Decisions, decisions. Whether you’re building a brand-new home or pondering a kitchen makeover, there are dozens of big and small details to lose sleep over. Architects Marcy Schulte, Sarah Nettleton, Geoffrey Warner and John Vetter share their perspectives on hot home trends and the most popular projects, sustainability and making the most of your budget. This is the first of several installments. Check out Cool Spaces next week for advice on remodeling on a budget and enhancing your home’s curb appeal.
Question: What’s hot in kitchens?
Schulte: Everyone wants an eat-in kitchen and a large working island because there are more social activities around food, wine and cooking. We often knock down walls and open up the kitchen to the family room or other spaces. We turned a separate kitchen and dining room in a 1980s builder home into one big room.
Nettleton: Kitchens are the No. 1 remodeling project because it’s the part of the house that feels the most dated and typically done in the style of the era the home was built. What people want today goes back to the farmhouse idea of the kitchen as the heart of the home — with cooking on one side and a big table for seating on the other side. Now it’s updated with a center island, easy pullout drawers and walk-in pantries. Today’s kitchen fits more seamlessly aesthetically with the rest of the house.
Warner: The party always happens in the kitchen, and people want it open to the rest of the house. Big center islands give you enough room to spread out, cook and work on a laptop. We use a lot of stock Ikea cabinets — they’re cost-effective, and people like the clean look. Granite is still popular because it’s cheaper now. But a lot of people are attracted to salvaged marble — it’s softer and can stain, but they like the tactile qualities.
Q: What’s the latest in bathroom design?
Schulte: Layered lighting is key for putting on makeup, shaving and ambient lighting. Radiant in-floor heat adds a spa feel. The full-glass-door shower is taking precedence over the tub.
Warner: People now know what a dual-flush toilet is. There’s so much more to pick from and better design quality in water-saving features. And if we’re limited on space, we’ll put in an oversized step-in shower and give up the bathtub.
Vetter: Bathrooms are more open, with natural light and often have views of nature from a tub or sink. We put in integrated “furniture-like” cabinetry highlighting separate sink areas. The vanity cabinet appears to float off the floor with lighting underneath. People invest in really terrific showers with multiple heads.
BathrooSchulte are more open, with natural light and often have views of nature from a tub or sink. We put in integrated “furniture-like” cabinetry highlighting separate sink areas. The vanity cabinet appears to float off the floor with lighting underneath. People invest in really terrific showers with multiple heads.
Q: How can someone carve out space for a bathroom in an older house?
Schulte: In a 1940s Cape Cod, we took a small existing bathroom and expanded it into an adjacent closet. We took advantage of the shape, making a great big shower at the end with vertical glass subway tile, investing in color and materials to make an impact.
Question: What space has grown in size and importance over the years?
Schulte: Many remodelings create room for a mudroom — people need that landing spot and transition from work to home, where you can not only drop a backpack or briefcase but charge your phone in a charging station.
Q: How can you create more storage in the must-have mudroom?
Warner: One solution is to remove the sliding door on a back-entry closet and build open storage lockers and shoe cubbies.
Are you looking to Chicago bathtub refinishing specialist?