By Shandra Hill Smith
With the housing market still making its rebound, more homeowners are staying put, choosing to renovate over relocate. For those would-be buyers, putting their money into their own homes can make for a respite today and recouping tomorrow.
So what are some of today’s amenities and finishes that can add up to a plus for your home both now and later? A few professionals with their pulse on design trends for 2013 weigh in on what’s hot today.
Green is in. That’s true of the color and when it comes to environmentally friendly touches as well. “We are seeing a trend toward all shades of green from the very palest of gray-green to the most Irish of kelly green!” says Dawn Landau, designer/partner, Environs Residential (environsresidential.com).
Splashes of green and turquoise are popping up, says Heather Shuster, project development director, Renewal Design Build (renewaldesignbuild.com). Additionally, “gray continues to dominate wall colors, large furniture goods and even cabinetry. Yellow seems to be receding as a hot color, while coral is taking its place for those looking for warm accents throughout the home.”
“Many of the colors that seem to be very popular are grays and greens for paint as well as blacks and whites for paint, stone and tile,” adds Tony McSwain, president of Integral Structure, Inc. (integralstructure.com). “I see brown earth tones less frequently in products like natural stone tiles and granite, and more of the white and gray of marble in both countertops and tiles.”
When it comes to finishes, “two sides of the spectrum are in hot demand,” Shuster points out. “On one side, we see lots of rustic, worn-in details like exposed beams, raw wood treatments and galvanized metal. At the same time, we are seeing lots of shiny chrome in bathrooms, polished white tile and clean crisp lines. Both trends are strong at the moment and continue to be featured in many homes.”
Personalization and customization also are factors today.
“Before the credit and real estate bubble burst, most of my customers made decisions with one eye on their personal tastes and one eye on the market: How would the decisions they make impact their ability to appeal to the housing market if they decided to sell,” says McSwain. “Today, that concern about the market almost never comes up. Customers are making decisions based on their tastes and what makes them happy. Though the house is still an ‘asset,’ it is also a home for people and families and I see the home and the personalization of it as a welcome trend.”
Along with customization, there’s also the convenience aspect for homeowners who want to “entertain and relax at home with friends and family,” Shuster adds. “Outdoor kitchens with sinks, prep areas and room for multiple grills and a few standard burners are on many homeowners’ wish lists. Basements with plenty of space to enjoy movies while also providing clever storage are also a popular request.”
One finish that remains popular today is granite, “with the emphasis being on organic patterns and lots of movement in the stone,” Landau says. “Consistent patterns and solid colors are out. More buyers are opting for alternate stones as well, such as marble, limestone and travertine, particularly in bathrooms.”
As for the going-green approach, energy efficiency and doing what’s right for the environment appear to be top of mind. “Everybody’s trying to be as energy efficient as possible because everybody’s trying to bring down their monthly costs,” says David Fowler, president of David G. Fowler Architecture (dcfarch.com), which has offices in Bozeman, Mont., and Atlanta. “Everybody wants a more efficient house – from function and from cost to operate.”
Fowler also is finding that homeowners are turning to the Nest Learning Thermostat, which programs itself and learns your schedule and habits and “over time what you want it to be at what time of day and what time of year,” according to Fowler. He urges homeowners to keep in mind costs – anywhere from 20 to 30 percent additional, he says – that can come with going green.
One item on the green shopping list is spray foam insulation.
“Truly green products like high-quality insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, and even roofing, paint and exterior siding and trim with long warranties are green for the environment and your wallet,” Shuster says. “Choosing products that last longer and cause you to use less energy are green for the long term – great for you and the environment!
Landau adds, “Spending dollars on energy-saving items such as insulation, HVAC and window glass is becoming more common,” she says. “Low-VOC finishes such as paint and carpet are all common in the industry now.”
Whether the goal is cost savings, making the space more of your own or a combination of the two, you won’t find a shortage of hot design trends to incorporate in your home sweet home.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

4 replies on “Design Trends: Renovators talk amenities, finishes”

  1. If remodeling is being completed in order to sell the property rather than increase the pleasure of living in the property, a home owner must carefully weigh the costs against the return. In the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report produced by Remodeling Magazine, the average return on a remodeling project is only 60.6%. Of course, some projects have a much higher return. Some areas of the country, for example the Pacific Region, has a greater return on investment. It is good to calculate the return before a project begins.

  2. If remodeling is being completed in order to sell the property rather than increase the pleasure of living in the property, a home owner must carefully weigh the costs against the return. In the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report produced by Remodeling Magazine, the average return on a remodeling project is only 60.6%. Of course, some projects have a much higher return. Some areas of the country, for example the Pacific Region, has a greater return on investment. It is good to calculate the return before a project begins.

  3. Going green may be costly at first, but it will result in cost savings down the line. If you are looking to sell your home and have upgraded to efficient appliances it would be a huge plus for a buyer.

  4. Going green may be costly at first, but it will result in cost savings down the line. If you are looking to sell your home and have upgraded to efficient appliances it would be a huge plus for a buyer.

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