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The tech industry has planted deep roots in the greater Seattle area, and it was only going to be a matter of time before it made its mark on housing. It has been a lot of fun to integrate more innovative technology into our homes, such as “smart” thermostats and remote lighting controls. But, just as transitional design fuses modern materials with more classic architectural design, cutting-edge components are seamlessly integrated within tried-and-true planning to deliver the best of both worlds. After all, who would want to live inside a server room?
We look at technology in terms of how it can relevantly enhance the classic comforts of home. These are some of the trends that we see continuing into the near future – you’ll notice lots of the familiar on a larger, more luxurious scale. Ultimately, we all want to love where we live.
1. Islands: The Bigger the Better
More than ever, kitchens are a central hangout in homes. Whether for meal prep or parties, we naturally gravitate toward the kitchen, so it makes sense that our clients love grand-sized islands – they provide maximum work and gathering space. Place four bar stools along the island, and you easily have another dining area, or set up with a laptop, and you have a second office.
Aside from being highly functional, the island can also serve as a design element. The material you choose for the island can become your kitchen’s showpiece. One of my favorites is in a Bellevue home we recently completed, the Northwest Idea House. It features a massive 15’ x 5’ concrete island, custom made by Molding Mud.
A welcome invitation for guests to congregate around this custom statement island, featuring a concrete waterfall edge and seating for up to eight. Image Credit: HD Estates.
2. Outdoor Living Rooms: Welcoming the Outside In
About three years ago, we began extending our great rooms by featuring an outdoor room off the living and/or kitchen area. On spring and summer days, we’re able to bring the outside in. These outdoor rooms are often equipped with built-in BBQ stations, infrared heat lamps and fireplaces. That means they are also welcome, cozy standalone nooks in evenings or on cooler days. This has become a popular standard feature in our homes.
Extended outdoor living areas allow us to enjoy the outdoors all year around. Partially covered areas with lighting, fire bowl and infrared heaters provide enjoyment for colder days, so the space can be utilized throughout the changing seasons. Image Credit: HD Estates.
3. Smart Living: Home Technology
A “smart home” is considered so when its systems are connected and controllable remotely. This includes appliances, audio, video, lighting, thermostats, security systems, and even window coverings! New additions seem to arrive on the market daily. We’re big fans of home technology, and we’ve been working closely with Wipliance to stay at the forefront.
“One of the hottest things we’re working with is Lutron lighting and shades. They invented the dimmer back in the 60s, and now, there are lighting controls and motorized window treatments. They keep the wall clutter down, and we don’t have rows and rows of switches along a wall,” says Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance. “From an energy standpoint, you could use occupancy sensors to brown the lights out if a room isn’t being used. It can also turn the lights on ahead of you and behind you. Everyone wants a system to be less complicated and to have energy savings.”
4. Wine Vaults: Cheers to That
Much like a wine cooler, a wine vault provides temperature-controlled storage. The wine vault takes it a step further for wine enthusiasts, converting wine collections into artistic displays. More like a walk-in wine cooler, a wine vault is built into a room. When stocked, it becomes a spectacular showcase of your wine collection.
Who needs artwork in the entry when you can display your beautiful wine collection? Transform any space with a personalized wine vault. This vault features custom glass doors with tile floor and brushed nickel racking. Image Credit: HD Estates.
5. Master Bathrooms: Fit for Royalty
In our experience, homebuyers gravitate to master bath suites which offer luxurious, spa-like features. Trending: extra-large walk-in showers with double heads, king-sized soaker tubs, heated floors, double sinks. His and hers closets decked with closet organization systems are also met with fanfare.
“We typically begin and end our days in the master bath. People want a relaxing space where they can pamper themselves and unwind. These are all elements that homeowners value because they get the relaxing experience they are craving,” says Aimee Upper, JayMarc Homes’ Interior Design Director.
6. Dining: Keeping it Formal
Homeowners love using their great rooms to ease from kitchen to living room to informal dining areas. While the formal dining room sees less daily use, homebuyers still seek it out in anticipation of hosting special occasions. They often begin entertaining in the great room before moving into the more intimate setting for dinner.
“We take the approach that every space in our homes need to be designed to ‘live well,’” says Daniel Sessoms, a JayMarc New Home Specialist. “This includes all of the common space, which needs to flow well and add comfort to the buyer. Room flow matters, whether relaxing at home or hosting formal dinners.”
If you’ve toured a new home lately, you probably saw a guest suite downstairs while the rest of the bedrooms are located in a totally separate area of the house. Also referred to (endearingly) as the mother-in-law unit, the setup assures plenty of privacy.
With frequency, buyers seek an area where relatives who may be a part of the active, aging Boomer generation can be comfortable. This arrangement supports multi-generational living and greets longer-term house guests with grace.
8. Soaring Big and High
We all naturally crave light and airy environments, especially given the Pacific Northwest climate. You’ll see builders expand construction to feature 10-foot tall ceilings that make way for extra-large windows (and more natural light!), and 8-foot tall doors.
9. Statement Piece: Say It with Lighting
We love to use lighting as a fashion statement. Look for these statement pieces in entryways, dining rooms and in kitchens over an island. More commonly, we’re seeing an ensemble of gorgeous pieces come together in ALL of those common areas.
The chandelier’s mystic silver finish with smoked glass is mesmerizing and elegant. Lighting is the perfect opportunity to show off your personality. Image Credit: HD Estates.
10. Data & Sound: Delivering Speed and Clarity
Living without high-speed data at home has become almost unimaginable. To support faster data delivery, the newer Cat 6 is replacing Cat 5 cables throughout our houses. We used to wire entire homes with Cat 5 outlets, but it has become a standard to outfit only the media/entertainment room in order to maximize streaming speed and reliability. The same approach applies to wiring for speakers – a hard installation of speakers in an entertainment room is still a norm.
This amps up the viewing experience in media rooms stocked with big flat screen TVs, cozy seating, built-in audio and black-out shades. While we still wire the great room and outdoor living area for speakers, homebuyers continue migrating to Wi-Fi driven sound systems (i.e. Sonos).
About JayMarc Homes:
JayMarc Homes just celebrated its seventh year and a recent milestone of delivering 100 homes. If practice makes perfect, then this luxury home builder is setting the bar specializing in custom and move-in-ready homes in Bellevue and Mercer Island.
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