Homescape Trends

Home Tour Observations:  Trends for 2009-2010


I spent a sunny Fall Saturday on a Parade of Homes tour. I focused on observing what seemed to be current trends with Architects and Interior Designers. This tour of some very beautiful and expensive homes was enlightening.  It highlighted some interesting features, elements and trends in home design, that may not be new, but were common among these high-end residences. Walking these homes really pointed out what is possible.  Not every home design and decoration will appeal to everyone, but you can always take what you see and impose your own personal tastes.  Here are a few ideas that I took away:


 


1. Interesting Ceiling Treatments:
Ceilings in most homes are plain, white and relatively forgotten as a surface in your home.  The only time most people notice the ceiling is when it is exceedingly low and makes the room feel cramped.  With most new homes coming standard with a 9′-0" first floor ceiling as a minimum; I noticed that the ceilings in rooms where people congregate (i.e. Kitchen, Family Room) were embellished.  Many ceilings, in these homes, had decorative beams, unique vaulting, crown molding, and other interesting design features. How you treat your ceiling can be a game changer in making your room really stand out.  I particularly liked rooms that featured dropped beams painted white to contrast a boldly colored painted ceiling.
CeilingTreatment


2. Creative Use of Columns:
Columns are interesting elements that have been in homes for a long time.  You see all types from simple round colums with a standard base and capital, to square, wood clad decorative columns.  Columns work indoors and outdoors and they do one simple thing; they open up a space by minimizing the bearing support needed. Get rid of the walls and decorate with columns.


3. Hardwood & Area Rugs:
Every house we walked through had something in common, less tile and carpet, more hardwood.  Almost all rooms, in every house, featured different kinds of hardwood flooring.  All types of hardwood were on display from tight tongue and groove thin strips to wide, treated planks. And most spaces featured decorative area rugs to, I guess I would call it, decorate the floor.  Now, I am personally a big fan of soft, plush wall to wall carpeting.  However, some rooms look great in hardwood, and clean easily with a dust mop and spray floor wax.  So I point out again, there are many types of hardwood out there.  Make sure its a type that won’t warp if you accidentally spill some water on it. I also like hardwood because with carpet I always feel like I have to take my shoes off.  I don’t always want to remove my shoes.  So, its nice to have a wood floor to walk on.  My dog would disagree, though.  She never wears shoes and finds wooden wax floors a bit slippery. AreaRug      


4. Curved Walls:
There are some instances in homes where having a curved wall is a decorating nightmare.  You can’t put furniture against a curved wall or hang a large picture on it.  But having curved walls does several things.  It visually adds interest. It can improve flow and circulation through space by reducing sharp corners.  It can open up a space as it transitions from a hallway to a room.  Because curves are not very common, they really can become unique features in homes.  I found a creative use of a small curve in a kitchen.  There was a small curved bump-out on a short wall.  The interior of this curve was in a small powder room  just off the kitchen.  The powder room featured the concave part of the curve and a custom-made wall mounted vanity was created to fit there.  A narrow, oval vanity mirror fit perfectly in that small concave space.  And the small curve did actually add the feel of space to an otherwise small room. Bottom line, curves can be creatively and usefully implemented. WallCurves 


5. Tile Design:
Many bathrooms have nice tile layouts that are simple and elegant.  They give a bathroom a solid surface that can deal with dripping water as you step out of the shower.  But some of the homes I walked through displayed intricate tile designs that are essentially pieces of art. Multiple sized tiles weave together into intricate patterns.  Different textures can create a slip resistance surface.  And some of these floors even had radiant heat floors.  Very nice for the toes on a cold winter’s morning.  These floor tile designs sometimes become treatments on the walls and especially in the shower tile layout. The various tile applications help to tie the bathroom design together.


6. Arches and Trim:
Arches are pretty common in many residences. They are commonly used as a transition element between rooms.  Sometimes they spring from interior columns and sometimes from short wing walls.  But arches in residences lose a little of their elegance when they are simple drywall arches.  By adding some decorative trim, it really creates a superior form that can bring drama to the space and tie decorative elements in the home together. Don’t get me wrong, not all arches require trim.  If the design calls for a textured surface, the arch can blend into the wall opening.  And In a hallway, an extended arch (or Barrell Vault) can dramatically change the feel of the circulation.SunkenRoom


7. Stairs to Rooms and Sunken Spaces:
I always find it interesting when you see unique elements in home design.  Even if there’s no reason for it other than the whim of the designer.  One thing in particular I saw that alway stands in my memory are when you have arbitrary steps to spaces.  I found this one home that had a circular opening from the first floor to the second floor.  The stairway curved around this circle and then at the top of the stair was a small 4 step staircase leading to the master bedroom.  I just think this is cool…I may be the only one.  But I’m pointing it out as a unique feature that is very uncommon in homes today.  Level Changes are interesting and natural boundaries for spaces.  A related feature I came across was a master bedroom with a sunken sitting room at one end of the room.  As long as you’re not a sleepwalker, having multiple levels within a space is pretty neat.


8. Glass Tile Backsplash:
I’ve seen several houses on this tour that had interesting tile features in the kitchens and butler’s pantries.  The tile was glass with the color on the back of the tile.  This had an interesting shadow effect when light shined down from under cabinet lights.  It gave the tile a bit of depth. One of the kitchens had a rectangular glass tile that was a backsplash over the stove.  This tile shape, with the shadow effect, gave the impression of interlocking bricks.  It was a really stylish back drop for the small wall space above the counters and below the cabinets.  The best part is that the glass tiles look like they can be easiler wiped clean with a paper towel and glass cleaner.  I’ve seen this glass tiles like this in restaurants and office building bathrooms, but this is the first time I’ve seen it applied in a home.
InteriorTransom


9. Interior Transoms:
Many homes have a common first floor ceiling height of 9′-0" and a second floor ceiling height of 8′-0".  But, some homes are giving both floors a 9′-0" ceiling height and that gives rise to a unique, though old fashioned feature of interior transoms.  They are an element that’s not for everyone, but I think its serves a great function in bringing in more natural light to flow into what would be darker interior spaces, like hallways.  Transoms are common in schools, offices and other public spaces, but having them in homes can be a nice feature if you have the ceiling height to accomodate the window.


10. Tall Wainscot:
You’ve been in nicely decorated homes that feature unique and interesting wall treatments and paint applications, right?  Well, I find those types of decor overused to the point of cliche.  But I stepped into a pretty interesting home office that featured a tall wainscot and a textured paint between the wood and the crown moulding.  The dark wood wainscot complimented the dark wood furniture spendidly (OMG, did I just use the word "splendidly?") It was a good match, let’s say that.  Above the 6 foot tall wainscot was a textured paint which was a lighter brown with variations of darks and lights to give it an almost Faux-Like application…but it wasn’t Faux.  It was a dark room because of the color choices, but it really was a cool room.  And it featured a lot of windows, so it did lighten up, in spite of the dark wood.StoveHoods


11. Decorative Exhaust Hoods:
Many of these New Homes have amazing kitchens with lots of workspace, oversized industrial type Stoves and Beautifully Ornate Decorative Exhaust Hoods.  The Cabinetry is easily the most prominent wall feature in kitchen.  Custom Cabinets in all sorts of finishes add style to the kitchen space.  Tying the Range Hood into that as an extension of the cabinetry pulls together the design.  Many people have simple hoods or stainless steel hoods over the stove.  But there is a stark contrast between those type of hoods and the wooden ornate quaility cabinet hood.  It really is a matter of taste, but as many decorators seem to be going to some traditional styles, the stainless steel doesn’t always jive.


12. Hallway Built-in Benches:
Many hallways are just simple paths from one room to the next.  But if there is space, or your hallway terminates with a window wall, a piece of furniture or a built-in bench can add little nooks of interest to an otherwise mundane space. Many instances I saw little benches at the top of the stairs and in one instance, there was a bench and bookshelf located on the landing of a return staircase.


There are many features that go unmentioned here.  But, at the desire to keep this post at a reasonable length, I’ve selected these twelve ideas that stood out to me. Some of the best ideas generated are an amalgam of things you experience and your own personal tastes.  They always told us in college that everything in architecture has already been done.  All you can do is rearrange the pieces.  I’m not sure I buy that argument. I like the idea that one can be a pioneer of an idea.  So, if it is true that everything has been done before; I’ll ignore that issue and still try to come up with some great ideas that, maybe, no one has thought of before. 

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One Response to “Homescape Trends”


  • Hello Dear, Very Well Written Post, I Was Searching About this stuff for So long and finally i get it in your blog, Thanks For Sharing it with us,

    I am also Running one blog about decoration, kindly check this and let me know, how can improve this.

    Thanks

    BTW My Blog Is All About Decoration


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