Supply Chain Challenges and Local Solutions The past year has shown a substantial shift in demand for suburban residences and an uptick in home renovation projects, resulting in homeowners reevaluating their home spaces in 2021. Through a virtual panel discussion organized by New England Home Connecticut Magazine, home design and real estate professionals were brought together to discuss the effects the pandemic has had on the industry along with the innovative trends for the future of home design. In this blog, we’ll hear from the following contributors and discuss the changes taking place with local, regional, and national materials. Moderator Tyra Dellacroce | Connecticut Stone Panelists Tara Vincenta | Artemis Landscape Architects Beth Krupa | Beth Krupa Interiors, President ASID CT Arnold Karp | Karp Associates It’s no secret that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has had a major impact on the global supply chain, and the challenges that have come along with it have undoubtedly spilled over into the home design industry. Certain products, such as appliances, lighting, and even pressure-treated lumber, are now more difficult than ever to come by. Lead times for “basic” home renovations and home improvement projects have peaked, leaving clients feeling frustrated. Perhaps one silver lining that we’ve been able to see from this is that there seems to be a greater appreciation than ever before for local artisans, craftsmen, contractors, and small businesses. In the wake of these supply challenges, we’re turning to these hard-working professionals (as well as alternative and sustainable building materials) to keep our projects moving forward even in these challenging times. The Learning Curve In a virtual panel discussion moderated by Tyra Dellacroce of Connecticut Stone, landscape architect Tara Vincenta of Artemis Landscape Architects explains that “Stone is one building material that has seen major supply challenges in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is because many stones are sourced from overseas. As a result, lead times for stone projects have quickly skyrocketed. As a result, sourcing things like stone and other materials locally have become more important than ever before. The reality is that many clients are willing to spend a little more money to buy local materials — especially if it means that their project will be completed in a more timely manner. However, designers are finding there is a bit of a learning curve here; a lot of education and explanation is required to get clients to understand why they’re spending the extra money to work with local materials and suppliers. Because of what’s involved in producing products locally rather than in China, local labor prices are higher. However, once that knowledge gap is bridged, clients realize that these local artisans and suppliers are some of the true heroes of the times. They’re willing to go out of their way to support these local businesses, even if it means spending a little more money. People want to take care of these local heroes and keep small businesses afloat because they’re the ones that are being hit the hardest by the Coronavirus pandemic. Not Just Building Materials Of course, it’s not just building materials that have suffered from supply chain issues in the wake of COVID-19. We’ve also seen scarcity in art, textiles, furniture, and nearly every other imaginable home design supply. As a result, many designers find that they need to get creative and move away from superficial trends. Beth Krupa of Beth Krupa Interiors explains, for example, “how we’ve seen the emergence of bringing curvature into indoor design using local textiles and supplies that are more readily available.” In many ways, this has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we’ve seen some very creative and unique design trends emerge from these supply challenges. We’ve also had to get creative with technology. Arnold Karp, president of Karp Associates, discusses, “Home lighting fixtures have seen some major supply issues because many residential light fixtures are made outside of the United States. However, this has presented some unique opportunities for local artisans and craftsmen to fabricate some incredible fixtures for our clients that we would not have otherwise seen.” The Bottom Line Building supplies and other materials are difficult to come by right now, and there’s really no telling when things will improve. If there’s one silver lining in all of this, it’s that we’ve discovered a new reliance and appreciation for local professionals who are not only filling in the gaps but creating some truly one-of-a-kind designs and inspiring new trends in the process. For help finding natural stone supplies and materials, contact our Connecticut Stone team today.