Trend news helps fuel dreams of upscaling livability in a remodel


Changes that matter most are those that enhance home life.

January is the month when design and remodeling trend stories seem to show up everywhere. If you’re planning on updating your home, you’ve probably read a bunch of them already. Chances are, you’ve seen write-ups about Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, or maybe reports on which looks are hot on Pinterest and Houzz. Forget about them!

From a remodeling perspective, the current color and fads do not matter. You’re making an investment for the long term. The only trends that count are the ones that will enhance the value of your home and your life. Look for those that add comfort, safety, durability, ease, convenience, style cohesion, energy and water savings. Most important, choose those that truly fit how you live, your home’s architecture and your neighborhood. Yes, style definitely does count when you’re remodeling, but it should blend so well with your house that it looks like it was “born there.”

Here, then, are some 2015 remodeling trends that are truly worth considering.

LIVABILITY
There are several trends to consider when making your home more livable. One is to plan for future needs with accessibility features. More homes are including ramps or elevators, on-grade entries and new bedroom suites for live-in caregivers or multigeneration living.

Fitness rooms are a fast-growing quality-of-life trend and point to an athlete-in-place — rather than aging-in-place — mindset for baby boomers and retirees. That is particularly relevant to San Diego, home to so many current and former military service members who prioritize fitness in their lives, even post-retirement.

Livability also comes from convenience. Add that to increasingly better style and solid warranties and you have engineered stone (e.g., Silestone, Zodiaq, Caesarstone), supplanting granite as the dominant countertop trend. Busy parents and those who love to entertain at home especially appreciate its hardness and stain resistance.

Better style and convenience are also playing a role in backsplash and shower design trends. Thin porcelain tile slabs are delivering low maintenance with reduced grout maintenance and no need for stone sealing.

Livability is playing a role in the popularity of contemporary cabinetry chock full of organizers, as well. Most San Diegans don’t really want to be doing all of the extra dusting that elaborate traditional styles demand. You’re too busy enjoying your fitness rooms and outdoor living spaces — another livability trend with great appeal for San Diego’s enviable climate.

In the outdoor remodeling sphere, commercial-grade appliances are the hottest trend, with pizza ovens, Argentine-style grills, salamanders and keg tappers bringing outdoor entertaining to a new level.

SUSTAINABILITY
LEDs are continually improving and showing up in recessed ceiling lights, appliance interiors, interior and under-cabinet lighting and decorative lighting fixtures. They are not a new trend, but they are an important one with current California building codes mandating sharp cuts in energy usage. The good news for homeowners is increased dimming capability and selection and decreased prices.

Hands-free faucets are another sustainability trend with an increasing array of price points and choices. Hands-free models not only reduce the amount of water you’ll use in the kitchen and bathroom, they also can reduce the spread of germs during cold and flu season.

Air-injected shower heads are a terrific water-reducing trend. When this performance-meets-conservation technology first started showing up a few years ago, the selection was minimal. Now, they’re available from numerous brands.

Other growing sustainability trends include solar panels, tankless water heaters and electrical car docking stations.

TECHNOLOGY
Technology is impacting our homes, as well as our lives. Our smartphones are almost always in hand, and finding spaces to charge, use and cradle them while we do other tasks has become part of many remodeling plans.

They have also made home automation a more affordable and popular option. The welcome familiarity we experience in starting our favorite apps is expanding to include opening and closing window coverings, turning alarms, entertainment and climate control systems on and off, even getting dinner cooking with connected appliances.

You can also stream your favorite tunes while standing under a streaming shower head or standing at your vanity. Each year brings new Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled remodeling products for our indoor and outdoor spaces.

FINAL TREND THOUGHTS
The trends shared in this article come from multiple sources, including practicing kitchen and bath design in San Diego for five years, visiting U.S. and international trade shows, and covering trends for print and online media.

Three very valuable association reports also contributed and reinforced direct observations. These came from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the American Institute of Architects and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, is a San Diego-based, NKBA-certified, independent kitchen and bath designer and the author of “New Kitchen Ideas That Work,” (Taunton Press). UT San Diego.

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