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The Hottest Looks in Home Design are Making their Way to the Springs

We all strive to create a home that is comfortable and an expression of the family within, but also stylish. To get a handle on the latest in home design trends, local experts say you need not look any further than the runways of Milan, Paris and New York to be on point. Colors and styles tend to follow fashion so if it’s hot on the runway, you’re likely to see it among the pages of any home design magazine. And the local marketplace is embracing these latest trends in kitchens and baths, lighting, flooring, outdoor spaces and home décor.

Making solid sense of kitchens and baths.

Solid surface counters are expected in any new or remodeled home but the materials, treatments and colors are giving kitchens and bathrooms an updated, unique look. Mark Plush of Plush Designs says limestone and marble, once deemed to be too soft for use in these utility-type rooms, are making their way on the scene due to better sealers. Quartzite, a truly natural stone, offers the look of marble in light color schemes coupled with durability. “White is so hot right now,” Plush says. “People are mixing dark, rich woods with white countertops for a more contemporary or refined traditional look.”

Texture, important in fashion, can create a wow factor in a kitchen counter that people can’t quite figure out upon inspection. “Leathered granite has passed the test and we are seeing varying degrees of leathered finishes,” Plush says. “We know it will hold up and it offers some nice texture.”

Quartz continues to be a strong contender for bathroom surfaces but Plush says people are going with a far more contemporary look in the bathroom with free-standing soaking tubs and clean lines. Powder rooms are featuring the latest in bathroom trends. “Live edge” wood tops are treated and sealed displaying the outside of the log as the edge of the countertop. The natural wood tone softens a contemporary look, Plush says.

Accessorize it!

We often hear fashion designers say the right accessories make the outfit. The same is ringing true in kitchens. Because the kitchen is often the central gathering spot of the home, owners are keenly more focused on a comfortable surrounding that is both accessible and functional.

“It’s all about maximizing the space,” says Jacqueline O’Neil, designer for Aspen Kitchen and Baths. She says kitchens today are fully equipped with specialized accessories such as rollouts, pull-out trays, customized drawer inserts and the utilization of narrow spaces for tools like cookie sheets and muffin tins. “We are also removing the standard walk-in pantry with wide shelving and customizing the space with a cabinet that better utilizes the entire space and is more functional.”

The kitchen color palette is moving to soft, warm greys, O’Neil says, but a cabinet or island in an accent color or wood grain that is different from the rest of the kitchen creates a focal piece for the room. Even in kitchens that are designed to be predominantly white or off-white, customers are adding a painted piece to soften the look, she says.

Shedding a little light on the subject.

Dian Oatman with Austin Bluffs Lighting cites five major trends in home lighting starting with the bulb itself and then working through textures, shapes and styles.

LED lighting is trending for a number of reasons but its energy efficiency is what brought it to market alongside the familiar incandescent bulbs and the newer compact fluorescent bulbs. Their inner workings are small strips allowing manufacturers to design more linear fixtures for a contemporary appeal. Incandescent bulbs now offer an “early electric” look to match fixtures designed for that era, creating a conversation piece in lighting. The compact fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient but lack aesthetic value so Oatman says they need to be placed in fixtures where you cannot see the curling bulb.

Texture is being introduced through organic materials. “Today you can find wood, metal, reclaimed wood, onyx of varying colors, rope and cork in lighting fixtures” Oatman says. “It brings a different vibe into the home.”

Pendant lighting clusters create a focal point above a wet bar or kitchen island. “Traditionally, you would have a canopy of a few pendants hung at the same level. On trend is clustering many pendants and staggering their heights,” she says. “It adds a pop of color and creates an eclectic flair in an otherwise traditional home.”
Spherical lighting fixtures or orbs are all the rage and run the gamut in size and style. Oatman describes these fixtures as an open cage with lighting sockets that make for easy maintenance and a spectacular, updated look.

The Glam look introduces aged brass, brushed bronze, gold tones and lots of crystals and beading. “Lighting is like jewelry for your home, she says. “Watch what’s trending in jewelry and you’ll see it in lighting as well.”

The latest to take the floor.

Flooring manufacturers are continually improving their products so homeowners now have many more options in color, texture and affordability. “Flooring is the most dominant visual in a home because it is usually the widest surface,” says Lisa West of O’Briens Carpet One. “Changing the flooring can transform your home completely.”

Hardwood is trending toward darker stains and while hickory, cherry and walnut are most common, bamboo, Brazilian cherry and tiger wood are becoming more popular.

Texture is the trend in carpeting, West says. The combination of cut and loop creates patterns of wood grain, checks, animal print, leaves and many other styles. “I think these are here to stay,” she says. “There are just so many more options in carpeting today.”

Luxury vinyl is taking the industry by storm because of the oh-so realistic looks of wood, stone, marble and ceramic tile. “Vinyl is resilient and a middle of the road price point,” she says. “It’s easier to install and you can even use grout for an even more realistic look.”

What’s old is new again.

The buzzword in home decorating trends is “repurposing.” Vendors are recreating their best sellers in several different colors and homeowners are taking things they own and using them in different ways to freshen up a room, according to Rich Schell of Rich Designs Home. “Money just isn’t what it was and people are being more practical,” Schell says. “Just as in fashion, people are keeping good-quality basics in their home and punching up the look or color by accessorizing.”

Schell says that neutrals and warm tones are still trending in Colorado Springs but splashes of color are making their way onto the scene in various ways. “Wallpaper is back in force,” Schell says. “Not in every room but for use in a powder room or partially in a larger room to make a statement.”

It’s summertime and the living is easy.

The sense of style the exterior delivers is equally as important as the interior of the home. There needs to be a connection between the two in both architectural style and ease of living.

Bill Johannsen of C&C Sand and Stone says things are changing with stone treatment on the exterior. “People are looking for larger types of stone to create a more contemporary look,” says Johannsen. “We are seeing a more flat-surface stone with less texture making its way into our area. It creates a very tight-fitting linear look.”
For outdoor living, gas fire pits, pots and tables with glass rocks or beach pebbles provide a bit of warmth and a lot of ambiance on the patio. They range in size, height and price and come in a variety of colors and styles. 

Fitting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Just as practicality is making its way into home décor, the same is true for remodeling. Many are making the choice to forego the large family home and “downsize” into one-level living, but they are not willing to give up the luxuries of a gourmet kitchen, open floor plan and comfortable master bedroom/bathroom.

Bob McGrath of Bob McGrath Construction knows this all too well because he spends much of his time working with his clients and trying to fit the puzzle pieces together to create the home they want. “People want communicative living so they can be in the kitchen and have a conversation with family and guests or watch TV,” McGrath says. “And they want a 5-piece bath or a really nice 4-piece bath because that’s what