reprinted from Ojai Monthly magazine - January 2015
2015 Resolutions for Timeless Design & Remodeling
New Year Resolutions: To Follow Trends or Stay the Course?
by Cynthia Louise G.
If your New Year’s resolution is to rip out that hideous old carpet, replace all your dated appliances, and have that dream kitchen that is finally truly functional, you're not alone. Remodeling activity across the nation is at an all-time high, with no real signs of slowing in 2015. Many homeowners have waited for years and say they can no longer stand their old spaces.
With all this pent up demand, how can you avoid the tendency to think and buy for immediate or short-term reward rather than long-term benefit? When planning your remodel, how can you integrate fresh, efficient design trends without choosing another ugly or wasteful consumer fad or increasing your carbon footprint unnecessarily?
“Marsala”, this year’s Pantone Color Institute color of the year, is an example of a trend that could be a mistake to follow. Seductive marketing says “Marsala” will enrich our mind, body, and soul. While this color may have a place in fashion, or even gardening, it is not getting a good reception in the home design world, with many already finding it too boring or dated.
The more important consumer trends for 2015 focus on quality and durability rather than quantity and growth, with eco-conscious choices becoming integral in consumer’s lifestyles. To minimize the risk of falling for a regrettable fad, consider working with an interior designer who can help you navigate trends and select enduring finishes, materials, and layout options that have universal appeal and real staying power for years to come. When evaluating changes to make in 2015, consider the following choices for timeless appeal and a sound investment.
Minimal Changes first
Consider simple solutions such as refinishing wood floors, repositioning furniture, or adding a new coat of zero VOC paint in a classic color. Always buy a small sample of the paint to test out before you invest in a color. Try switching accessories to different rooms in new combinations, or trading with a friend. If needed, try a new crisp, white, organic cotton or linen duvet.
Demand for universal design, (designing for accessibility without sacrificing visual appeal and style), will continue to grow. By 2030, there will be 72 million Americans over the age of 65, the majority of who wish to live in their homes independently. Important to include in 2015 remodels will be open floor plans, (also more inviting for entertaining), roll-in showers, built-in shower benches, wider doorways, and floating sinks and cabinets.
Home improvement choices that enhance energy efficiency, resource conservation, and a healthy indoor environment will continue to gain favor in 2015. Green remodeling is not a fad, it is smart remodeling. Consider solar electric panels, (check with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition for local programs offering low cost installations), and charging stations for that new electric car. Recycled waste can easily be integrated into home interiors such as in the beautiful Fireclay line of tiles. Coroma makes the Profile Smart 270 toilet that combines a hand-washer and a flush-toilet in one, cutting water consumption and space requirements in half. Radiant heat in floors seems luxurious but actually helps reduce electric consumption.
Kitchen Remodels for Functionality and low maintenance
Renewed interest in home cooking, gourmet cooking, and family dinners is on the rise, so we are seeing consistent growth in kitchen remodels. Easy to clean cabinetry, smudge proof stainless steel appliances, kitchen islands with seating, pantries, and quartz countertops. Although color is coming back to the kitchen, classic white palettes, subway tiles, and farmhouse sinks will remain design staples for years to come.
Beware - Not so “smart” whole house systems & appliances
Expect to see more automated "smart home" systems in 2015, which allow homeowners to remotely control lighting, appliances, temperature, media, security, window shades and more from a smartphone or tablet. This technology is a popular fad based on convenience, but concern over the overwhelming amount of electromagnetics and the potentially harmful effects make these choices not so smart. And, at some point, it is expected that all the varied wireless signals will get crossed, spelling trouble.