The Importance of Home: What 2020 has Helped us Discover in Home Design

Reflecting on all that we have faced with the beginning of a new decade, a pandemic, a presidential election, social unrest, and natural disasters, one thing keeps coming into focus: the importance of home. 2020 indeed has had its share of challenges, but because of those challenges, we have all had the opportunity to reprioritize and discover what is truly essential in our lives.  When the pandemic hit and we all stayed home, our thoughts focused very quickly to what the word ‘home’ meant to each of us personally.

Home has taken on new importance as it literally has become our place of refuge, safety, and peace, and with this focus has come new trends in home design.  As our homes quickly became our everything, it has also become very important to have more defined spaces for family gathering, personal renewal, work, and entertaining. Looking into 2021,  here are some of the home design trends that we are seeing as a result of living through 2020.

Kitchen:

Homes are really all about the kitchen.  It is where life centers.  A custom kitchen, designed to cater to the way you cook, eat, and gather, will add value to your home and your life.  Because the kitchen has become the hub of social activity even more, we’ve seen a continued trend in open floorplan kitchen renovations, which include many amenities such as islands, multiple sinks, larger refrigerators, and other customized appliances.  Beautiful countertops, fabulous hardware, and an exquisite lighting plan are also priorities in the kitchen. With a new warmth and comfort associated with these trends, the kitchen becomes a pseudo second family room.

Kitchen Favorite:  Natural stone countertops and walls create a beautiful focal point.  Quartzite is a fabulous option for natural materials. There are also some amazing porcelains on the market that are not only beautiful but are a ‘work horse.’  I, personally, am not a fan of marble in the kitchen. I know there is a lot of debate on this, and yes, marble is absolutely gorgeous and yes, it will patina over time, but typically, a LONG time. There is a big maintenance issue and if your kitchen is just for ‘show’, then go for it. But if you really live in your kitchen, I would suggest other products that perform much better and are easier to live with.

Bathroom:

With the stress and chaos that we all live with, a resurgence of creating a space to renew and relax is essential for self-care.  Bathrooms are an interesting space to design because they are so private.  This allows for a lot of creativity in the aesthetics.  A well-planned bathroom, catered to the way each client personally finds ways to renew and refresh, can serve as a spa-like retreat.  Statement slabs in the shower, mixed with different tiles and textures and plumbing finishes, can bring an elegance that creates a peaceful haven to start and end your day.

Bathroom Favorite:  Having a beautiful, comfortable bathtub available creates space for effortless relaxation that is not replicated by any other home amenity.

Home Office:

As the majority of the workforce moved home this spring, spaces that had served other purposes, were quickly transformed into home offices.  We are seeing a trend now to design these work from home spaces to be organized, functional, and also fun, as you add personality to the space you spend so much time in.  2020 has given us all the gift of time at home to analyze your life, goals, and what you are ultimately wanting for your own personal space. Office spaces tend to be a catch-all and sometimes chaotic.  Letting go of “things” and holding onto just a few statement pieces that you love can give you a sense of purpose and freedom as your home meets every need you have. Simplify your life and your home. You will be happier for it.

Home Office Favorite: Layered lighting is functional and fabulous.  Lighting is so important in an office space.  Window and lighting placement make a huge difference in the look, feel, and usability of a space.  Including a designer as early as possible in the construction or renovation planning process is highly recommended, as the details decided in the earliest phases of design determine the final aesthetic and functional feel of a space.

Home Bar Area:

When remodeling, more homeowners are wanting to incorporate a bar area into their home. With the trend of entertaining at home becoming more commonplace, along with the recent “stay at home” mandates around the globe, specialty spaces in the home set aside for entertaining have been utilized more than ever. Whether that is a wine storage space, a bar or beverage serving area, or a full-on lounge, the typical homeowner is looking to have that special place in their home to “belly up to the bar!”

Interior designers love this trend in home design because it offers an opportunity to utilize significant spaces for practical needs, while also offering the chance to create an unexpected and exciting focal point. A beverage serving area can add beauty and function to your home and can be utilized not only for intimate personal or family time but for entertaining clients or friends.

Bar Area Favorite: Creative storage options can add visual interest to the space.  A flashy or exotic backsplash is usually a good place to start. Shelves that hold liquor or beautiful wine racks add to the decor, while below the counter cabinets can hide various bar tools and appliances to keep the area uncluttered. Storing glasses is best when in a closed cabinet and even better if that door has glass and lighting on the inside for drama.

Looking ahead:  Even as we hope life will soon return to ‘normal,’ we can be grateful for what we have gained this year in wisdom as we have refocused our priorities.  Here is to looking forward to 2021, and to holding on to this new-found focus, hoping it will remain as we take more time to savor every aspect of life at home.

Home Bar Design: Adding An At-Home Beverage Center

Photo Description: This pass-through working bar is an artistic and dramatic focal point

 

By Stephanie Vaughan, Eklektik Interiors Designer

When remodeling, more homeowners are wanting to incorporate a bar area into their home. With the trend of entertaining at home becoming more commonplace, along with the recent “stay at home” mandates around the globe, specialty spaces in the home set aside for entertaining have been utilized more than ever. Whether that is a wine storage space, a bar or beverage serving area, or a full-on lounge, the typical homeowner is looking to have that special place in their home to “belly up to the bar!”

Interior designers love this trend in home design because it offers an opportunity to utilize significant spaces for practical needs, while also offering the chance to create an unexpected and exciting focal point. A beverage serving area can add beauty and function to your home and can be utilized not only for intimate personal or family time but for entertaining clients or friends.

What this space looks like is different for every homeowner, but incorporating a designer’s eye and input on different areas in your home that could be transformed into a bar space or wine storage can save you a lot of time and money and give you a working plan to move forward. Most homes have hidden nooks, which often go unnoticed by the homeowner, that would make perfect points of interest. An empty wall in a dining room, a cabinet section in your kitchen, or the space under your stairs can become something new and exciting like a wine display or full-service bar.

Asking the right questions before you begin a renovation project will ensure that your space is designed according to your needs and lifestyle. Here are a few questions to ask to begin the design process. How do I want to use this space and how can this add to my home’s function? Think about how you are going to use it and how to get the best bang for the buck. If you don’t really drink wine, why spend money and space on wine storage. Make it a liquor bar instead. If you don’t drink liquor, then concentrate on wine and all the bells and whistles you can fit into the space. Also consider, if I make this a focal point, who will see it the most? Will it be visible enough to really create a visually interesting space? For instance, if it’s going inside the pantry it should be designed for utility, but if it’s going in the living area or along an entry wall, it definitely should make a statement.

Important elements to consider in your design that add to the function but also the fabulous:

• COUNTERTOPS: Selecting durable countertops for preparing glasses of your favorite elixir, such as quartz or porcelain, add beauty and won’t stain from citrus acids or wine spills.

• LIGHTING: Lighting is very important and can create drama and effect in your new focal point.

• LAYOUT and STORAGE: A flashy or exotic backsplash is usually a good place to start in adding some interest. Storage can be hidden or used as display to add to the feel of the space. Shelves that hold liquor or beautiful wine racks add to the decor, while below the counter cabinets can hide various bar tools and appliances to keep the area uncluttered. Storing glasses is best when in a closed cabinet and even better if that door has glass and lighting on the inside for drama.

• APPLIANCES: A wine chiller with dual temp settings that will keep your reds at the perfect 65 degrees and your whites at 45-50. Depending on the space available, this could be under the counter or a tall unit for maximum storage. An ice maker and a sink are great additions if space and budget allow. You may also consider a drawer dishwasher that is great for washing glasses. One of the newest appliances that is a wine enthusiast ‘must-have’ is a wine saver/dispenser. It holds 4-6 bottles of open wine, keeping it fresh for days after opening and dispenses it into your glass when you push the button.

Originally published in the Houston Chronicle on July 4, 2020  https://www.chron.com/news/article/GHBA-Remodelers-Council-Home-bar-design-15382216.php