It was a small tour with only nineteen homes in comparison to other years where there have been as many as thirty entries. That small number is no surprise because Anchorage home builders continue to struggle to find buildable homesites at a reasonable value due to the high cost of land development, particularly when it comes to water/sewer/road extensions which in many communities is shared between the developer and the local government but not in Anchorage. Add looming tariffs, and for builders, higher interest rates on their lines of credit, due to economic risk, plus the high entry fee of $1,000, and so it’s no surprise the Anchorage tour was small this year. 

But despite all that there were some outstanding homes to visit. They were more contemporary with shallow roof lines, expansive floor to almost ceiling windows and larger secondary bedrooms with their own walk-in closets. The open living floor plan is now a constant whether it’s an entry level condo in the $300,000+ range or the million dollar home. Three of the four entries in the million dollar category had panoramic inlet views from almost every room! Well worth their asking price as these builders went all out with custom cabinetry, Bosch appliances, luxury flooring and the wet room in the master bath. Wet room? That’s when you combine the shower and the stand alone tub in the same area, surrounded by luxury tile and a floor to ceiling glass enclosure.     

Years ago when I was building my first home, my architect told me that in Alaska you can’t keep guests out of the kitchen so ‘tear down that wall’. Today, the kitchen is still the heart of the home and all other rooms and activities revolve around it. The kitchen remains front and center and may even be visible from the entry.  But now the kitchen question is ‘Are white cabinets still in?’ According to the recently released annual survey from the National association of Home Builders, medium brown is now tied with white cabinetry. It’s not the dark or walnut stained espresso from fifteen years ago but a medium brown. It’s warm, inviting, has a neutral palette and doesn’t take a lot of energy to live with. Almost all of the Parade homes over $600,000 had brown cabinets while white lightens and adds visual space to smaller kitchens in the affordable home category.

‘Grayish’ is still the preferred wall color for most homes although my personal preference remains one of the dozen or more choices for white. Particularly, with our six months of diminishing or lack of sunlight, builders and homeowners doing a remodel can’t go wrong with white walls.