By Julie Laughton (AWA+D)
Photos Courtesy of Julie Laughton Design Build

People today with busy lifestyles need lower maintenance and more durability in
the finishes and surfaces in their homes. The trends in home design are open spaces,
vaulted ceilings, natural colors, sustainable materials, durable surfaces and other
concepts that allow the homeowner to make more efficient use of the space. Once
these trends are implemented in the home, it creates the ultimate design that has
function and style with beautiful timeless materials.
Here are 8 current trends in home design that exemplify the concepts used in
today’s lifestyle.

1. Kitchen Islands The Look Like Furniture
In this modernized home, the Island was done in a different finish to resemble
driftwood so it stood out like a separate piece of furniture. It is a trend to make the
kitchen Island a different color and more of an accent piece like furniture. Over the
years, people have gotten away from the bland tract home all one color cabinets.
Instead, the Island can look like a separate piece of furniture, an antique, a table or
even a stainless steel workstation.

2. Open Concept
This living room was the result of using structural engineering to remove the walls
of three rooms in order to create one large fabulous great room. The open concept
in a home starts with opening the kitchen up to the living room and possibly
eliminating a formal dining room or putting it somewhere else. Homeowners now
spend most of their time in the kitchen and family room, so they want the rooms
together to gather and entertain. When someone decides to purchase an older home,
opening the kitchen is one of the first things they have to do. This trend is never
going away for the average home. Even in very large homes the kitchen is open to
the family room.


3. Spa Bathrooms
This spa-like bathroom is not only functional because the tile goes to the ceiling, but
also provides a Zen-like retreat. Homeowners want a spa bathroom where they can
go in, shut the door and completely retreat from the world. A spa bath done
correctly offers a tranquil experience. The colors and textures need to be soft and
muted with an organic natural feel. The lighting should be dimmable and the space
should be clear and open. Candles and essential oils should be available. With
today’s busy hectic lifestyle, this trend will stay forever and be improved over time.

4. Vaulted Ceiling
Vaulted ceilings are typically used in great rooms, family rooms, bedrooms and
kitchens. Structural steel was used in this kitchen to not only remove the walls, but
also vault the ceiling and create a new roof shape. By opening the ceiling, it makes
the room twice as large and increases the size and feel of the space. It also increases
the volume of natural light. When buying a small home this is a great advantage. All
homes benefit from doing this where possible. It is a trend because it is an easy cost-
effective way to improve the space.


5. Indoor-Outdoor Living
Indoor-Outdoor living is a trend, especially in California. It also increases the size of
your home. Take the back of the home that faces the yard, get rid of walls and put
sliding doors in to open up and extend the space. It is great because it increases the
size of the living area and also the entertaining area. It also opens the flow to the
open areas. By adding outdoor kitchen and dining areas, it gives another place to
entertain during good weather months. The remodel of this home included
structural engineering and the use of steel to create a 25 foot wide opening, which
enables the glass sliding door to slide into pockets in the wall and disappear from


6. Options in Kitchen Surfaces and Materials
The trend today is to do a countertop in a finish that resembles leather. This finish
was achieved by using wire brushes. It actually makes the stone more durable
because it removes all of the soft areas and the end result is a beautiful textured
matte finish that can be easily cleaned. Picking the right stone for your countertops
is crucial, especially on the Island where you see a lot of it. Due to the beauty and
simplicity of soapstone on this Island, we also used it on the surrounding
countertops for a clean overall look.


7. Custom Cabinets
The laundry room in this house was rather large, so we were able to do an extra
amount of custom storage cabinets. I have been doing custom cabinetry for a long
time because homes build in the 60s, 70s and 80s don't have them. Most people
can't leave the old cabinets because they are inefficient. Instead of fixing the old
cabinets the trend is to do custom cabinetry. Every home needs custom cabinetry in
the bathroom and kitchen. Custom cabinetry not only offers efficiency in the kitchen,
but space for cooking gadgets.


8. Unique Design for Ordinary Architecture
Instead of doing a typical staircase with a straight run or a switchback in this home,
I came up with a staircase that resembles the fluid movement of a ribbon.

This custom design creates a focal point, a statement and a conversation piece just like
fine art would do in a gallery. If you have a home that allows you to have the space
and freedom to do something unique like this, it will take the home to another level
design-wise. It’s a trend because it’s modern, clean and unique. Everybody is
constantly looking for something new to do in the world of design and the trend
now is clean design with organic materials.