New residential development used to conjure up images of cookie-cutter homes that lack architectural detail and charm. But as the competition for buyers has become more challenging, it’s obvious that each home must incorporate designs and finishes with both character and luxury appeal.
On Saturday, we attended the 2017 Luxury Home Tour Presented by the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association (HBRA) of Fairfield County and sponsored by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. Of the four houses featured on the tour, there were several takeaways in terms of trends we saw emerging for newly constructed residences.
Unsurprisingly, bright open floor plans with high ceilings reigned supreme, encouraging light flow and spacial interaction. Instead of walls, ceiling treatments defined the spaces and added visual interest. Formal dining and private spaces have officially been abandoned in favor of multifunctional, communal living.
A surprising find was that we saw on this tour was the use of glass subway tile for kitchen backsplashes. While the white glass tile backsplash provides a clean modern look, we have also found that continuous materials with reduced visual interruption like stone slabs have started to emerge in popularity. Despite that, three of the four homes featured glass subway tile in the kitchens.
Kitchens also saw a shift from stainless steel appliances to custom paneling to match the cabinetry and feel more integrated with the rest of the design.
Simplified window designs with reduced sight lines were another trend we saw, drawing the eye outside to take advantage of the homes’ stunning views. Removing visual weight from the windows reinforced the sense of openness that is gained with an open floor plan.
We love that stairways are also opening up, allowing previously under-used rooms like basements to feel more integrated with the rest of the home. Proximity to windows also seemed to be important, and details like horizontal cabling and high-gloss stair rails proved that staircases are no longer just functional.
Simplified, flat millwork on walls, fireplaces, and ceilings gave depth and dimension without feeling overly adorned. Most mantles followed suit, opting for modern lines over traditional elements.
High gloss finishes were another big trend that spanned a variety of surfaces such as stair rails, cabinetry, and ceilings. In a few of the homes, the finish almost had an enameled look.
Contrasting the sleekness of the high-gloss finishes, cerused oak was another popular choice for cabinetry. Modern details tempered with touches of transitional design were a major theme throughout the homes to give a timeless yet contemporary feel.
Floor colors have consistently lightened up and gone towards grey tones, lending softness to the spaces.
Shiplap in mudrooms and basements allude to the coastal location of the homes and helps to keep walls in high traffic areas looking fresh and clean.
All in all, it was great to see what trends builders are incorporating into their new constructions, and it was a blast being able to see new neighborhoods in the lower Fairfield County area. A key takeaway from the day was that repeating thematic elements throughout a space is important to make everything feel cohesive and harmonious. A holistic design approach truly underpins the order of a house and gives it good visual flow.