Words by Michele Lerner, The Washington Post
LED lights in the shower that bathes a user in colour, and a reclaimed wood accent wall near the fireplace. Artisan hand-baked clay tiles as a kitchen backsplash, and a bathroom exhaust fan that turns on and off through a sensor.
Rustic-tech chic is hot, particularly with millennials who like the yin and yang approach to home decorating. Every year, interior designers, architects, real estate professionals and home builders pour into Las Vegas to view the latest trends at the International Builders Show, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and the Consumer Electronics Show.
While they’re checking out ideas for the future, these industry pros attempt to match what they see to the personality of their local market and to upcoming home buyers, particularly millennials.
Millennials love natural materials such as wood and stone but are also drawn to coloured lights that can turn a shower into purple rain. Smart-home technology is revered, but so are artisanal items that can add a curated look to their homes.
Julia Walter, showroom manager at Boffi Georgetown, an Italian luxury kitchen and bath designer, said Boffi displays a rustic wood shelf with a modern shape, a metal sink below and a big mirror above it.
‘It’s definitely a trend to combine reclaimed wood with a contemporary steel frame,’ Walter said. ‘It’s an interesting play between old and new. People like contemporary lines, but they want the warmth of bringing in an older element into their home, especially the kitchen where people have an emotional connection with their childhood kitchen.’
On the opposite end of the spectrum from natural wood are coloured LED lights, which are turning up in gas fireplaces, kitchens and even bathrooms.
Pops of colour are turning up in the kitchen, too, with small household appliances and pots and pans manufactured in a wide range of colours. Larger kitchen appliances in bright colours and pastels are available from manufacturers, said Danielle Procopio, a real estate agent and certified home staging consultant with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Hinsdale, Ill.
‘The most popular colour schemes in the kitchen right now are dark cabinets with a light counter top,’ Procopio said. ‘At the Kitchen and Bath show, they were showing bright green and blue cabinets, but most people are sticking with standard colour palettes.’
Colourful and artistic touches can be used to relieve the sea of grey and white in new homes, but millennials still want most of their homes to have clean lines and modern style.
One home priority that transcends generations is the desire for an organised home with efficient and abundant storage space.
‘Millennials are likely to be intrigued by the new kitchen designs that come with a complete built-in organisation system so there’s a place for knives, spices and every specialty kitchen gadget,’ says Stacy DeBroff, a brand strategist and chief executive of Influence Central in Boston. ‘Another cool innovation are cupboards that lower down to the counter with the push of a button so you don’t need a step stool to reach everything.”
DeBroff said that with the advent of Pinterest and Instagram, millennials have high expectations for their organised spaces to be visually beautiful. Procopio added that automated shelving and stacked drawers that slide back to reveal a second layer are particularly appealing to young people who may be buying a smaller home in the city or inner suburbs.
Featured Image: Stikwood