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The Jewelry in Your Kitchen Design

Mar 11, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Great lighting is definitely stealing more of the spotlight in kitchen design lately. Pendant lights that hang from the ceiling above your kitchen island—usually in a row of two or three–is really a place to show off lighting to dress up your kitchen.

Some designers refer to pendant lights as the jewelry of your kitchen. They add a little decorative sparkle to catch the eye.

Blown glass pendants are one of the top trends. This is a clear glass light fixture with an exposed Edison light bulb inside. Glass pendants in geometric shapes, like a glass boxed pendant or a glass sphere, are popping up in more kitchens lately.

Glass pendants can be a great choice for smaller kitchens or kitchens within an open floor plan. That’s because the see-through glass doesn’t disrupt the line of sight in your kitchen space. The lighting adds just enough statement and shine to accent that kitchen island.

Check out a few examples.


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7 Surprising Design Trends for the Home: Which Has Staying Power?

Feb 25, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Bold colored vanities and vinyl flooring are gaining more clout in home design. Last week at the 2019 International Builder Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry show, thousands of designers and builders talked trends as vendors showed off their latest innovations for the home.

Here are a few of the surprises I spotted through 608,000 square feet on the Expo show floor:

1. Colorful bathrooms. 

A range of hues were shown in the bathroom, as some forecasters looked to add more color into what has mostly been a neutral color palette over the last few years.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Kohler showed off purple and blue sinks as well as a purple clawfoot bathtub. Several vanities on display were in grays, blues, greens, and even pink.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

2. Colored cabinets. 

Speaking of color, I lost count of just how many shades of various colors I spotted on kitchen cabinets on the Expo floor. White is still supreme for kitchens, but there is a growing trend of more “moody colors” being used, says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, a home remodeling website. Grays, navy’s, greens, and reds are all being used to add more color to the kitchen. Two-toned cabinets—where the upper cabinetry may be in white and then the bottom cabinetry are in navy—also was popular on the show floor.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

3. Vinyl flooring. 

Sitchinava called vinyl flooring a rising star in home design, a sentiment  echoed by many other designers at the show. “Vinyl comes in a lot of colors, textures, and lots of different options,” Sitchinava says. “It’s an easy-on-your-feet material, and consumers are recognizing that. … It’s very conducive to aging in place, and many baby boomers are driving this trend.” The flooring leaders in the kitchen remain ceramic/porcelain tile, followed by hardwoods, and then engineered wood or laminate. But vinyl flooring is quickly gaining popularity in home remodels, and Sitchinava calls it one to watch in 2019.

Designer Julianna Dykstra with Distinctive Bathroom & Kitchen Inc. in Ottawa, Canada, also is seeing a rise of “luxury” vinyl flooring in her market, particularly for the kitchen and bath. The water-resistant material is mostly being used in grays or whites, she says.

4. Floating toilets and beds. 

To add some drama to a space, designers are floating objects. Floating toilets—those installed into the wall instead of the floor—are helping to open up the space in bathrooms. On the Expo floor, Kohler showed this black floating toilet:

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Also, at the 2019 New American Home, a show home of this year’s IBS, the master bed was suspended by steel cables and it appeared like it was floating in air.

Photo credit: Jeff Davis / Jeffrey A. Davis Photography

5. Bling for your appliance handles. 

To dress up appliances, CAFÉ, within the GE Appliance brand, has launched customizable hardware options in various metals, such as brushed bronze, brushed stainless, or brushed black. Homeowners add different finishes to their stainless steel, matted white, or matted black refrigerator or stove. For example, soft brushed copper hardware handles can be added to a matted white refrigerator for a more contemporary vibe.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

6. Roll down shelves. 

As cabinets get taller, reaching for those higher up shelves can be a challenge. At the Wellborn Cabinet booth, the company showed off iMove shelves that feature a pull down feature at the edge of the upper shelf. You just pull on the handle and it gradually brings the shelf to eye level.

Photo credit: Wellborn Cabinet

7. Roll away walls. 

Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors were popular at IBS 2019 in showcasing seamless indoor and outdoor living. Most of these glass doors were displayed on long, straight walls that could be rolled completely away–via pocket doors that disappear into the walls–to open the interior of the home to the outdoor space. Some firms also showed how you can add sliding glass pocket windows to tuck them away when wanting to open up the house to the outdoors, or even curved areas of the home with rounded floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

 

Which of these trends do you think has staying power? 


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7 Hot Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

Jan 28, 2019 by

What is trending in home design in the new year? The designers at Houzz chimed in with their top picks. Here are a few of their choices for top home decor trends:

Tile backsplash feature wall.

More kitchens are using tile for an accent wall, taking the tile from countertop to ceiling. The tile is even behind floating shelves and range hoods to create an eye-catching feature wall.

Glass and steel room dividers.

In recent years, we’ve seen increased popularity in glass and steel for front doors and shower enclosures on Houzz. But good ideas spread quickly. We’re seeing more glass and steel dividers between interior rooms and expect that to continue in 2019. They give an open feeling while still providing some privacy and noise control, along with a stylish graphic element or contrasting color to otherwise white walls.

The centerpiece tub.

Homeowners are spending more to increase the size of their bathroom and carve out a spa-like space. And they’re devoting a lot of attention to making the tub the all-star of their space.

Black is back.

Black is entering kitchens in a bigger way. Black range hoods, island accent colors, and all-black cabinets are popping up in more designs. Houzz predicts more kitchens featuring black cabinets paired with white walls, backsplash and countertops for a dynamic and sophisticated contrast.

Furniture benches in the dining area.

In the kitchen, built-in bench seating in a dining nook is not only trendy but also offers extra storage as an added bonus. Designers are bringing in bench furniture pieces, which offer an affordable and convenient alternative. “It turns almost any dining spot into more of a lounge area, and you can tuck a few storage baskets underneath for blankets, games, place settings and more, giving you the feeling of a banquette without the commitment,” Houzz notes.

Board and batten exterior.

The modern farmhouse look is still going strong throughout the home, but exteriors are also reflecting it now too. “The board and batten method of construction delivers that homey look and adds texture and interest to what might otherwise be a flat facade,” Houzz notes.

Wood vanities.

Wood vanities can help bring a large dose of warmth to the bathroom. Wooden vanities have long been popular on Houzz, but the latest designs are turning toward reclaimed wood or light wood with clear stains that draw out grain pattern details and knots.


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High-Tech Home Design From CES 2019

Jan 10, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

As more homes get teched out, how do you make a home smart but stylish too? CES 2019—Las Vegas’ annual mega tech show—is showing off thousands of high-tech products, including a growing number to outfit a smart home.

From smart mirrors to rollable TV screens, CES 2019 vendors are evolving the look and function of many everyday household items. Particularly interesting is a gradual movement to the attention of detail in how these high-tech products are being integrated into a home’s design. It’s becoming less about having a massive monitor on display or smart speaker on your coffee table, and more about integrating and blending the tech into the home subtly.

The Rollable TV

Photo Credit: LG

The bulky, rectangular television set has long been a centerpiece of many family rooms. But LG Signature’s OLED TV R is disguising it. This rollable 65-inch television disappears into a box below a modern, silver credenza when not in use. When you do need it, it unrolls to its full height in seconds. You can also put the TV in “line view,” so that only about a quarter of the screen is showing. In this wide, rectangular view, the TV can be set to just display a clock, weather, personal photos, or other designs.

LG debuted a prototype of the wallpaper TV back at CES 2018, but it will be available to the public starting in the second half of 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Not Just Any Wood

Photo Credit: Mui

That two-by-four piece of wood on the wall looks like a stylish accent that blends into the room, but it’s actually a smart home assistant. Voice-assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, are getting stylish makeovers and embedded into more products. The Mui smart block can be controlled via voice. Homeowners can take control over music, lighting, thermostats, and more through this discreet Google Assistant. When it’s not being used, the LCD display turns off and it looks like just any other piece of wood again. When activated, words appear on the screen and you can talk to it. It’ll be available in early 2019 for $ 999.

Picture Frame and Wireless Charger

Tech chargers aren’t exactly the prettiest accessory to leave lying around. Enter Twelve South’s PowerPic. It’s a picture frame that doubles as a wireless charger for your devices. It appears as a typical wooden 5×7 picture frame, but it contains a hidden wireless charger behind that favorite photo being displayed. You can place an iPhone or other compatible device inside of it to start charging. (This retails for $ 80.)

 

A Smart Mirror

This isn’t your ordinary mirror. It’s a touchscreen mirror with Google Assistant-embedded inside. This smart mirror from Capstone Connected Home allows you to ask it anything you typically would of a standard voice assistant. You can even compose email and messages from it and type directly into the mirror. The mirror is available in various sizes, starting at 19-inch by 22-inch. It’ll be available in early 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

 

Mood lighting

Photo Credit: Philips Hue

Pick a mood and let your lights match it. Philips Hue offers a range of smart bulbs that allow you to take control over the lighting to fit the setting. Adjust your dining room lighting to create an ambient atmosphere for a dinner party, or turn a living room into a home theater with dimmed lights. Many of the bulbs can also now be controlled via voice, allowing you to change lighting without ever having to flip a switch.


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Denim Design: The Jean-Look Is Hitting Home Decor

Nov 12, 2018 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you thought jeans were just for wearing, you are mistaken. Denim is becoming a hot fabric in home décor. We’re seeing denim sofa coverings, pillows, table runners, ottomans, rugs and bedding.

Denim is being lumped into a bigger trend of using more “utility fabrics” in home décor. Besides denim, those trending utility fabrics also include burlap, grain sacks, and drop cloths. All of these are heavier fabrics but they can add texture in designing your space. Another bonus: These utility fabrics are known for being less expensive and durable. That helps make denim great for rugs, sofas, or even a kid or teens’ bedroom. Denim wears and washes well so it can also be a great choice for high-traffic areas of the home.

 

Blue is really taking off as the “it” color in home design this year, and obviously blue denim fits right into that. A more mainstream use of the jean trend may come from denim-inspired blue paint finishes on furnishings or on kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

 

Can denim make a lasting enough impression on home decor to stick around? It’s a heavy fabric and it doesn’t exactly give off a cozy vibe. But in some areas of home design, it may very well find a niche.


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