Call Now! 206.557.6400
email phone

The Blog

Blog Category - Interior Design

Bathroom Vanity Design Trends for 2018

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: February 8, 2018

Are you thinking about updating your bathroom? The new year brings new design trends for every room in your home, from the colors to the fixtures to the style. Bathroom vanity design trends for 2018 can show you how to make a big difference here with the focal point of the room.

What will we see more of this year?

Quartz is replacing granite countertops. Granite has dominated the countertop industry for most of this century. It’s natural, durable, and available in so many colors and patterns that you can easily find one to match your taste. Quartz is an engineered stone, a combination of about 95 percent ground quartz stone and 5 percent polymer resin. Quartz looks and feels like stone, but, because it’s manufactured, you can order the pattern and color and get the consistency you want. Unlike granite, quartz doesn’t need to be resealed. Finally, quartz isn’t porous like granite, so bacteria isn’t absorbed, an important factor in a bathroom countertop!

Brass is back in the bathroom. Polished brass has returned from its exile. Designers are trending toward warmer metals, like brass, bronze, and copper. Even rose gold is making a play for bathroom presence. With trends toward richer colors in the bathroom—like navy blue and plum—the warmer hues of other metals will gain prominence in plumbing fixtures.

Sinks are taking a cue from nature. Homeowners have shifted toward natural looks throughout the home, and the bathroom is reflecting this preference. Stone sinks are popular choices, using granite, marble, and onyx that take advantage of the one-of-a-kind patterns created by nature. Wooden basins—like oak, cedar, teak, and bamboo (which is a grass but largely considered wood)—share the same natural beauty as stone.

The all-white bathroom is fading to black. Vanities are going to the dark side with designers moving away from light cabinetry in the bathroom, in favor of matte black and darker stains, like deep chestnut and espresso. The richness of these deeper hues creates a completely different look that transforms the room.

Bathroom storage gets smarter. Vanities are no longer about vanity. They have beauty, of course, but you should expect more. Manufacturers have recognized the way we use bathrooms and vanities today. Drawer organizers present a custom storage solution, along with a tall cabinet that separates the dual sinks. New vanities are incorporating electrical outlets inside drawers. Keep your hair dryer plugged in yet out of sight.

Sinks will have a splash of color. If you love color, you can get more of it in your bathroom. New ceramic and metal sinks reflect the trend toward vibrant statements, like orange and turquoise.

Every year brings more options to customize your home to the place and space you want it to be. Are you ready to make some changes?

Decorating Tips for Your Open Concept Design

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: January 25, 2018

An open concept is a desirable floor plan for today’s homeowners. Having rooms without walls enhances the spaciousness, but it also presents a design challenge. With less definition provided by walls and doorways, how do you create your spaces within this open space?

These decorating tips for your open concept designs can guide you in the right direction.

Consider the flow. The colors you choose and the placement of your furnishings must flow seamlessly throughout your family room, dining room, and kitchen. Look at the natural flow of movement from one space to the next, like the kitchen to the dining area. Do you need a small workspace adjacent to the kitchen or would it work better as part of your family room? How much space do you need to comfortably move around the furniture, like the dining table, kitchen island, and family room’s seating?

Use color consistently. Decide on one color palette to pull it all together. Start with your foyer, which is the entry to this open floor plan. Expand that color spectrum by incorporating a few shades of your chosen colors.

Plan the lighting. The lighting design for your open floor plan must take into account the wide array of uses in this space. Task lighting will be critical in the kitchen and any other work areas. Be sure to incorporate dimmers on every wall switch to give you control of the room’s overall ambience.

Define task areas. You don’t need walls to create rooms. Use your furniture and decorative accents to establish smaller purposeful spaces within the open floor plan. Make a reading nook by setting a comfortable chair, ottoman and occasional table near a window, with its own area rug. Set up a small workstation for managing bills, sorting mail, or doing homework by placing a small desk or console table near the breakfast nook. Be sure you have good lighting here. You can expand the workspace by adding a bookcase or wall-mounted organizer.

Use area rugs. Define nooks and gathering spaces with area rugs that complement one another with a consistent blend of colors and styles. They don’t have to match, but avoid drastically different designs, like bold contemporary with traditional.

Don’t “arrest” the room. Placing your furniture up against the wall leaves a tremendous gap in an open floor plan. Since you don’t have walls, add boundaries by using larger furnishings, like bookcases and sofas. Break up your seating by building a large section (maybe near the television) and a smaller, more intimate conversation space.

Complement with curves. If your open concept features angular lines, soften them with rounder shapes, like an oval or round dining table, rug, or occasional tables.

An open floor plan presents a creative challenge for decorating, but also gives you plenty of room to create the space that perfectly fits your lifestyle.

2018 Color Trends for Your Home

Categories: Home Design Trends, Interior Design | Posted: January 11, 2018

The new year is here, and it’s bringing a new look in home color trends. Look for colors that boost your spirit with palettes of vibrant color that might remind you of opening that box of 128 crayons.

In 2017, Pantone Color Institute declared “Greenery” as its Color of the Year. The invigorating color aligns with the desire to revitalize ourselves. This year, Pantone is focusing its attention on palettes of colors that reflect different types of energies. Many of these home color combinations feature vibrant shades, which is the direction that will be trending in 2018. “Playful”, for example, blends bright yellow and lime green. “Verdure” takes its cue from nature, with colors like Celery and berry-infused purples.

There’s still room for people who prefer their neutral colors for home décor. But you might find that neutrals are taking on a bit more commitment to color and metallic accents—currently being called “the new neutrals”.

Sherwin Williams has named “Oceanside”—a bold teal shade that the paint company describes as “deep and moody”. Oceanside blends well with the current “mermaids” obsession, but also presents a richness, particularly when paired with a bright white.

House Beautiful’s editor-in-chief Sophie Donelson describes this hue as “a cocoon color”.

“I love a color that’s also a state of mind — that’s what Oceanside feels like to me,” Donelson explains. “We often see similar hues chosen for libraries and studies, because its depth makes it comforting, but also bold and adventurous. It’s like watching a Nature channel deep-sea exploration from the comfort of your sofa!”

Benjamin Moore continues the shift toward bold color by announcing “Caliente” as its 2018 Color of the Year. The vibrant red reflects the royalty of a red-carpet event, “the assured backdrop for a book-lined library, a powerful first impression on a glossy front door The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality,” says Ellen O’Neill of Benjamin Moore & Co.

Behr has jumped into home color trends and announced its first-ever color of the year. “In the Moment” is a soft shade of blue-green that the paint company describes as evoking “a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our always-on lives.”

Behr also presents 19 more color trends that range from the neutral “Wabi-Sabi” and “Soft Focus” to the bold “Spirit Warrior” and “Wide Sky” and the deep “Constellation Blue” and “Nocturne Shade”.

What will you do with your home décor in 2018? Do these trends in home colors inspire you?

Garage organization: De-cluttering and storage tips

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: November 9, 2017

The garage is probably one of the most preferred stash places in your home. The attic is great, but it can be difficult to access. The basement is good, if you have one, but you might worry about dampness. Or you have a finished basement that’s already full.

Rather than continue to pack and stack boxes and bury items so deep that they are essentially lost, spend some time reorganizing your garage. Take back the space! Here are some de-cluttering and storage tips for garage organization.

  • Start with a blank canvas. Remove all the clutter from the garage. Otherwise, you will be shifting things around, not truly organizing them. Sort things out as you go. Set up bins for “Discard”, “Donate”, and “Keep”. Eliminate all items that really aren’t worthy of valuable space (like your t-shirt collection from the 80s). Will you ever repair that broken thingamajig? Be honest with yourself. If these things are buried in your garage, are they worth keeping? Once the garage is empty, sweep and clean the floor. An empty garage is perfect for cleaning the various stains and repairing cracks. You might even consider painting the floor for a really fresh start.
  • Plan the storage zones. Think about the uses of your garage: tools, car care supplies, seasonal décor and clothing, sports gear, lawn and garden care, and paint/home repair, to name a few. You probably also need an area for your trash and recycling. Once you determine the storage zones, choose the most suitable place for each, based on the frequency of use. Label each area so you know where everything will go, and you can visibly see the flow from zone to zone.
  • Design the storage spaces. Your garage offers many options for creating storage zones. In addition to the walls, you have the overhead area where you can attach hooks and shelves. You can install cabinets and pegboards. Explore the local home centers to get ideas for smart storage systems. Invest in a lockable cabinet to store potentially hazardous items (chemicals, sharp tools).
  • Respect the new and improved space. Place the items from your “Keep” stash in the designated storage zones. Give all household members a tour of the new and improved garage and remind them that your garage storage system must be maintained.

Look at your calendar and schedule a weekend for garage organization. Use the reward of not just having a perfectly organized garage but also finding the treasures that have been long lost in the clutter!

Look ahead at kitchen cabinetry trends for 2018

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: October 26, 2017

One of the first things people notice when they walk into your kitchen are the cabinets. Your choice is a major factor in both the aesthetics and the function of this all-important room. Before you decide on the kitchen cabinets for your new home or renovation, consider some of the style shifts happening. Here’s a look ahead at kitchen cabinetry trends for 2018.

You can never go wrong with white or light. White, off-white, and light gray continue to dominate kitchen cabinet colors. The brightness these neutral tones bring to your kitchen is unbeatable, and they work with just about any color you want in the room.

Mix and match. You don’t have to choose just one color for your cabinets. Kitchen designers are leaning toward one color for the base and another for the wall, or a complementary color for the island.

Put more behind the doors. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) cabinets are more efficient than their ancestors were. Pull-out drawers and shelves enable more efficient usage. A narrow, vertical cabinet door can hide a sliding spice rack or pull-out holder for trays, cookie sheets, and racks. Deep drawers provide more convenient access to your dishes.

Raise your cabinet standards. You know that gap between the top of your cabinets and the kitchen ceiling where you either display things or stash them? Cabinetry is now reaching to the ceiling, a design trend that gives the perception of a bigger room.

Show-offs. Glass doors on some of your upper cabinets allow you to proudly display your most eye-catching pieces, like crystal, pottery, dishware, and kitchen collectibles.

I know the fridge is here somewhere. If you find the front of your refrigerator or microwave a bit disruptive, you’ll appreciate the trend toward masking them with a door that matches your kitchen cabinets.

Mix in a few shelves. Open, “floating” shelves in a contrasting material—like rustic wood with white cabinetry—and a few less cabinets add an airy feeling to the kitchen.

Unjunk your junk drawers. The kitchen drawers are now featuring dividers and even multiple tiers to make organization easier than ever. Whether you’re separating silverware or the mounds of miscellany, these new and improved kitchen drawers are the clutterbug’s new best friend.

Park your appliance in a cabinet garage. Homeowners want a tidier look to their kitchen, so a place to store your small appliances (toaster, coffee maker, mixer, juicer) out of sight, but not out of reach, is essential.

Accessorize. Kitchen cabinets are being finished with more accents that resemble fine furniture. Decorative corbels, carved feet, moldings, and arches are easy ways to embellish your kitchen’s style.

You spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Why not make it as stylish as every other room in your home?

Tips for choosing the right wall colors for your home

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: October 12, 2017

For some people, changing colors in a room is like changing your hairstyle. It’s nice to try something different—and it’s easy enough to change back if you don’t like the result. For others, the prospect of switching is a scary proposition.

Painting a room is one of the most affordable ways to make a big change in your home. The only hard part can be the color choice. Looking at the array of paint chips in the store can be overwhelming. Before you head there, narrow down your choices.

Here are some tips for choosing the right wall colors for your home.

Look at your wardrobe. What colors do you like to wear? That’s a big clue to your color preferences. If you’re drawn to neutral colors, you’re comfortable with those soft shades, making this palette a smart choice for your interior walls. If your penchant for lime green or sunshine orange feels too daring for your walls, tone it down a bit.

Inspect your photos, artwork, and other accents. What colors prevail? You chose these decorative pieces for the message they communicate, but was color a factor as well?

Pull the paint color from a print. You might have a favorite pillow, upholstered chair, or even table linens. Zoom in on the shades that might work well on your wall. Take the fabric to the paint store and ask them to match it.

Use a color wheel. See how colors relate to each other. A color wheel gives insight into the hues that work harmoniously together. You might like a monochromatic color scheme, with variations of a particular color (lightness and saturation). A complementary color scheme uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, usually a warm and a cool one (yellow and blue, for example). An analogous color scheme combines colors that are next to each other, like blue and green, or orange and red, and varying shades of those colors. There are several other options for color schemes, but this will get you started. Once you choose the color scheme, you build your palette of specific colors.

Check out color trends. Home décor colors are like fashion. They change with the seasons and the years. Greenery was the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. The foliage-inspired shade is like a springtime refresh. Home décor watchers are expecting 2018 interior color palettes to move from pastels to more intense hues. With palettes named “Far-fetched”, ”Resourceful”, and “Resourceful”, you might find one to suit your taste.

Think holistically. Your house is a sum of its parts, which includes your wall colors. Make sure you have smooth flow from room to room. This is where organizing a whole-house color palette will help.

Home Staging 101

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: September 6, 2016

When you begin the process of selling your home, there is one part that cannot be overlooked and that is home staging. Did you know that over 95% of “Buyers Agents” say that home staging has some effect on the buyer’s opinion of the home?

Open Houses are the make-or-break moment for selling your house on time.With good staging, buyers will recognize how your home could be their new home. But, bad staging could keep your house languishing on the market for some time.

Staging your home doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or time, but by focusing on a few key rooms and understanding a few factors that potential buyers look for can take your house from a dud to a stud. Home staging highlights your home’s strengths and down plays (to some extent) its weaknesses.

Here are a few home staging 101 tips and tricks that will help make your open house successful.

Home Staging 101 Infographic

Feng Shui for American Homes

Categories: Interior Design | Posted: April 18, 2016

Do you ever enter a room and just feel “off”? It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you perceive that something isn’t aligned well. Some rooms can inexplicably make you feel anxious, uneasy, or even angry, while others do the exact opposite. They instantly put you at ease, calm you, and nourish your energy.

Room design is an artform that’s informed by the ancient tradition of Feng Shui. While it was developed over the years for use in Eastern homes, its principals can also be applied to American homes as well. With these insights, you’ll be able to make your home relaxed yet energizing, while setting yourself up for prosperity.

Ensure that there is no line-of-sight from the front door to the back door.

If you can see out the back door from the front door, that means the chi in your house is flowing straight out of your home. Instead, make sure the chi has an opportunity to remain in the home.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Line of SightKeep the path to your front door clean.

If the immediate path from your front door is obstructed by furniture, clutter, or trash, then incoming chi could be slowed down or even stopped. To prevent this from happening, make sure the path from your front door into your home is clear of any potential interference.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Path to Front Door

Keep your house clear of clutter.

As the chi enters your home, you want it to remain fresh and not become stagnant. Keeping your house free of unnecessary clutter will help keep your home light and open.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Keep Clean Clutter

Maximize natural light, with open windows and mirrors.

Natural light is essential in bringing in positive energy into your home. With ample light and plenty of mirrors, your home can be a warm, welcoming, energetic place to be.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Maximize Natural Light

Make sure the stove is not across from the sink.

The stove is a source of the fire element. Placing it across from the sink all but ensures the fire energy will be drained from your home almost immediately.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Stove Sink

Don’t point the stairway toward the front door.

As the chi flows into your home from the front door, it needs to have the chance to remain on the ground floor. If your stairway points toward the front door, all of the chi will flow upward, to your upstairs rooms.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Stairway Front Door

Ensure your home contains a proportional amount of the five elements: Earth, Wood, Fire, Water, and Metal.

Striking a balance in feng shui is essential. If your home has a sufficient amount of each element, it will remain in harmony.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Proportional Elements

Remove negative symbolism.

While certain decorations or wall art may appear harmless at first glance, they can foster a negative energy in your home. Remove all mounted weapons, scenes of war, and other negative outcomes to ensure your home fosters a positive energy.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Negative Symbolism

 

What do Millennials want in a new home?

Categories: Interior Design | Posted: January 14, 2016

Millennial trends are reshaping the new home industry

The sheer size of the Baby Boomer generation enabled the 78 million members to dominate the consumer marketplace for generations. Now, 87 Millennials (also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers)—born between 1980 and 2000—are taking over. With a large number now in the homebuying age range, homebuilders are taking a close look at this unique demographic segment, which happens to view their “dream home” in a very different way from their parents and grandparents.

For one thing, they’re more cautious. They’ve seen older family members and friends lose big time in the real estate market. Many of them are comfortable renting, or moving back in with their parents for an undefined period of time, to the chagrin of mom and dad.

So, they don’t seem to be in a rush, but a recent Redfin Research Center survey showed that, of the 2,000 Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 who responded, 92 percent who do not currently own a home plan to buy one in the near future.

What do Millennials want in a new home? Here are some important trends:

They aren’t seeking their “location, location, location” in suburbia. Millennials love their independence. They’ve grown up with the technology that keeps them wirelessly connected with their vast world, so they’re not accustomed to restraints. This includes vehicles. Millennials are often attracted to urban locales, within walking distance of or public transport to the services they need.

Size matters, as long as it’s small. Unlike Baby Boomers who enjoyed spreading out, Millennials look for less space and more flexibility. They want functional space that maximizes every square foot, and open floor plans. A formal dining or living room has far less appeal than an open space, like a great room or media room. A kitchen island should serve as both a prep and conversational/eating area.

Green is their favorite color. Expect your Millennial homebuyers to ask about the sustainability of your building materials and practices. They are committed to eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes—with ENERGY STAR appliances, programmable lighting and thermostats, and other high-tech, low-carbon-footprint amenities. Not only can they spell “LEED”, but they want this building certification.

Carefree is preferred. No one really likes unnecessary effort, but Millennials zoom in on low-maintenance features. Features like easy-care flooring and a gas fireplace give them more freedom without compromise. They also don’t concern themselves with large outdoor spaces, as long as they have room for play, cooking, and entertaining.

They know they get dirty. While a mudroom has been an afterthought in the past, Millennials have revived this functional space for organizing clutter. It’s a small space, but a big plus to these homebuyers.

Showers and closets can never be too large. Your Gen Y/Millennial/Echo Boomer homebuyer wants their living space to work intelligently. When it comes to the bathroom shower and storage, that means, go big. Incorporate plenty of storage space and walk-in closets. Make the shower larger, even eliminating the tub altogether.

The Millennial generation sees their home as a life comfort. It’s not a status symbol, nor do they view it with the same investment potential as their elders. By understanding the mindset of this growing number of new homebuyers, you can better guide them toward the right home.

Kitchen trends that are here to stay

Categories: Interior Design | Posted: December 31, 2015

Home design is like any other type of design. It follows shifts in ideas, preferences, and innovation. The kitchen is perhaps the most important room in the home—certainly the one with the most traffic—so this space has seen many changes over the decades.

Of course, it will continue to evolve with new technology, but here are some kitchen design trends that are here to stay (or seem to be!).

Bring down the walls…

Decades ago, the kitchen was purely functional. Food was stored and prepared here. Today’s homeowners see the kitchen as the hub of the home, the gathering place. The appeal of open floor plans includes the kitchen. The walls are coming down. No more isolating that room in the back of the house. The kitchen flows seamlessly in the family living areas, so that there is no division between the task of food prep and the activity beyond the kitchen’s borders.

…And put up an island

There’s nothing more exciting to a cook than more prep space. The kitchen island adds extra space for food prep, cooking, storage, and even serving. The island concept also enhances the traffic flow in the kitchen by creating a workspace in the center. No matter what style you prefer—country, contemporary, traditional, rustic—an island fits nicely into the kitchen design

More drawers than doors

The lower kitchen cabinets are giving up space to drawers. It’s much easier to pull open a drawer than to bend down and reach into a cabinet. Kitchen drawers can be designed in sizes to fit specific functions—deeper to store pots and pans, a narrow vertical pull-out for spices. Some drawers are hiding behind cabinet doors, still utilizing the ease of pulling out instead of reaching in to find what you need.

Shades of green

Today’s homeowners want their homes to be kind to the environment. From reclaimed wood and sustainable materials (e.g., cork, bamboo) to energy-efficient appliances, plumbing, and lighting, the eco-friendly kitchen is a definite “must have”.

Preferences in countertops, flooring, and wall coverings may change. Lighting styles will continue to evolve. Appliances will get more and more technical. But you can count on these kitchen trends to stay.