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5 Trends To Avoid

As with all industries, the home design industry has trends.  Many patterns in home design become trends because they are great solutions.  However, after a trend has been around for a few years, I start to see it applied in situations which are unhelpful, inconvenient, and will date your home.  I have zero’d in on 5 current trends that need to be done right or not at all.

 

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1) Sliding Barn Doors.  This may come as a shock since not only do I love these, but I also have one in my office.  The problem with the barn slider trend is not that it exists; rather, it is where it exists.  Remember that a barn slider does not completely shut like a hinged door or pocket door.  There is always a gap between the door opening and the door hanging on its track.  This means that odors, light, and noise travel right through these enticing doorways.  Just think about the purpose of the room beyond your reclaimed barn-wood door before you fall in love with it.  Are you wanting to have the ability to seal off your formal living room from the noise of the kitchen beyond?  A trendy slider will look great, but it won’t perform this duty.  If you have a barn slider as the doorway from the master bedroom to the master bathroom, check first to make sure that your toilet is in a separate water closet.  Lastly, despite having an upper track and lower guides, barn sliders tend to get pushed and banged up by the little people in your home when they are opened and closed often.

 

 

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2) The Double Vanity.  Any tract home open house that you visit right now will have a double vanity, or 2 sinks, in the master bathroom.  Even in a 5 foot wide counter, there are always 2 sinks.  This might be the ultimate solution for some couples’ morning/evening primping regimes provided both people use the sink often throughout their routines, but it is often a poor use of much needed counter space.  When you have more than 6 feet of vanity space, I say go for the double vanity.  However, no one is the same.  Most men I know indeed use the sink for most of their grooming needs: shaving, brushing teeth, wetting hair, etc.  Most women I know need mirror space and counter space but only use the sink for brushing teeth and a quick facial rinse.  If all you have is 5 feet of vanity space, think carefully about your routine and whether or not it is the mirror, counter space, or sink that is fought over the most.  Do not squeeze in 2 sinks just because it’s popular.

 

 

A modern kitchen centered around a wide island maintains an uninterrupted cook's space.

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3) Kitchen Islands.  The kitchen island has been around for a while, and it is not going anywhere.  That is great news as long as it fits in the space you have.  Islands are generally fantastic kitchen features.  They provide wide open work space for chopping, kneading, doing homework, etc.  But like a delectable dessert, we can have too much of a good thing.  The key to a kitchen island worth having is that you have enough space to get around it and that the cook does not in fact have to “get around it.”  If you cook or bake regularly, then you know  that even making one dish requires lots of travel between the fridge, sink, and stove/oven.  If this work triangle is sliced in half by a large island, forcing you to run back and forth around the island for ingredients, cooking a meal is a nightmare!   Whenever I design a new kitchen layout with an island, I am very careful to plan for the circulation of the cook and the thronging kitchen visitors.  I so often see on television and in poorly thought out homes an island squished into the middle of kitchen where it will cause traffic jams and inconvenient cooking patterns.

 

 

Great Room Bad_17

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4) The Open Concept Floor Plan.  The term “open concept” is ubiquitous these days.  It describes the great room: a completely opened kitchen, dining, and living room.  Since most families’ together time occurs in the evening around dinner and homework, it makes perfect sense to have these functions combined into one big space…most of the time.  There are 3 things in particular that are continually overlooked when the buzzword “open concept” is spoken: entry, odor, and proportion.  Particularly when remodeling, there is a temptation to rip down every wall from the front door to the rear of the house.  My objection is that little thought is given to the process of entry or the new proportions this creates.  Remember that the open concept puts everything on display for your guests to see unless you design an entry process into the plan.  There is no “quick tidying up” before guests come over when 3 rooms are immediately beyond the entry door.  Additionally, knocking down too many walls creates wide or long spaces with a ceiling height that was meant for 1/3 the space.  This adds to echo and makes for tunnel-like spaces.  Another consideration not to be overlooked is the odor that comes from cooking.  If you cook often and use spices, sear meats, or especially fry foods, then you know how the smell likes to stick on anything in the immediate vicinity.  For some people this doesn’t matter.  For others, however, some separation, even slight can save you from lingering smells in your furniture.

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An East Boise kitchen remodel

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5) No Upper Cabinets in the Kitchen.  This is another trend that I absolutely love, if the right compensations can be made.  If you currently have upper cabinets, think about what is inside them.  These items will not simply disappear when you get rid of your upper cabinetry; they will mostly need to be relocated.  I have found the best compensation for eliminating the upper cabinets to be full height pantry cabinets.  Dishes move into drawers, food moves into the pantry along with special occasion dishes and rarely used appliances, and glasses move into drawers or onto open shelving (provided you have handsome, matching glasses).  The result can be magnificent: open, spacious, full of light, and unobstructed counter space.  The danger of jumping aboard this airy trend comes with not taking proper stock of your kitchen supplies. List what is currently inhabiting your upper cabinets, and see if there is any available space in your lowers.  Taking this kind of detailed knowledge to your kitchen designer will assure that you can incorporate the correct amount of compensatory drawers and storage that are in keeping with the no-upper-cabinet kitchen.  As with all trends, there is a right and a wrong way to embrace this look.  Eradicate your upper cabinets with function and your specific kitchen needs in mind, and this trend will work for you.

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