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Durham's balancing act PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   

FROM THE HGO MERCHANDISER

It's not exactly a new phenomenon, but homes are getting smaller throughout North America. Designing and making furniture for the condo market has been a common theme for the past few years. But what is new is that the shrinking living spaces most commonly associated with the trendy downtown districts of major cities from Toronto and Calgary to San Francisco and New York are moving out into the enclaves where the commuters live.

According to Dave Pinamonti, vice president of business development at Durham Furniture, the average new home under construction in North America today is 300 square feet smaller than it was just a few years ago. Meanwhile, real estate costs are skyrocketing, especially in the major cities. The average home price in the 416 Toronto area code is now an eye-popping $700,000.

Research conducted by Durham over the past few months shows the average Canadian home size has dropped from 2,266 square feet to 1,980 square feet. Meanwhile, the average American home size has gone from 2,700 square feet to under 2,400 square feet.

"The days of the McMansion are over," Pinamonti says. "Housing is becoming more realistic. On the U.S. side, we're moving towards the Canadian housing experience." And, he adds, the affordability issue is really coming into play with the 35-and-under demographic.

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The WestEnd group in Perfect Balance is contemporary and upscale in attitude. Its linear quality is expressed through its tall square legs, stretchers and metal spaces on the arched panel headboard. Other beds in this group include a transitional panel bed and a crisp open-panel headboard in either low or high profile. For the first time, Durham is offering under-bed storage as a key feature in the new collection.

These trends, along with changing consumer attitudes - most commonly described as "she wants it when she wants it, with the features she wants, delivered when she wants it, at a price she's willing to pay" school of merchandising - and furniture manufacturers are faced with a number of seemingly competing challenges.

At the upcoming High Point Market, the 113-year-old solid-wood bedroom specialist will introduce Perfect Balance, an eight-group collection it believes will meet those challenges.

Perfect Balance is Durham's first major foray into tag-order case goods and is its most comprehensive merchandising program ever. It covers all of the major style categories from contemporary to traditional, and every life stage as well...

Read our complete report, Durham's balancing act, beginning on Page 14 the Spring 2012 edition of the HGO Merchandiser. Click here to download your copy.

 

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