50 Ways To Build Your New Home

by Denise Dersin
(Hanley Woods Builder Magazine)

Apologies to Paul Simon, but when I looked at the long list of design ideas I compiled while at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, I thought I’d try to mention 50 of them—a nice round number. Here they are--some of the many trends I spotted on and off the floor.

As always, kitchens are the place where there is a constant flow of new materials, appliances, faucets, and more. In kitchen design, it seems, the merry-go-round never stops. After a brief hiatus, all-white kitchens are back again. One reason is that white goes with any kind of flooring. Hardwood flooring is still a popular choice, but ceramic and porcelain tile are making inroads. Tile remains a preferred wall covering in the kitchen, but buyers are eschewing oft-used subway tile for more intricate designs and shapes and are opting for entire tile walls instead of just backsplashes. (Image: Courtesy Ashton Woods)

Granite is still the first choice in countertops by volume, but when left to their own devices, homebuyers are choosing many other options: Quartz and wood are making a strong showing, but glass, marble, and stainless steel are also in the mix. One survey found that the favorite countertop color choice is “multicolor,” most likely a neutral color with speckles or graining, but the use of a contrasting color for the island is starting to appear fairly frequently. Waterfall edges are also in style.

When not painted white, cabinets are in warm tones of a variety of wood species, and customization of their interiors has really taken off. Storage overall has become enormously important in the kitchen. Where there is not enough room for an actual pantry, pantry cabinets are on the lists of both Millennials and Boomers. A wide array of other custom storage options, such as sheet pan and tray organizers, waste and recycling cabinets, and wine racks and coolers are making their way into new homes across the country.

Appliance finishes are finally changing. After a very long run, stainless steel is giving way to black stainless steel, a darker finish that looks almost like slate. Faucets and hardware are also heading to the dark side: satin brass, flat black, and dark-bronze finishes are showing up in both the kitchen and the bath.

Bathrooms, in general, are getting bigger and bigger, especially if they possess both a tub and a shower. Designers have yet to figure out an appealing combination of the two, so separates rule. Both tubs and showers are bigger, as well, with master showers featuring wall-to-wall glass and various showerheads and sprays. Freestanding tubs are now available to suit every design aesthetic, from Victorian to ultra-modern to Zen-style.

Vanities are becoming more eclectic, and many showcase a furniture-look. Some are even actual furniture, as designers are repurposing dressers and other cabinets for use in the bath. Vessel sinks are declining in popularity and one-piece integrated countertops and sinks are now trending; they offer a fresh, clean look as well as an easier-to-clean surface.

Across the board in production, custom, and multifamily projects, windows and doors are featuring darker colors, too. Windows with dark brown or black trim and frames in steel or wood are suddenly everywhere, and black, dark brown, and gray doors increasingly are found on new homes’ exteriors and interiors.

Regardless of location, the proliferation of outdoor living areas, both covered and open, proceeds apace, offering living and dining “rooms” and kitchens—with some rivaling their indoor versions. Decking also resembles indoor flooring more and more, and if the outdoor area is covered, the home’s flooring may just extend outside.

Lastly, the biggest trend in home design is the modern farmhouse. I’ve run out of space, but you can still read all about it in this month's design feature, Rural Roots.


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