I asked local designers to give me their take on design trends for 2011. Specifically, how those trends apply to home remodeling in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Here’s what I learned from Bob Flury (BF) of Flury Bryant Design Group and Kerstin Dieterich (KD) of Kerstin Dieterich Designs:
What do you see happening in the world of kitchen remodeling?
BF: I see more use of unconventional appliances, such as refrigerator and dishwasher drawers, wine captains, and commercial-quality cooking appliances.
KD: Simplified looks and individualized spaces- you love to bake? Arrange for a baking center. If you and your partner both love to cook- make sure there are two work areas to accommodate each gourmet. As for looks- the integrated kitchen with transitional space to a great room works well for today’s busy families. We all like to gather in the kitchen. On a recent trip to Germany I noticed the trend to make kitchens not look like kitchens at all- integrate all elements. It’s a very uncluttered look.
Will granite and stainless remain the top choice? Are any other appliance finishes and countertop materials growing in popularity?
BF: Granite and stainless steel will always be the most popular choices. However, there is a trend toward countertop materials manufactured using recycled materials rather than natural stone and tile.
KD: Hopefully people won’t toss out their granite anytime soon. It would be such a waste of resources. I see a trend toward simpler patterns, quartz composites like “Silestone” have many benefits. Stainless will stick around – it reminds us of professional kitchens. Who doesn’t want to look like a five star chef? For open floor plan kitchens paneled refrigerators and dishwashers will get even more popular.
Flooring: Tile (stone & ceramic) and hardwood are the most requested. Is that still the case? Any other materials becoming more popular?
KD: Consumers are getting more thoughtful about the sustainability of products they put into their homes. That means buying FSC (Forrest Stewardship Certified) wood products. Good quality will not need to be replaced anytime soon.
New materials like cork flooring are finding their place, also “old” materials like Linoleum instead of vinyl. They’re durable and look great in the appropriate setting.
Lighting: Recessed cans for the whole kitchen with pendants over islands & bars still the top choice? Trends?
BF: We’ve seen a trend toward more contemporary lighting, such as cable lighting.
KD: Lighting has come a long way. Energy efficiency is big and the quality of the light itself has improved. Pendant lighting makes a beautiful focal point, but it won’t serve all your needs for kitchen lighting. We create layers of lighting for tasks, focal points, under cabinet, etc.; they don’t have to all be lit at the same time.
Countertops & backsplashes: Slab granite with natural stone tile backsplashes have been huge for years now. We’re seeing more interest in quartz (Silestone, Zodiaq…) countertops, glass tile backsplashes, etc. What’s the next big thing?
BF: Anything made from recycled materials.
KD: I’ve always thought of granite backsplashes as overkill. However, I was in horror when I heard one homeowner say that they were tired of it and want tol tile over it! I like big tiles or tile panels – few grout lines, easy to clean. There is fabulous looking tile with interesting textures or printed patterns on the market now.
Colors and materials: Natural materials like stone and hardwood and neutral colors have been the top choices of our clients. There seems to be a growing interest in colored glass tile. Is color coming back? What palettes and material choices are on the horizon?
BF: More bold colors, more use of accent tiles interspersed with neutral colors, and more use of elaborate borders tile trim caps.
KD: We can express our individual taste through design. Natural colors are a safe choice- most people like it, so it’s good for resale. You can add your favorite color as an accent in paint and accessories. If you plan to stay in you home forever- do what pleases you. Glass tiles are gorgeous and expensive- use them as an accent, a little jewel. Be careful with accents; you don’t want a room that will look outdated too soon. Another big trend is very clean lines and surfaces accented with textures such as natural looking wood. I also see lighter wood colors returning.
Darker woods, bamboo, zen/spa styling, brushed nickel & oiled bronze hardware, walk-in & steam showers with multiple showerheads, frameless glass doors, natural stone… these have been the big trends. What do you see continuing and what’s new for baths in 2011?
BF: I see all of the above continuing, with an emphasis on full-body sprays, steam showers, and high-tech toilets with heated seats.
KD: The spa experience is definitely a trend that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Who wouldn’t want to feel a little pampered in their own home? Make a wish list of what you really enjoy – a whirlpool bath or maybe a steam shower? Choose what’s right for you.
Everyone is tearing down walls to create open floor plans. Is it here to stay?
BF: Definitely yes.
KD: How do you live? If your family gathers during meal preparation and eats together then an open floor plan is wonderful. If it bothers you to see dirty dishes then a separate kitchen may be better for you. When you have teenagers you might have a hard time finding peace and quiet with an open plan. Also consider the architectural style of your home and how this style would work..
Home theaters. Are they popular with your clients?
BF: Yes, but usually in a multi-purpose setting. We rarely see designated home theater rooms with theater seating as we did a few years back. Most requests for home theater systems today are for Family Room or Living Room settings that serve purposes other than exclusively viewing TV.
KD: It’s a great idea if you entertain bigger groups and have the extra space. Definitely a guy’s ultimate dream!
The Economy, Trends, Remodeling to Sell vs. Stay.
How do you think the economy will affect your client’s home remodeling choices in 2011?
BF: We will continue to see more competition in the market, and more cost-effective material and design choices made by clients.
KD: Homeowners will continue to be cautious and thoughtful. People want quality and value. As a designer I can guide them towards the right sources.
What overall design trends do you see for home remodeling in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in the coming year? BF: More contemporary, less traditional.
KD: Space is at a premium so work with what you have: reconfigure the floor plan, update kitchen and baths, include outdoor spaces like gazebos and outdoor kitchens. Another trend is the awareness of energy efficiency.
What advice would you give a client who is updating their home to put it on the market vs. a client who plans to live in their home for at least five years?
BF: For those putting it on the market, I would advise a more conservative, cosmetic approach, with no emotional involvement. For those planning to stay in their home, I would tell them to get all that your budget allows. Values will appreciate over the long haul, and you will see a return on your investment, both in monetary terms, and in terms of improved lifestyle.
KD: Remodeling is an investment that will pay off when you sell. Clients should keep their homes updated since because most people don’t want to buy a project. The best return is the kitchen, followed by bathrooms, then family/great room additions, and landscaping. Make sure you stick with classic design that appeals to a big audience.
I found the following list of trends for 2011 on the web. Do you think it’s accurate? How does it apply to Silicon Valley?
1. Save Money
Remodel Your Bathroom. Old tile getting a little grungy? It looks like 2011 is the year for a bathroom update. Dennis D. Gehman, president of Gehman Custom Remodeling says, “Bathrooms are the hottest project, we think it’s due to the economy. Baths cost less than a kitchen or addition and most houses have more than one bath, so there are more available to be remodeled.”
BF: We have not seen this trend in our business.
2. Must-Do Remodeling Projects.
Rather than going through major renovations, next year people will continue to only complete the projects that need to be done, like repairs to siding or roof leaks. Mitch Speck of Specktacular Home Remodeling says he is seeing a trend of people doing “‘have-to’ projects instead of ‘want-to’ projects.”
BF: This has generally been the case, although there has been a recent trend toward “want to’s”.
3. Warming Up The House.
Warmer tiles and colors are coming back. People tend to be moving away from minimalist, white designs in favor of cozier, earth tones. The trend, however, is not rustic. Instead, it’s a mash-up of earthiness and modern design. Judy Mozen, president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc., says she is seeing people favor rooms that are more contemporary and calming, but are “still not totally contemporary.”
BF: Generally true.
KD: Nope, but I see that people are showing their individual taste more.
4. Getting Decked Out.
George Christiansen of Pequot Remodeling Corporation says his clients are building outdoor spaces for themselves. “It appears that people want to sit outside again and are staying at home more frequently. Many pools are also being built in the neighborhood.”
BF: I don’t know about pools, specifically, but we have seen a growing trend toward outdoor kitchens and outdoor “rooms” that extend the living space into the landscape.
KD: A pool is probably not on everybody’s must-have list (perhaps a new bath is more important?). Since people are nesting more they are enjoying their outdoor space- after all we do live in a great climate!
5. Hiring A Great Contractor.
Darius Baker of D & J Kitchens and Baths, Inc. says that “consumer diligence” is on the rise. “Folks are finally getting the message that it is important to look closer at the companies they are considering for their project. They are asking the questions we have been telling them to ask for years.”
BF: Absolutely true. This is an extremely competitive market, with very sophisticated homeowners who know how to do their research.
KD: Hiring a contractor that you can trust is key. Interview them. If you communicate well and their values match yours, great! A recommended source is wonderful. Since most people get at least three quotes- make sure you compare apples to apples.
6. Paying in Cash.
Rather than taking out loans for renovation projects, homeowners are using cash for projects. Steve Klitsch of Creative Concepts Remodeling, Inc. says homeowners are giving themselves a budget and picking and choosing what projects they can do with the money. One way to save money is by updating features, like cabinets, but not remodel an entire room.
BF: We have seen this many times.
KD: Ah, a budget! What a great idea. It’s amazing how many people don’t have a budget. It blows their minds when they get a proposal.
7. Opening Up Rooms:
“Open floor plans are in, so we’re removing interior walls and opening up the spaces in older houses to modernize them,” says Gehman. Open floor plans help families be more flexible with the square footage they already have.
BF: This is definitely the trend. Open spaces can make a small home feel much larger, particularly when strategic views to the landscape are incorporated into the planning.
KD: Nice, but not for everyone or every house. I do believe in opening up walls and adding windows and glass doors to let in natural light- it gives you the feeling of more space.
Along the with warmer tones in homes are warmer tones in metallic features. Kathy Adams of J&C Adams Co., Inc. says “oil rubbed bronze, aged bronze, or distressed hardware” will be big in the coming year.
BF: We have not seen this.
KD: There is a place for individuality. It’s great to have so many choices.
9. Going Green.
Bamboo floors, grass thatched roofs, and bark siding may sound like something from “Jungle Book,” but they are just a few of the newest green home products. In addition, people are getting energy efficiency upgrades. Adams says upgrades on glass will be continue to be big, and adds that “people are even asking for tri-pane (windows)!” BF: This is probably the trend with the largest impact we have experienced over the past couple years. It continues to grow in popularity.
KD: Huge. Not just a trend, but a necessity for all of us.
10. Industrial Flair.
Exposed beams will continue to be popular, but so will “stainless steel cable and architectural products,” says Michell Milestone, director of sales and marketing at JG Development, Inc. With so many people working from home, home will take on more of an industrial or commercial look to enforce business credibility.
BF: Yes, contemporary detailing is more popular than ever.
KD: Go for it if you like it – and if it fits with the architecture of your home.
11. Creating Relaxation Space:
With home values still falling in many areas and a new prediction of three more lousy years of real estate, homeowners are more stressed than ever. So it’s no surprise that when they are developing new spaces, tranquility comes to mind. Mozen says people are asking for “zen-like” bathrooms. “The bathrooms don’t have to be big-but they have to be relaxing and soothing. They seem to prefer showers with the works-steam, seats, body sprays, etc.”
BF: All true.
KD: I agree
12. Planning ahead:
“We are seeing many clients thinking about their retirement years,” says Jillian Renner of Golden Rule Remodeling & Architecture, Inc. Her clients-even those far from retirement-are putting in easy-opening cabinetry, hand-held showers, and more accessible kitchens and baths. Renner adds, “Even though the clients don’t need those things right now, they are planning for when they might find them needed.”
BF: This is a very popular, and smart, trend. We’ve had many clients ask for wider doorways to accommodate walkers, wheelchairs, etc. We’ve also had many people ask for curbless showers with space for a wheelchair and an attendant, pre-installed wall blocking for future grab bars, and extra width at stairways to allow for future chair lifts.
KD: Baby Boomers are aging well. If you want to stay in your home there are some simple ways to integrate universal design elements that will serve anybody with challenges well. There are more decorative products on the market than ever before.