From framing to finishes, the Responsive Home project serves as a laboratory of sorts for investigating millennial home buyers' wants and needs. As building products manufacturers nail down what makes this demographic tick, a number of companies have identified value as a purchasing component favored by millennials.
"If people are making their first home purchase later in life when they have greater personal wealth and are more established in their careers, their expectations will be heightened," says Doug Fulton, director of marketing for Andersen.
Kevin McJoynt agrees. "Millennials want high quality at a fair price," says the vice president of marketing for Gerber and Danze. Value comes where those features intersect.
To that end, Andersen, Gerber, and Danze have brought a selection of products to the Responsive Homes that reflect a desire for design and performance at a price point that first-time home buyers can appreciate. Fulton points out that millennials' later entry into homeownership means these buyers are often more established in their careers and are making more money than first-time home buyers of previous generations--but that doesn't mean they want to spend all that money in one place.
"Andersen works to deliver value at every part of our product portfolio, so customers can get high quality products for the price," Fulton says. "We've selected 100 Series windows for the Responsive Home project because they're at the lower end of our price spectrum and delivers great benefits."
100 Series windows (pictured at the top of this article) offer energy efficient frame construction plus numerous low-E glass options that make them energy Star version 6 certified in all 50 states. The Fibrex frames are designed to be twice as strong and more rigid than vinyl; won't fade, chalk, or peel; and never need painting. Designers can choose from six exterior colors to complement any architectural style, and white or sandstone interior finishes.
For sister companies Gerber and Danze, McJoynt says having the right mix of products available to meet millennials' needs is critical because the demographic "represents a large portion of consumer spending." He says the company continues to focus on developing value, environmentally friendly products, and certain design styles that resonate more with millennials. "Luckily, all those attributes have been part of our business for decades, so we're evolving, rather than starting from scratch."
The companies have contributed a variety of kitchen and bath fixtures to the Responsive Homes, including Gerber's Wicker Park contemporary one-piece toilet (above). In addition to speaking to millennials' design tendencies, the toilet operates at an efficient 1.28 gallons per flush and is WaterSense approved. Other features include FluidMaster flush and fill valves that allow for quick bowl evacuation and quiet tank refills.
Danze's contribution to the project ranges from traditional in the smaller farmhouse-style home to modern industrial in the larger contemporary home. One eye-catching piece is the Parma single-handle kitchen faucet featuring a 22-inch-spring arch and 10-inch spout length that makes the faucet a functional workhorse and funky focal point.
"High design is
important for our brands, as it is with millennials," McJoynt says.
"Today's consumers - especially the younger, educated ones - are
increasingly interested in how they interact and impact our common
environment," McJoynt says. "We're proud to support projects like the
Responsive Home because it does just that."