Thursday, 27 March 2014

Home Remodeling Trends in 2014

In home remodeling as with everything else in life, blindly following trends and fads is not a good idea. As a person and as a family, you are unique from everyone else and your tastes and needs are your own. No good will ever come from doing anything just because others are doing it. Having said that, there is no harm in being aware of what the current trends are. There may be something that does appeal to you and which you can adopt. Here are a few home remodeling trends that are big this year.
  • 21st Century Kitchens. Surveys among home remodeling contractors show that over 60% of them expect to do complete kitchen remodels this year, more than any other room in the house. And the majority of these remodels are expected to be of creating modern kitchens. Till recently, kitchen design was based on a traditional look and feel. Warm colors and lights, wrought iron hardware and a ‘cozy’ atmosphere were the major considerations. Today people are looking at minimalist designs with the maximum of built in appliances, simple countertops, cool colors like grays and white and contemporary hardware designs. The idea is to give the kitchen a sleek, clean and uncluttered look.
  • Brass Accents. Brass fittings have been around for a long time and have gone through various stages of popularity over the years. So what’s new in the trends of growing popularity this year? Brass has gotten a facelift and it is no longer the staid material. The highly polished brass lighting and hardware of the past is gone and the dull hammered look is in. This offers an interesting counter point to the modernist trend in home design reducing the amount of polishing and maintenance that is required.
  • Spa Bathrooms.Next to kitchens bathrooms are the big remodeling space for 2014. The traditional bathroom with the vintage look of claw foot bath tubs and wainscoting is no longer as popular as it used to be. Resort style bathrooms are now in. Jacuzzis, walk in showers fitted with multiple shower heads, heated floors and towel racks and other such features are what many people are looking for. Lighting is cool with colors like light blue, off-white and ash gray dominating. Glass tiles which add openness and light to the room is another very popular design feature.
  • Bright colors. Although the kitchen of 2014 is modern, minimalistic and uses simple cool colors, the colors of the rest of the home need not follow suit. In the last few years, colors such as yellow, orange and turquoise were popular for the other rooms of the home. Now vibrant shades like Rouge Red, Nectarine, Green Flash and Lemon Zest are the trends. Beyond these bright colors, homeowners are also looking at using vibrant wall accents to add a touch of flair and drama to places like dining and sitting rooms.
  • Eco Sensitivity. Green remodeling has been around for many years and this is one trend that is getting stronger with the passage of time. Contractors are constantly looking at greener remodeling options. Manufacturers are also looking increasing the energy efficiency of the equipment they produce for the home and energy efficient home appliances are now no longer an add-on to remodeling; it is a taken for granted as being a part of the whole concept.

These trends may not be for you and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s your home and you have every right to go your own way. But there is no harm in looking at these and other trends to see if there are things that do appeal to you and which you want to add to your home remodeling plans.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Home Remodeling Fads that Failed

Home remodeling is no exception to fads, styles and crazes. There is nothing wrong with picking up good remodeling ideas from wherever they can be found. But to incorporate something into your home remodeling plans just because everyone else is doing it is often a huge mistake. Often a fad has no foundation of quality, style or utility. It just seems to create itself and continue to generate followers who do not realize the mistake they are making until it’s too late. A look at some of the popular home remodeling fads of the past will show that what seemed like good ideas at the time turned out, in retrospect, to be big mistakes
  • The Open Plan Home of the 80s. The open plan (or Great Room) was based on the idea that there was no need for the kitchen to be cut off from living spaces. And what was the need to separate the den from the dining or living room? All rooms are equal and a home without these divisions is a more spacious and open one. Not so. What happens when cooking, TV watching, video gaming and online activities all go on in the same open space at the same time? Too much noise for everyone. And how do you efficiently heat or cool such large spaces – especially if large parts of it are unoccupied?
  • The Super Kitchen. The cramped kitchens common in mid-20th century houses and the popularity of celebrity chefs in the 1990s led to the huge kitchen craze. Sure, bigger is better, but does the average family need a kitchen large enough to feed a restaurant? And huge kitchen need huge expensive appliances to avoid making things seem out of proportion. Is it better to have to walk across a huge room to get from the stove to the fridge, instead of being able to quickly pivot from one to the other? Let’s not even look at how much space is lost to the rest of the house to accommodate the Super Kitchen.
  • The Massive Garage. The post war boom of the 1950s caused the creation of the multi-car family and 3 car garages where thought to be essential. Yes, the valuable vehicles were protected from the elements, but the huge garages were often an architectural eyesore and looked to be the center point of the house relegating the living areas to the background. No matter what you do, a big garage door is not going to look attractive. So what about 3 of them? Once again, what about the sacrifice of space for the living area? Won’t a one or two car garage and a parking bay (if required) be enough?
  • Built-in Lighting. Homes built in the first part of the last century never had enough fixed lighting. After World War II, it was thought that recessed lighting was the best way to illuminate the interior. But do all the rooms need to be brightly lit? Who wants a bedroom so bright you have to wear shades? And does a pockmarked ceiling add to the ambience? Track lighting was also a fad, but they gave a home a department store like look and the lights were often a danger to anyone over 6 feet in height.

These style concepts were the rage in their time, but soon became passé and home owners had to live in uncomfortable and unappealing homes until they had saved enough money to get another remodel done, this time without following fads. If you are planning to remodel you home, consider styles and trends, but then think about comfort, utility and maintenance before making any decisions.