What’s Driving Home Feature Designs in 2016?

Builders were surveyed at the recent National Association of Home Builders convention last month. The results can be interpreted in various ways depending on your geographic location and size of market, along with consideration of consumer preferences, product developments, and technological changes. The latest data reveal that homes are larger and contain more bedrooms and bathrooms than ever before. With the larger homes come some elaborate features.

1. Intimate Outdoor Spaces

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Outdoor spaces have become almost as important as the interior of the home, as owners look for a relaxing area where they can socialize and destress. Sometimes, an outdoor space can even have as much living space as the indoor space can. People value being outside and some home owners are building slightly smaller homes because they are making outdoor space much more prominent. This emerging trend often includes a full operating kitchen, cabinets, and an island with plenty of seating.

2. Copper Bathtubs

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Freestanding bathtubs, especially copper bathtubs, add a twist to bathroom decor for everything from rustic to traditional designs. Because of copper’s natural composition, cleaning is easy. Copper sinks and copper tubs will patina with time and normal use, creating a much sought-after living finish.

3. Water Troughs in Countertops

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Outdoor counter tops and tables will see a revamp this year to include open, trough-like water paths that often lead to a fire pit or some sort of waterfall off the edge. Water features are great for relaxing and listening to the soothing sound of water splashing. Materials can be just about anything normally used, like granite or concrete.

4. Kitchen Features with Waterfall Island and Walk-In Pantry

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Although this trend isn’t new to the design world, waterfall islands seem to be resurging. Homebuyers continue to show demand for these kitchen additions, which can be made of granite, marble or wood. They are long, sweeping expanses and waterfalls maximize the use of stone to allow for full appreciation of its complexity or simple elegance from multiple vantage points.

Beautiful walk-in pantries have also become a requested feature for new homes. Every design can have a different organizational feature, like stacked floating wrap-around shelves to fill with kitchen accessories, a collection of spices, electrical outlets for appliances, and storage for your favorite cookbooks.

5. Bringing Outdoors-In

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New homes have shifted away from a distinct separation between indoor and outdoor spaces, and many of them now feature a more fluid and undefined separation between the two areas. These new designs often include floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens, stackable doors and new floor materials that contribute to a sense of converging the outdoors with the indoors. Folding glass walls include accordion-style doors that fold to the left, right, or split to fold in two directions (bi-fold applications) from middle panels to create a unique opening. These walls can be used for either residential or commercial applications, and in interior or exterior spaces.

6. Board and Batten Inside and Out

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Although board and batten siding was once restricted to the exterior of a home, the material is now seeing an emergence in interior design as well. It’s a very nice type of textural material. Today, board and batten siding has regained popularity, especially with the rise of modern rustic architecture styles. Designers are starting to attempt to make things rustic yet contemporary.

7. Stairways Moving to the Front

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Staircases are going to have a more prominent design feature this year. Glass is very popular in transitional and contemporary styles, as detailed tile designs and iron posts will remain a standard in more Mediterranean-style homes. Staircases are moving closer to the front of a home like they used to be to offer a unique design feature that can also be a focal point.

8. Modern Industrial Accents

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This design element is often included with sleek furniture and lighting. Structural elements are turned into showpieces, achieving a look that seems unfinished yet cohesive and chic. Industrial design also takes open concept living to the next level. The furniture and accessories define most spaces and the purpose they serve, so a lot of thought goes into every little detail.

While industrial interior design ideas tend to be minimalist, there is a lot of room for creating drama by contrasting high-gloss metal finishes with rustic or vintage cabinets, countertops and furniture. Form and function are both equally important considerations. If done right, modern industrial accents are very effective in residential construction. It has been around for a while in commercial projects. 

9. Rustic and Modern Barn Doors

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Barn doors have become increasingly popular in all rooms of the home, including kitchens, closets and bedrooms, but this is not your grandma’s barn door. This is something that’s really cool. They really are a unique feature in a house. They allow you to open a room you might want to close off every now and then, and they can be used in elegant rustic architecture designs, as well. Barn doors are also very practical and functional. Even though many people want to make their home more contemporary, barn doors can add an eclectic feel by throwing in a rustic element.

10. Low-Impact Design

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Award-winning designs often feature green and sustainable elements that are friendly with their surrounding environment. Homebuyers will continue to request designs that incorporate native species in landscaping, permeable pavement and other green features, according to the presenters.

“They really tied the material and the walls to the landscaping,” Digrado said. “It fits within the landscape and blends in well with the water features. It’s their attempt to tie architecture in with the landscaping. It involves using reusable materials and really being conscious of the land.”

11. Mid-Century Modern Detailing

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Home designs, especially in Nevada and California, are starting to incorporate mid-century modern details again, according to the presenters.

Digrado said, “It’s a trend in production housing that is more contemporary. It hasn’t worked its way into production homes until now. Mid-century detailing is very unusual. It needs to be done right.”

Smith added, “What’s old is new and what’s new is old. What we’re seeing is maybe a contemporary version of a traditional style.”

12. White Rooms with Repurposed Wood Accents

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Residential designers should keep an eye on the trend of stark white interiors with accents of exotic or repurposed wood in ceilings, flooring and cabinetry, the judges said.

“Everyone thinks of contemporary as very cold and hard, but just the introduction of wood to the white really warms it up a lot. It gives a nice contrast and warms the room up,” Digrado said

Some final thoughts that were revealed in the annual NAHB convention survey are; builders will continue to recommend energy conservation items to their custom home clients like Low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances and windows and a programmable thermostat.  Insulation greater than required by code and a multi-zone HVAC system were rated moderately high.

For more home building tips, trends and news, visit our blog.

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