Thursday, January 31, 2013

13 Home Remodeling Trends For 2013

December 2012 | By Barbara Ballinger For RealtorMag

The design choices of 2013 will be shaped by uncertainty over how long current home owners will stay and what future buyers’ tastes may be. So, home owners’ needs and style preferences are more influential in today’s designs than what buyers want.
Here is a baker’s dozen of changes that design pros and manufacturers say are emerging and will make greater inroads:

1. Smarter, Less Costly Automated Controls: With lives continuing to be busy and automation costs coming down, it’s become more affordable to control a home’s systems—temperature, security, electronics, lighting, and more—through a single device, even from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Doing so can eliminate multiple controls and make it easy for home owners to manage things around their home, even when they aren’t there, says Jim Carroll, a founder of Savant Systems in Cape Cod, Mass., which designs and develops integrated automation solutions. “The average family has more than 80 different devices that can be controlled with one system,” he says. Anna Lowder and husband Harvi Sahota are incorporating more of these systems in homes they build for their Mercer Home residential building company in Montgomery, Ala. One example is the Nest Intelligent Thermostat, which can be controlled remotely, react intuitively to home owners’ habits, and adjust to conserve energy costs.
2. Outdoor Living Rooms and Screened Porches: A trend that began a few years ago continues to inspire home owners to think beyond terraces and decks. These spaces have more of the feeling and function of an indoor room—better furnishings, fire pits, curtains, and even televisions and audio systems. Some spaces are designed as courtyards for greater privacy, yet with high-efficiency glass windows and doors to make them energy-smart and seamless with indoor rooms, says Lowder of Mercer Home. Further helping to blur lines between outdoor and indoor spaces is the rise of screened porches, which have gained more indoor accoutrements such as fireplaces, making them livable nearly year-round.
3. Outdoor Kitchens, Vegetable Gardens, and More: Interest continues in outdoor food preparation of all kinds—as simple as a grill and as elaborate as a built-in cook’s station with sink, storage, beer tap, pizza oven, refrigerator, and countertops. Newer amenities include a hybrid grill that permits cooking with both gas and wood or charcoal and prefabricated kitchens that save funds, says landscape designer Michael Glassman in Sacramento, Calif. With a kitchen in place, many home owners move on to plant a vegetable garden, preferably including raised beds to avoid bending too much, Glassman says. He suggests starting with what home owners want to eat and cook—tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and herbs for gazpacho or spaghetti sauce—and learning through practice what thrives in an area’s soil and climate. Essentials are healthy soil, drainage, and readily available water. The next new food trend is a backyard pond with organically-raised fish that home owners can consume without trekking to a market, says Erik Coffin, CEO and owner of Gotham Capital Management in West Hollywood, Calif.

4. Themed Designs: After years of stark contemporary design, themed decorating is making a comeback, according to Montclair, N.J.-based designer Blanche Garcia. “There are more home owners asking for a European flair, perhaps antique sconces and velvet pillows,” she says. And partly due to excitement from the recent royal wedding, British-style motifs continue to proliferate, including Union Jack flags, red phone booths, and hounds tooth, floral, and crown patterns, says Paul Berberian, creative director of Brewster Home Fashions, a wallpaper company in Randolph, Mass. 

5. Media Frenzy: With more families remaining home for “staycations” rather than traveling, rooms are being devoted to TV and other multimedia entertainment with comfortable seating, tables, and good lighting. They’re designed to have a more “home-y” feel than media rooms of the past, Garcia says.

6. New Neutrals and Color Pops: With the country still in the financial doldrums, neutrals remain more popular than vibrant hues, says Erika Woelfel, director of color marketing at Behr Paint in Santa Anna, Calif. Nevertheless, neutrals aren’t the same whites, creams, and beiges, she says. “A blue-gray that works well with the range of popular blues and the purples they’ve replaced are making inroads; they offer a fresh background,” she says. In contrast, bright new accents such as such as raspberry-pink may attract greater attention than a straightforward red. There’s also a range of yellows, which complement blue-grays. And designer Ron Marvin of Ron Marvin Design in New York also sees a trend toward orange and purple accents. How long will these colors last? “Paint colors tend to move in cycles of five to 10 years and follow other home-décor categories, which in turn follow fashion,” Woelfel says.

7. More Double-Duty Furnishings: With homes continuing to be scaled back and many baby boomers moving into condos, more furniture and furnishings need to do double duty in smaller spaces. Expect to see ottomans used for seating and storage, couches that convert to beds, and coffee tables that can rise for dining. This trend means that the one “room” in a house that’s not shrinking is the garage, which is often still big enough for two cars and storage.

8. Lighter Looks: Smaller homes and spaces call for scaled-back pieces and better illumination that makes rooms look larger. “I don’t like overwhelming rooms,” says Courtney Fohrman of Fohrman Interiors in Chicago. To achieve this, she suggests swapping out large bookshelves for wall-mounted shelves, opting for tailored furniture over clunky items, and welcoming natural light.

9. Green Merchandise: Interest in sustainable products and materials keeps attracting attention—particularly when it comes to choosing paints, adhesives, countertops, and flooring. “Most furniture companies and paint manufacturers have at least one item or line that fits the green movement,” Garcia says. Large paint companies such as Benjamin Moore, Glidden, Kelly Moore, and Sherwin Williams offer zero-VOC or odor-free paints, according to Healthy Homes Plans, founded by Linda Mason Hunter, author of The Healthy Home: An Attic to Basement Guide to Toxin-Free Living.

10. Energy and Water Efficiency: Efforts to conserve energy and water throughout the home continue to be popular, including low-water toilets and sinks, better functioning furnaces, and improved insulation. Solar panels are more integrated into roofs so they’re less of an eyesore. Gray recycled water can be used in toilets and to water gardens, while more drought-tolerant plants and replacements for impermeable hardscape allow greater water retention, Coffin says.

11. Panelized Homes: More factory-built homes help to cut building costs at the site by reducing the amount of labor time needed in the field. Besides cost savings, there’s the ability to improve quality control, says Eric VanDerHeyden, executive vice president of RSI Development in Newport, Calif., which uses a variety of plans ranging from 1,232 square feet to 2,500 square feet. “It can cut the cost in half and construction time from a year to eight weeks,” he says.  

12. Handcrafted Elements: Many home owners desire hand-crafted artisanal pieces for a greater personalized look. Some are made from reclaimed rustic wood, which adds a homey, inviting feeling, says Brad Ford of Brad Ford ID in New York.

13. Stylish Kitchens and Bathrooms: These remain at the top of many home owners’ wish lists, as they reflect the trend of remodeling rather than adding on, says Bill Millrolland, executive vice president of Case Design Remodeling in Bethesda, Md. The transitional look—a middle ground between traditional and contemporary—has become more popular. This is evidenced by choices such as cove rather than crown molding, dark-stained or painted finishes rather than natural maple or cherry, and larger format 24” by 24” tiles rather than smaller 12” by 12” and 6” by 6” ones, he says. Designer Wendy Johnson in Manchester Village, Vt., also sees continued interest in kitchens, particularly when they become even more open “live-in” spaces for cooking, eating, socializing, doing homework, or paying bills. Likewise, master suites serve multiple functions, including unwinding, sleeping, and bathing. Millrolland reports more requests for Universal Design features that permit home owners to age in place but don’t convey an institutional look: Grab bars masquerading as towel bars, kitchen counters of different heights for wheelchair access, and wider hallways and doors to permit walkers and wheelchairs through.

No matter what the market’s doing though, the best advice you can give to home owners is to make design decisions based on their hearts and wallets rather than media predictions and hype.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

AK's Remodeling Service Achievement Award

  We are pleased to share the news with you that GuildQuality has named AK Complete Home Renovations one of Atlanta's 2013 Service Excellence Award winners!

The Atlanta Service Excellence Award celebrates exemplary quality and superior customer service as measured by GuildQuality's customer satisfaction surveying. All award winners would be recommended by over 90% of their clients. To see all customer feedback for our company, visit our GuildQuality member profile page:
You can also SEE more of what AK's clients had to say about working with Atlanta's favorite design/build remodeling firm by watching our client testimonial videos here:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Going Green: Ways To Incorporate Emerald In To Your Kitchen

 "Going Green" has a new meaning in 2013! Since Pantone chose Emerald as The Color Of The Year, social media sites are going crazy over this classic hue. Shades of green have been popular choices amongst designers since the Emerald City first opened its doors. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being. Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony.
  The studiers of the psychology of color believe that you should add green to your home if you want:
  • a new state of balance
  • feel a need for change or growth
  • freedom to pursue new ideas
  • protection from fears and anxieties connected with the demands of others

  As the heart of the home, the kitchen is often the place families and guests gather most! If you want to incorporate this color trend and all it's positive energy into your home, the kitchen is a great place to do it! 
   Here are some ideas and products to accent your kitchen with emerald
Curtains Are A Quick Change: Emerald Chevrons Combine Two Trends In One!

This High End Mixer Looks Especially Elegant In Emerald

GO GREEN - In Two Ways At Once! Use This Green Bin To Collect Compostable Items From Your Kitchen

Green Glassware Displayed In Open Cabinets Is A Fabulous Accent

Emerald Accents Added To A Farmhouse Chic Kitchen? Oh Yeah!

Emerald Pendent Lights From Fergusons. Ooh La La!

A Little Paint Gives This Picnic Table A New & Stylish Life

Emerald Glass Is A Classic. A Few Bud Vases Make A Great Centerpiece Or Accent Against A Neutral Backsplash.

Emerald Salt & Pepper Shakers. Perfect!

This Fabric Swatch Would Look Great As Some New Chair Cushions At The Kitchen Table!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three Ideas for a Smarter, Greener Kitchen

From Our Colleagues @ Schroeder Design Build in Virginia

Have you already gathered lots of ideas for how you'd like your new kitchen to look, once it is remodeled? Maybe you've thought about the style of cabinets you prefer and the beautiful materials you envision on your countertops and backsplash.
You should also consider these three important kitchen trends that add both safety and convenience, plus they are green in a way that goes beyond the usual energy and water savings.

Hands-free Controls on Faucets - touch or motion activated

1. Hands-free Controls on Faucets - touch or motion activated
A kitchen faucet with hands-free technology is a tremendous boon to meal preparation. Advanced sensors detect movement or a slight tap on the faucet itself, and will automatically start the flow of water. If your hands are too full or too dirty to turn on the faucet, a simple wave of your hand, the touch of your arm, or the presence of your hands under the spout will start the water flowing. Hands-free technology saves water, since these faucets will shut off automatically, unless instructed to do otherwise. It also provides a Universal Design solution for people with restricted reach and/or limited hand mobility.

2. Induction Cooktops
Induction Cooktop
Would you be surprised to learn that induction cooking technology was developed right here in the United States? It didn't immediately take off here, as it did abroad--possibly because of the cookware requirements. But that seems to be gradually changing as US consumers become better acquainted with the technology.
Induction has many advantages: it cooks food very quickly; 90% of the energy produced is used in the cooking process; it heats up only the pan and the food inside the pan, rather than the kitchen environment; the cooktop surface remains cool to the touch, so spills are wiped up easily; there are no open flames or hot burners that can cause safety issues.

3. LED Lighting
LED Lighting
LED lighting has opened up amazing new opportunities for placing light in your kitchen wherever you desire and however your imagination dictates. It doesn't produce heat and is therefore perfect for inside refrigerators and food storage cabinets. It is available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes--from long, narrow strips that fit under a cabinet toe kick to the round pucks suitable for cabinet interiors. LED provides white light in warm and cool tones, as well as a wide variety of other colors that can add drama to your kitchen décor.
Quality LED products typically last longer than CFLs, and are therefore preferable for hard-to-reach areas such as ceilings. The long life of LED lights make them an eco-friendly product.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kitchen Design Professionals: Submissions Wanted

Hello Kitchen Design Professionals!
AK is putting together a video around '2013 Kitchen Trends' and would like your ideas, opinions & contributions! If you're interested in being featured in this video that will be on AK's website, YouTube and all our SM channels, we would love to get the following:

-Take a short video of yourself describing what trends you're seeing, or what trends your expecting in kitchens for 2013. These can be popular materials, appliances, colors, styles...anything! The video should be 1-2 minutes max and we reserve the right to edit videos as time limits require. A simple video shot from your phone or webcam will do! (as long as the lighting is good!)

-Email the video to info@akcompletehomerenovations
.com and please include: your name, any certifications, your company's name and your website as you would like them to appear in the final video. 
-If you have any images you would be willing to let us include that depict the trend you are describing, please send them in a separate email! We will attribute all images as requested.
 Please Submit All Of Your Videos & Images By 1/16/13

Friday, January 4, 2013

Classic Kitchens Never Age

Classic Design: Traditional style that will stand the test of time

After 17 years of creating beautiful kitchens, have AK's designs stood up to the flash-in-the-pan trends and style shifts?
You tell us!

Below are 5 kitchens which exemplify classic design while each speaks to the owner's unique style and tastes. Can you tell which kitchen is the oldest? And do you dare venture a guess as to when it was designed & built?

Kitchen #1: Classic White Cabinets, Large Arch Neck Faucet, Granite Peninsula  

Kitchen #2: Rich Classic Woods, Stone Backsplash, More Wine Storage & Light Granite

Kitchen #3: Staggered Cocoa Maple, Beadboard Accents, Eat-In Style

Kitchen #4: Farmhouse Apron Sink, Adjustable Pendants, Commercial-Grade Range & Custom Hood

Kitchen #5:  Extreme Storage Solutions For A Small Space, Large Custom Moldings, Glass Inserts, Mono-Chromatic Tones Amongst The Natural Materials (Wood, Stone, Granite)

Facebook Us With Your Guesses & We'll Post The Answers: