Milwaukeeans have been spending more time than ever in the home. As a result, people have been aiming to make their homes more functional and convenient, which is reflected in the latest trends in interior design.
“We are seeing a lot of people spending more time in their homes and realizing what hasn’t worked for them for so many years. We are seeing an increase in kitchen remodeling and lower-level remodeling,” said co-owner and Lead Designer Nicole Raffensperger of Design Tech Remodeling in Milwaukee.
Design Tech Remodeling is a family-owned business, started by Raffensperger’s mother 25 years ago. Family members have been part of both Temple Menorah and Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun.
Raffensperger says her clientele have been opting to make kitchens more family-oriented and open concept, with large islands for people to congregate around. They are making kitchens dual-functional, where the children can do homework at the same time parents are getting dinner ready.
Many people are also choosing to remodel their basements, turning them into more livable space for children and families. There has also been an increase in turning basements into at-home offices.
“We are seeing that a lot of our clients don’t even know when they are going back to the office,” Raffensperger said. “We are adding, within other spaces, entertainment space, office space, bathrooms. People are taking advantage of every little nook and cranny of their existing homes to make them more functional for families.”
People are also getting creative in choosing materials. Raffensperger has seen a rise in luxury vinyl planks for basement flooring as it is durable and water resistant, with the appearance of hardwood floors without the cost.
Though the interior design business flourished during the pandemic, the industry took a hit when the prices of materials skyrocketed and supply chain issues persisted, according to Raffensperger. They had to be creative in how far out they scheduled projects, making sure they had all the materials they needed before starting so families wouldn’t be down for longer than needed.
However, the price of materials has become more reasonable in recent months, Raffensperger said, and the industry appears to be stabilizing.
“People are getting more bold in their choices. They’re investing in their homes, and they are making wise decisions,” Raffensperger said. “It’s not like people are spending foolishly, they’re just making their homes more functional.”