From post on http://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2017/01/06/top-10-home-design-trends-to-expect-in-2017/#6442c8b031d5 JAN 6, 2017 @ 06:00 AM Mitchell Parker, Houzz Editorial Staff Looking for some great ideas for your home? How about a voice-activated assistant that will give you a weather update while you pour coffee into a preheated mug from a warming drawer? Not your style? No worries — there’s something for everyone in this preview of 2017 design trends. We plowed into Houzz data, sifted through popular photos and articles, and talked to industry leaders for this look at 10 things we think you’ll be seeing more of in the home in 2017.   1. Satin brass. Brass finishes have been making a comeback in recent years, cherished for their ability to bring shiny golden tones to a space without the high price tag. But more recently, designers like Elizabeth Lawson have been turning away from the reflective finish of polished brass and embracing satin or brushed brass, which is more muted and warm. “I especially like a satin brass finish because it’s transitional and can complement a number of styles,” says Lawson, who used the finish in the kitchen shown here. “It also looks amazing against almost any color of the rainbow. I think we’ll continue to see rooms with satin brass for quite some time and also possibly mixed with other finishes for a more eclectic look.” 2. Voice-activated assistants. There’s been a lot of talk about voice assistants in the home. It’s something Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, which puts on the Consumer Electronics Show every year in Las Vegas (Jan. 5 to 8, 2017), says will be big in 2017. Amazon’s Alexa, which is enabled in the Echo Dot shown on this side table, acts as a voice-activated interface for many smart home devices. Google Home’s voice assistant launched about a month ago. These devices work through activation phrases like “Alexa” or “OK Google.” The devices, placed throughout your home, are always listening in somewhat of a dormant state. Say the activation phrase, and the device fires up and awaits your command. Ask it to give you the weather or play a song from Spotify or dim your lights or power up the hot tub. Early last year, Amazon opened its platform to third parties and has since added thousands of integrated features from smart home companies like Lutron, Crestron, Philips Hue, Wemo, Honeywell, Nest, Samsung Smart Home to other services from Uber, Domino’s, NPR and more. Google Home just launched its voice-activated assistant about a month ago, and DuBravac says he expects the company to open the platform to third-party companies soon. “What you’re seeing is...

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From post on http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2015/10/understated-master-bathroom OCTOBER 2015 | BY BARBARA BALLINGER Master bathrooms, along with the average home’s overall footprint, grew larger in recent decades. And with more square footage came excessive luxury and expense—tubs with aromatherapy kits, exotic countertop materials, coffee makers, small refrigerators, and showers for two with an arsenal of body sprays that performed like a human-sized car wash. But changes are afoot. As homes have decreased in size, many people prefer to put any extra space into other areas of the house, such as closets, says Stephanie Pierce, senior manager of the design studio at MasterBrand Cabinets. They also don’t always see the need for more than one tub in the house, and often there’s already one located in bathrooms designated for children or guests. Concern about getting money that’s been invested in a remodel back at resale is another driving force spurring home owners to spend less on master bathrooms. It’s tough to justify significant expenditures when buyers seem to attach greater value to adding a deck or replacing a garage or entry door, according to the 2015 “Cost vs. Value” report. Bathrooms remodeled with upscale finishes and fixtures, for example, cost around $54,115 this past year and returned only an estimated 60 percent of that in the sales price. Less costly midrange redos brought back a better return of 70 percent, according to the same survey. Yet, having a personalized, functional master bathroom with a touch of luxury remains a buyer priority. “People aren’t going to the extreme they once did, but they want a room that looks fresh,” says Sarah Barnard, a designer in Santa Monica, Calif. Rather than relying on trends from the hotel industry as has been popular in years past, Elissa Morgante of Morgante-Wilson Architects in Chicago says, home owners are more likely to use their own needs as inspiration. Case in point: Nikki Wheeler resisted a designer friend’s advice when remodeling her master bathroom in her 1890s Denver home. “She was pushing me to knock down walls to create a magnificent oasis. I thought with an older, more historic home, creating these giant hotel-style bathrooms didn’t fit,” she says. Wheeler kept within the existing footprint, adding a vaulted ceiling and upgrading the shower, countertop, cabinets, and floor. Making these types of changes can make a big difference when selling, says sales associate Paul Wyman of The Wyman Group in Kokomo, Ind. An outdated bathroom requires a lot of work, and most buyers will favor a house with a redone bathroom over an unfinished one, he says. Today’s understated master bathrooms are influenced by the following eight style categories. Encourage your...

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From post on http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2017/01/these-doors-can-modernize-your-listing-s-look We realize that this copy targets real estate brokers specifically, but you can easily imagine it addressed specifically to you. Just substitute “your home” every time the author says “your listing.” Good luck! JANUARY 2017 | BY MELISSA DITTMANN TRACEY A front door with pizzazz has always had a starring role in a home’s curb appeal. But lately, the doors inside a home are getting a closer look for their ability to add style and address design challenges. Strategically placed doors can offer privacy in open floor plan environments or increase the usability of cramped spaces.   Real estate pros Helene Bonello-Strauss and Malte Strauss with Trust International Real Estate LLC in Orlando, Fla., who also manage the staging blog idesigntosell.com, have used barn doors hung on sliding tracks above door frames and pocket doors, which tuck inside a wall, in several remodel and staging projects. “We use [barn doors] all the time in master bathrooms where there is a vanity area that is separate from the tub [and] commode area,” says Bonello-Strauss, also a home stager. In some older homes, vanities are located in the master bedroom rather than in the bathroom, a style that quickly can date a home. “Now we just close those off with a barn door, and buyers love that solution.” She also recently used two barn doors hanging from each side of an open door frame to solve an open floor plan’s privacy issue. The homeowners had built an addition off the living area that could be used as a guest bedroom, but they never installed a door to separate the bedroom from the main area. Bonello-Strauss added the double barn doors so the space could be used as a guest bedroom or opened to expand the living area when not in use by a visitor. “It truly makes the room and provides an architectural interest to an otherwise bland wall,” she says. But don’t be thrown off by the word “barn.” Your listing doesn’t have to be country chic to benefit from this space saver. The concept works in many styles, from walnut barn doors for traditional homes to galvanized metal doors for urban lofts, says Lynn MacMillan, with Gem Home Staging & Designs in St. Catharines, Ontario. Pocket doors vary widely too, from all glass to all wood and from designs that stretch to the ceiling to those that are only waist-high. Sliding doors can attach to a kitchen island and can be used to close off areas to pets or children when needed. “I prefer using sliding doors in all my projects,” says designer and architect Lilian...

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From http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2017/01/02/beige-is-back-and-theres-no-blah-about-it/ By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Beige is pushing out gray as the hottest neutral color tone in homes heading into 2017, according to several color forecasters. Beige had once been cast aside in home design as too boring. But the beiges gaining popularity again and some of the newest shades are far from boring, if paired correctly. Beige comes in many tones, dark and light. Take a look at Sherwin-Williams’ 2017 Color of the Year: Poised Taupe (SW 6039). This brownish-gray color has plenty of contrast to help make the whites in the room pop. Many beiges are more subtle. And it is true that too much of a softer neutral tone of tans could lack the same pizzazz. How can you spice up your beiges to avoid those beige blahs? A recent article by contributor Janet Dunn with Houzz offers tips on modernizing a beige backdrop. Try bolder colored accessories. Make it pop up against higher energy colors that you bring in through accessories, like pillows, rugs, artwork, vases, or even chairs. Photo by AND Interior Design Studio – More traditional dining room ideas Weave it in with browns. Yes, beige and brown can go together in a décor scheme. Just make sure you keep the tone differences enough to add depth and variety to the shades of browns you mix.   Photo by Tara Seawright Interior Design – Search traditional living room pictures Pair it with black and white. Add the contrast of black with some white to update a beige color palette. You’ll give a room a more modern edge. Photo by Fiddlehead Design Group, LLC – Look for traditional family room design inspiration Try it with some pastels. Beachy brights, highlights of white, and pale aqua accessories or furnishings may also help to modernize up the beige walls. Photo by Caroline Burke Designs & Associates, Inc. – Look for beach style living room pictures Blend in some texture. Use a variety of textures so the neutral color backdrop doesn’t start to feel stale. For example, metallic, velvets, and natural linens can help give the beige walls a more updated feeling.  ...

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Originally published on http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2016/10/creative-ways-market-odd-spaces We realize that this copy targets realtors specifically, but these “marketing” strategies work because they are actually great suggestions: just because a room has always been used for one purpose does NOT mean it can’t be used for a different purpose. That’s what this article is about: re-purposing rooms to suit your needs.  OCTOBER 2016 | BY BARBARA BALLINGER What do you say to buyers who look at a listing’s floor plan only to focus on the large space labeled “dining room” that they know they’ll rarely use? The fact is, buyers and sellers may have vastly different perceptions about how they want to live in the same home. But that doesn’t have to be a deal-killer. Part of the problem stems from how architects and builders label rooms on plans, says Chicago-based commercial interior designer Mary Cook. “Rooms get designated and labeled for specific purposes, so it’s difficult to break that perception and think about them as spaces that are something else,” she says. But as a real estate professional, you can help make a difference with the descriptions you write in your marketing materials and with the way you talk about space in a listing. Clever copy can provide just the right inspiration for buyers who might have otherwise turned away. A huge log-burning fireplace dominating a living room can be recast as a “built-in entertainment center to gather around,” suggests designer Lonnie Unger of Fredman Design Group in Chicago. Just be sure to make concrete suggestions that buyers can visualize, even before they zoom in on photos or step through the front door. Whether you’re working with sellers who have outdated notions of their listing’s assets or with buyers who can’t imagine how they’d use a space that doesn’t seem to apply to their lifestyle, we’ve amassed some talking points that can help you smooth out the conflict. Here are five examples to inspire you to help your clients imagine what can be, rather than allowing what is to become a deal breaker. 1. What it is: Oversized walk-in closet The big closets that came along with the McMansion trend were often outfitted with shelves, rods, cabinets, and even storage islands and seating space. As conspicuous consumption falls out of favor, these spaces may seem like a waste for some buyers, who’d rather spend their square footage elsewhere. What it can be: “Practical laundry space adjacent to master bedroom.” Because large walk-in closets are usually well illuminated and may even have a window for daylight, they offer numerous possibilities. How about an upstairs laundry by the bedrooms? After all, this is where most...

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Nicole was at RESACON 2017 this past past weekend (Jan 26 through Jan 28) and had the good fortune of meeting HGTV star Sabrina Soto. Sabrina stars in the HGTV series Equity Angels and is also a lifestyle expert, interior designer, bargain hunter and, she says, “most importantly, Olivia’s mommy.” We also discovered that Sabrina has her own blog site: sabrinasoto.com, which is where we found the article below. (But, by the way, you should go check out her blog about her master bedroom! Blkadj;fkjad;lfkjal;eautiful . . . and she shares where she got the goods!) Originally posted on sabrinasoto.com on January 6, 2017 I am so ready to get organized! To me, a new year is like a fresh start. As cliché as it sounds, it’s an opportunity to commit to making meaningful changes and being your best self! When I was thinking about my goals for this year, I came up with six small ways to make big changes in 2017. Like they say, “New Year, New You!”   Kick the Clutter If you know me, you’ll probably already get why this is the first thing on my list! Clearing the clutter from your life is the BEST way to start fresh! I’m a huge believer that all of that extra stuff we hold onto only weighs us down. Start organizing by category and get rid of things that don’t serve a purpose in your home or workspace! I like to keep a basket in my closet for items that I no longer want or need. I hold onto the basket until it is full and then donate the things I still want to let go of! This is a great system because there’s no pressure to decide on the spot. If I find myself going back into the basket, I know I shouldn’t get rid of certain pieces. Trust me, letting go of the things that are not functional or beautiful will change your life! I’m looking to cut down on even the littlest things, starting with my car keychain. I have a bunch of loyalty cards on my keychain that I don’t use and I’m ready to take them off. The only one I need is my Plenti card! As I mentioned in my previous stocking stuffer blog post, I love using Plenti! It’s a multi-brand rewards program that allows you to earn and redeem rewards points across a variety of brands including: Macy’s, Rite Aid, Chili’s, Exxon or Mobil, AT&T, Direct Energy, Nationwide, Direct Energy, Harveys Supermarkets, Enterprise, Expedia and Hulu. It streamlines my different rewards programs into one. Goodbye cluttered car keychain!   Try a...

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