Blog

Ode to the First Modern Kitchen

August 2021
The “Frankfurt Kitchen” designed by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky in1926 was an architectural interior breakthrough. It is considered the first kitchen ever built using a unified concept that united low-cost design with an efficient layout. It’s estimated that 10,000 units were built in the late 1920s to address Frankfurt’s housing shortage.

The example on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) occupies a space of just a smidgeon over 6 feet by 11 feet. Each kitchen featured a revolving stool, a gas stove, built-in storage, a foldaway ironing board, an adjustable ceiling light, and a removable garbage drawer. MoMA’s Frankfurt Kitchen is distinguished by blue-green cabinets.

This video — Frankfurter Kitchen Compare video clips – YouTube — highlights the advantages of the Frankfurt Kitchen compared to the more primitive kitchens of the day.

AWFS Fair ‘Better Than Expected’

August 2021

The AWFS Fair held July 20-23 in Las Vegas, though predictably down attendance-wise, still got a thumbs up considering that the nation is still just recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was generally conceded amongst the exhibitors that we spoke to that those who attended were in a buying mood. The most frequent comment we heard about the show was, “Better than expected.”

Synergy Thermal Foils supplied materials for ongoing vacuum press demonstrations at CNC Factory’s booth. We thank CNC Factory for being a gracious host and to all of our customers (and future customers!) for stopping by to learn more about our 2DL and 3DL decorative surfaces.

Bathrooms Top HomeAdvisor’s 2021 List of Remodeling Projects

August 2021

 

Bathroom remodels rank first among home projects U.S. consumers plan to contract professionals to perform this year, according to the True Cost Report released by HomeAdvisor. Interior painting and new flooring round out the top three spots on the list of 20 planned home projects.

Thirty-one percent of respondents reported completing a bathroom remodel in 2020, second only to interior painting. The average cost of a bathroom renovation was $13,401 last year. In comparison, kitchen remodels ranked fifth in completions (23%) in 2020 with an average price tag of $35,317.

According to HomeAdvisor, “Pricing for home services is a function of four things: material quantity, material quality, labor quantity and labor quality. Each is important, but labor quality is arguably the most important and the hardest to measure and understand. While some labor can appear outwardly expensive, great labor is ultimately a bargain considering the hidden skills, talents, wisdom, capabilities and other beneficial attributes of a skilled tradesperson.”

HomeAdvisor added that material cost increases were most responsible for driving remodeling project costs higher from 2019 to the pandemic year of 2020. “(O)ur pricing model looking at each of the four major components of project price – materials quantity, materials quality, labor quantity, and labor quality – suggests that the most likely culprit was an increase in materials cost at most quality points. Scarcity and factory shutdowns, supply chain disruptions and greater consumer demand pushed lumber and other prices higher at most quality points, in turn driving higher total project costs independent of changes in material quantity.

“Looking forward to 2021, the most planned projects will likely remain elevated in cost, with the potential for further price inflation. Regardless of how much materials cost or how much one chooses to spend on their overall project, one thing remains constant: investing in quality labor is always a bargain.”

Read the HomeAdvisor True Cost Report.

 

 

Wave to Our New Design: Navy Blue

August 2021

Our new Navy Blue design is not quite black but is still very dark. It was originally popularized for uniforms worn by officers in the Royal Navy in the early 19th century. In recent years, Navy Blue has been dubbed the “now neutral” because it pairs well with so many colors including mustard yellow, bright pink, cherry red, and even metallic gold. Navy Blue is a great choice for the bottom cabinets of tuxedo kitchens with the uppers typically being white. Navy cabinets also pair well with marble or quartz countertops. Our Navy Blue 3D and 2D laminates are a dead-ringer for Kronospan’s Navy Blue and Uniboard’s Wave Blue.

Featured Design: Moonlight

April 2021

Moonlight showcases Synergy’s ability to expertly match our 2DL, 3DL and decorative foils to trending TFL products, in this case Tafisa’s L761 Moonlight TFL.

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What Might the U.S. Housing Market Look Like in 2022?

April 2021
With nine months still to go in 2021, the Home Buying Institute (HBI) takes a “best guess” at what might be in store for the 2022 real estate market based on its analysis of current trends. They include:
Higher mortgage rates dampen home buying demand: Last year (2020) was a big one for the nation’s real estate market. Home buyer demand surged, despite a global pandemic and economic slowdown. Record-low mortgage rates contributed to this, along with a newfound appreciation for homeownership.
While demand remains strong today, HBI expects to see less demand among home buyers in 2022 primarily because of expected high mortgage rates. HBI forecasts a 30-year fixed loan rate to climb to 3.6% by the end of this year, compared to the current average rate of about 3.0%. HBI’s forecast is corroborated by one recently issued by the Mortgage Bankers Association that home lending rates will increase. Higher interest rates would have a dampening effect on home-buyer demand.
Rising home prices: In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. home prices steadily increased during 2020 and into the first quarter of 2021. According to data compiled by Zillow, the median home value rose about 10% between March 2020 and March 2021. Based on current conditions, HBI predicts home values to continue rising, albeit at a slower pace.
Home inventory crunch: According to a recent housing market report by Realtor.com, inventory levels continue to drop across much of the U.S.; the number of homes for sale in March 2021 declined by 51%. New home construction could bring add to the available housing stock in some markets. Nevertheless, HBI assumes that supply constraints will continue to be a dominant issue for the U.S. real estate market well into 2022.
Renting vs. buying: A number of U.S. housing markets already place renting over buying for cost-conscious consumers due to home-price appreciation. HBI says this trend could continue into 2022, especially if home values continue to climb steadily as expected.
Read the HBI 2022 housing forecast.

STF Weighs in on RV Interior Design Trends

April 2021
Synergy recently shared perspectives on the booming recreational vehicle market with Surface & Panel magazine. The article, published in S&P’s Q1 2021 edition focused on how the pandemic has fueled increased RV sales and examined key design trends.
Among the quotes and information attributed to STF: “One of the biggest news trends that we’re seeing is the use of printed PVC that looks and feels like real marble or stone. RV manufacturers still want the look of a heavy quartz or marble top and by using a thicker substrate for the end product, it’s so convincing that most people think it’s stone.”
Read the full article.

Get Your Free Ticket to the Closets Expo

April 2021
Get Your Free Ticket to the Closets Expo
Synergy invites you to attend the Closets Expo, co-located with Wood Pro Expo Florida, June 9-10 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Enter the VIP code ULTRA21 during the registration process for free admission to the expo hall.

Featured Design: Burlap Oak

March 2021

Synergy’s textured Burlap Oak looks like it was woven from white oak, complete with woodgrain cathedrals. It’s a great match for Arauco Prism’s WF 441 Burlap.

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Record-High Lumber Prices Add $24K to the Price of a New Home

March 2021
Lumber prices have skyrocketed more than 180% since last spring, and this price spike has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $24,386 since April 17, 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) standard estimates of lumber used to build the average home. Similarly, the market value of the average new multifamily home has increased by $8,998 over the same period due to the surge in lumber prices.
The latest Random Lengths prices as of mid-February show the price of framing lumber topped $975 per thousand board feet — a 180% increase since last April when the price was roughly $350 per thousand board feet.
NAHB calculated these average home price increases based on the softwood lumber that goes into the average new home, as captured in the Builder Practices Survey conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs. Included is any softwood used in structural framing (including beams, joists, headers, rafters and trusses), sheathing, flooring and underlayment, interior wall and ceiling finishing, cabinets, doors, windows, roofing, siding, soffit and fascia, and exterior features such as garages, porches, decks, railing, fences and landscape walls.
The softwood products considered include lumber of various dimensions (including any that may be appearance grade or pressure treated for outdoor use), plywood, OSB, particleboard, fiberboard, shakes and shingles — in short, any of the products sold by U.S. sawmills and tracked on a weekly basis by Random Lengths.

Product Spotlight: Ginger Spicewood

January 2021
Our Ginger Spicewood brings out oak’s zesty design flavor further enhanced by Authentic texture, the same structure we use with Barnwood and Smokewood.

Ginger Spicewood matches Arauco’s Prism WF400 Ginger thermally fused laminate.

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