%). Only 10% of both sexes consult newspapers.
- Thirty percent of men said they were most likely to go to construction professionals as their primary source for advice, while women go first to home improvement magazines (24%) and friends and family (23%).
- When it comes to changing one exterior element of their current home, home owners said they would start with a landscaping upgrade to their yard (24% women and 20% men), followed by the front door or front porch (18% and 17%), siding or exterior surface (15% and 13%), architectural style (13% and 9%) and windows (11% and 15%).
- Siding and windows were the top changes in the East (18% for each), where an aging housing stock is more in need of these upgrades. Landscaping led in the South and Midwest (24% each) and the West (23%). Only 11% said they would not make any changes to their home.
- Thirty percent said they would change their homes because of old, out-of-date styles and materials, followed by poor condition (26%), ugly design or color (15%), improper fit with the home’s architectural style (6%) and faulty installation (3%).
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