Hello and welcome!
Some of you may be familiar with the annual event in the Triangle area, the Parade of Homes. If you are in the process of building a new home or searching for design and décor inspiration, the Parade of Homes is a great event to attend to see the latest home building trends, interesting and creative design solutions, and freshest in-home technologies.
To be completely honest, I haven’t been to the Parade of Homes in years. October weekends seem to be packed with all kind of activities. But going there made me realize that it must be on my calendar every year. #pinkypromise.
Out of 102 houses on Parade I visited only 7. I am blocking more time next year to hit at least 12-15 homes. It took time to walk through, take notes and, if opportunity arose, talk to the builder or to the designer who furnished the house.
This is not the full list of notes I took, so reach out for more thoughts and ideas if you are remodeling your home or building a new one.
If this post inspires you to visit the closing weekend of the Parade of homes, there’s a very useful trip planner on the organizer’s website. The homes are open this Sat-Sun, noon to 5 pm. This is Parade's last weekend.
I look forward to your comments at the end of the post. What did you like? What impressed you the most? If you went to the Parade of homes, what stuck out to you?
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy,
OPEN FLOOR PLANS ARE VERY MUCH ALIVE AND WELL.
Open concept was the chosen layout featured in all homes I visited. In all of them it includes a kitchen, an eating area, and the living space. While some floor plans include a formal dining space, some do not. In cases when there was no formal dining room, the eating zone would be enlarged to accommodate a six person table with more room to extend the table for large gatherings. What a smart solution!
LUXURY INDOOR / OUTDOOR LIVING
Notice that on the floor plan above, the wall between the living area and the outdoor space is retractable and it’s made out of glass.
Fully retractable glass walls increase open space which is perfect for large gatherings. And it's a fantastic way to enjoy the weather!
Click on the images below to enlarge
Here is another open floor plan and some images of the actual home. Notice how the eating area is "floating" in the space between the kitchen and the lounge areas. The back porch runs across the whole span of the back wall and once the glass doors are retracted, it becomes one big party zone!
This is a very contemporary design take on the black and white kitchen. The clean lines of the cabinetry are paired with a simple backsplash and elegant countertops, so those great elements make the fun light pendants the stars of the show!
INTERESTING DESIGN DETAILS
Here is a very practical architectural solution for "less walking": a pass-through window between the kitchen and the outdoor dining and grilling area. While I am a big proponent of getting in more steps every day, in this case it is about practicality and how much time can be saved when prepping food and cooking.
DID YOU SAY "WINE ROOM"?
While wine rooms have been popular for a long time, they are often tucked away somewhere in the basement with poor lighting, and they are frequently decorated in the Tuscan style. Well, now wine rooms are the showstoppers! Look at this stunning modern wine room nested under the stairs in the entry foyer. There's even space for a small bar-height table and couple of stools for some tasting sessions! Clean lines of the metal framing, clear glass panels, simple wall mounted wine racks - and, voilà, a modern wine room!
I loved seeing this glass wine cabinet that seems to be floating in space.
Hats of to the designer for this creative solution: the cabinet becomes a beautiful feature that is a great conversation starter.
In the image below the corner built-in wine room is conveniently located right off the dining space (the kitchen is located to the left and the family area is right behind the camera).
In all three featured wine rooms there is ceiling and floor lighting that fully illuminates the wine racks. This lighting creates a bit more visual drama.
The ceiling is the fifth wall in the room, no double about it. It can be left plain, or it can be dressed up by incorporating interesting architectural details. I found this combination of beams, trays and hidden lighting in the AR Home model very stately.
The ceiling design in the picture below speaks volumes in this dining room! The cross beams and warm stained wood planks are gorgeous.
A fresh design idea: the use of ceiling beams in this master bedroom that has a cathedral ceiling.
Ceiling beams installed alongside long walls, with metal straps and built-in lights. I can only imagine how nice this space looks in the evening!
HOME OFFICE DESIGN
Times have changed, and it led to changes in design and how we use different spaces. Most of us now need to have a dedicated office and study space in our homes. I noticed quite a few built-in office/study areas in bedrooms, which totally makes sense. Those desks fit the room perfectly, and they utilize every inch of available space. To find a ready-made desk of a perfect size would be a nearly impossible feat (been there, done that), so custom built-in office desks are an option you may explore if you need to add functionality to different areas of your home.
And some of you may remember that a year ago some kitchens had small desks built in. They are long gone; I haven't seen those in a while in new construction.
I will allow myself a metaphor here: just like a salad dressing enhances the taste of your salad, wall dressings enhance the look of your home. Here are few of my favorites.
Stained wood wall paneling with vertical slats creates visual interest, adds detail and warmth. Two contemporary sconces add warm glow to darker corners. This is located on a small wall in the hall leading to the master bedroom.
LET'S PLAY PEEKABOO!
I loved the idea of “hidden” places: a hidden gym, a hidden pantry and a hidden scullery. Spaces were concealed behind custom doors that looked like cabinets or they were creatively incorporated into the wall moldings.
This gym door is a part of the wall molding design.
You didn’t see it, right?
Hidden scullery access, say what?...There's a door there! Read more about sculleries below.
Speaking of utility and storage spaces, they became bigger and more practical, and they sometimes combine a mud room, laundry, and storage. My favorite were the ones that had windows. It's lovely to have natural light in the room one may spend a good amount of time in.
The utility room in the image below features an island for folding laundry. The space has a window and a great number of storage cabinets.
This utility area, located by the garage door, features a sink, a washer and dryer area, second refrigerator, working surfaces and plenty of storage.
The kitchen footprint in large, luxury homes is smaller than you may expect. The reason for it, I think, is the introduction of the scullery into the layout.
scul·ler·y /ˈskəl(ə)rē/ noun. historical
noun: scullery; plural noun: sculleries
a small kitchen or room at the back of a house used for washing dishes and other dirty household work.
Look at this scullery with mirrored glass tile backsplash and painted cabinets. I so appreciate beautiful chandeliers in utility spaces!
Scullery with a view! And the contemporary chandelier provides a lot of light – what a great feature!
COVE MOLDINGS AND TRIM
I was excited to see cove molding in all the homes I visited. When we built our home back in 2010, this molding style was a “special order”, and it was what I wanted. So yes, I'm happy to say that I was ahead of times then.
I observed that in many houses the baseboards and window trim were very simple, and I do like that. It's like a blank canvas and it works with a variety of decorating styles.
ILLUMINATED HALL SHELVING
Usually second floor halls are lacking natural light. This is a smart way to add lighting and storage space in an otherwise boring area of your home.
The glass doors lead to the home gym, while LED tape lights illuminate the shelves and brighten up the hall. It looks fantastic from the street through the foyer windows at night!
If the space allows, why not have some fun?! A rooftop putting green? Yes to that!
Last but not least:
The feature that knocked my socks off was...
The invisible ceiling and wall speakers! I could not figure out where the sounds came from and as much as I stared and squinted, those invisible speakers where nowhere to be seen. Sorry, guys, I don't have a photo of this cool feature. Because it would look like nothing anyway, haha!
Thank you for making it to the very end of this long blog post! I hope you enjoyed the house tours with me. If you are curious to see more, I hope you can make it to the Parade of Homes this weekend.
As always, if you need help with your interior design project, give me a call and let's chat about it!