In the past year, more Americans are redefining the term “sanctuary." It’s become a place many of us are now finding within the confines of our own homes.
“For many, before the pandemic, a house was mainly a place to eat, sleep, and occasionally entertain. The quarantine changed that for a lot of people. They are now looking at their personal space differently,” said Alan Schrimpf, founder and owner of Southern Vegas Valley Contracting.
Schrimpf, with more than 30 years of experience as a general contractor, said he logically saw this perspective shift coming with more people finding themselves spending more time at home due to the pandemic.
“Last year alone, we saw a 20 to 30 percent jump in business," said Schrimpf. "And it’s really because people aren’t leaving their house very much. They finally had time to pause, look around, and say ‘hey maybe we need a change.’"
With most of his clients based in the Summerlin and Red Rock area, Schrimpf said the calls have been coming in practically non-stop for home improvements in 2020 and into 2021. His business, which has been in the Vegas Valley for more than 2 decades, specializes in everything from customized and renovated kitchens, bathrooms, and interiors to upgraded or design-build landscaping and swimming pools. And when it comes to pools and outdoor living spaces, he said many homeowners are now deciding to invest in their backyard amenities.
“People aren’t going out as much now, they aren’t traveling or spending money on things like fancy vacations. Instead, they are investing in their homes,” said Schrimpf. “A family cruise for 15 to 20 thousand dollars is now being put into home improvements and those upgrades are now becoming really important to overall well-being.”
Schrimpf said his number one home improvement request from clients last year was for pools and spas, followed by outdoor kitchens (including gourmet outdoor kitchens), entertainment spaces, and fire pits/tables. Multi panel sliding glass door requests ran a close second. The general trend was that people want to bring the nature and serenity of the outdoors inside their home and vice versa.
“It’s about creating areas for quieter relaxation,” Schrimpf continued. “New spaces for reflection and wellness. Obviously, what clients want varies from person to person and changes can be personalized, which makes every project unique."
Creating an “escape” or a “sanctuary” has proven to be a nationwide trend. According to the website, HomeAdvisor, Americans spent an average of 8,000 dollars in home improvements in 2020, that is up about 750 dollars from the year before.
“I am not surprised that business took off in 2020,” said Schrimpf. “And it's easy to see why more people are moving here from places like California and New York and buying homes. They are getting a bang for their buck especially the interest rates are still low and the ‘work from home’ trend likely here to stay.”
“From the start I like to have an honest consult with our clients. I tell them to look at ‘home’ in both aspects - selling or remodeling - and ask what’s worth more to them,” said Schrimpf. “I think more people need to need to think of their home as an investment, a retirement tool. All that money you invested in is capital gains money. It’s an asset you can enjoy now if you choose to."
Having spent his career building everywhere from Hawaii to Florida, he said that experience helped him understand the needs and wants of a diverse group of clients. Ones who share his passion for the beautiful Las Vegas Valley.
"Like so many of my clients, I just love this area. You can enjoy so much from here,” said Schrimpf. “We are lucky to live where we do and make this place our home. I love helping my clients with indoor-outdoor spaces and create their ideal vision of ‘home.’"