The greater Hancock Park area is known for its fine historical homes built mainly in the 1920s and 30s, most of which are protected (on the exterior) by historic preservation guidelines that seek to preserve the neighborhood’s original character and historical integrity.
Inside these treasures, however, an owner’s personality shows through and the advent of a new year often inspires homeowners to try a new home project. It could be a major backyard renovation, a new kitchen, or simply repainting a powder room, but the new year often motivates us to change. As in technology, fashion and numerous other industries, remodeling and design seem to come with their own annual trends. Below are a handful of home improvement trends for 2014.
FLOOR PLAN This has been a buzzword for some time now but it still reigns true: people crave an open floor plan. We want our kitchen open to a family room, so that when company arrives we can gather in a central location (not to mention keeping eyes on the kids while they watch Spongebob). As a result formal living and dining rooms are being de-emphasized in many cases, in favor of that central gathering spot.
COLOR Sitting in my office lately I was suddenly struck with the idea of painting it blue. Little did I know how prescient I was being, as blue – particularly Navy Blue – is considered in some circles to be the “it” color of the year. It is a strong color that works well in a variety of rooms, and also provides a great starting point to match with accessories (think gray or yellow accent pillows on a couch in a blue room).
“OLD TO BOLD” The dining room that used to be painted solid “off white,” might now have a black, textured wallpaper, with metallic fixtures to off-set. It seems trends in both wallpaper (which of itself is a back-in-fashion trend) and accessory rugs are moving from solids to patterns.
KITCHEN I’m reading and seeing three common threads in kitchen remodeling this year: cabinets painted in bold, gemstone colors, chrome and brass accents, and unusual lighting fixtures. Additional items that continue to gain popularity are warming drawers, wine fridges, ice drawers and pot fillers.
BATHROOM The trend toward going spa-like seems to continue this year. And why not? What better way to start your day then with some serenity before the onslaught of a busy schedule. Clean lines are the theme this year, and floating sinks are hip again. Mosaic tiles can add depth and a feeling of luxury, to make it seem for a moment like you really are back at the Bacara spa. Large walk-in showers are also in this year, as well as modern touch faucets.
TECHNOLOGY This area is probably the most significant trend in home remodeling – after all – we’ve just seen a thermostat manufacturer (Nest) get purchased for $3.2 billion from Google. Clearly, home design is starting to catch up with technological advances, whether it’s controlling your home temperature with an app on your cell phone, upgrading your electrical system to accommodate an electric car, or my personal favorite – U-socket electrical outlets! U-sockets have a traditional electrical plug, but also two USB ports, so you no longer have to scramble around looking for your iPad charger that your kid borrowed, let alone compete with them for charging space!
There are a host of great design trends out there and you can find ideas from all kinds of sources – including attending open houses of recently remodeled homes. I do have this one suggestion: there’s nothing wrong with choosing cutting edge designs and products. But try to make choices that are unlikely to go “stale” in a relatively short period of time. Today’s ultra-hip can be tomorrow’s obsolete. Timeless always plays well.