Model Home Madness

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

Sundays are a great day to find out what top designers are featuring in their trend-forward interiors. Model homes are free entertainment, as far as I am concerned. Lessons in combining colors, patterns, textures, and space planning await you in the world of model homes.

If you are going to invest your time—go for the top of the line both in size and dollar-wise. The more high-end the homes, the more design dollars were dedicated to creating the models.

Today was my fun day to amble through two sets of models and analyze the very best of what they had to offer. I made sure to visit homes built by two different builders so the floor plans would be quite different, and the designs created by different studios. Even so, several parallel trends emerged in each home and in both developments.

  1. Blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors. Though not a new trend, this “seamless living” trend is on fire. Retractable glass walls open the home to fabulous exterior spaces, increasing livable square footage and creating entertaining spaces that flow beautifully from inside to outdoors. Fire and water features are important and bring the best of feng shui principles to life.
  2. These homes were in excess of $1 million and averaged about 5,000 square feet. When designing homes of this size, the largest expanses (walls and floors) were interesting neutrals (shadow gray, or cream colored walls) and floors were mostly hard surface flooring (travertine, hard wood floors, marble) all materials born from nature. Textiles, area rugs, accessories and lighting added the color and spice in an economical, easily updated, manner.
  3. Circular track madness

  4. Lighting directions were fascinating. Ceiling mounted, finely-crafted black mini-track lighting with a circular configuration echoed a 6-foot circular area rug in one Great Room. Chrome seemed to be the choice of the moment for kitchen pendant lights and even dining room fixtures. No more “chandelier” over the dining table. Rooms featured two or three of the same lighting fixture, ceiling mounted, to make a grand statement and beef up the wattage.
  5. Even though hard wood floors, quarried stones and marbles were the main focus of flooring, large format porcelain tile, borders, insets and trims were used throughout different areas of each home. Elegant, thickly textured carpeting graced most of the bedroom areas.
  6. Master bathrooms and master closets have become the main competition between builders to win prospective buyer’s hearts. A la the penthouse in the “Sex In The City” movie, designs duplicating the closet that won Carrie’s heart seemed to be the norm. Based on size, they could qualify as another room in the house. Specialty lighting, elegant shoe display shelving, etched glass doors and extra-cushy carpeting spelled P-U-R-E L-U-X-U-R-Y.
  7. Kitchens were larger than life spaces, with oversized work islands, expansive cabinetry and endless counter space, and of course, pantries that could double as a food bank.
  8. The indulgent features I found common to each model home included wine storage rooms, expansive laundry rooms, private ‘mother-in-law’ suites somewhat separate from the rest of the living spaces, and bonus rooms that lent themselves to anything the homebuyer wanted them to be. Side-entry mud rooms (yes, even in California) were a staple feature as well.

With that said, I was quite happy to come home to my 2,000 square foot, comfortable, easy-to-clean abode that has none of the over-the-top luxury features I just described, but is just as beautiful. It’s all in the design that suits YOU, and the happy family that resides within.

Urban Retreats

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

Urban RetreatsUrban migration is an interesting trend that is still on the rise. Suburbanites are rediscovering connectivity with the energy of the city, and searching out their own urban retreat. This trend is appealing cross-generationally, so it’s important for both builders and product designers to design with this in mind. So how are product designers responding to the new culture of urbanites?

Interface Mills interpreted this runaway trend into three carpet tile collections called Urban Retreat One, Two, and Three. Their marketing division had this to say:

We see the city as a mash-up of sharp and blurred, classic and futuristic, eclectic and austere….we are interested in that place where one idea meets the other and vibrations occur.
Take this description and convert it into an inspired collection of carpet tile designs, and you have the makings for creative urban retreats.

The inspiration for these nine styles is taken right from nature and includes classic, refined textures as well as broad organic forms. The color line for each is in perfect harmony to net a natural, but highly urban look. Style UR101 incorporates a duality of design that blurs the lines between industrial concrete and grassy knoll—all in one style.

I cannot think of a better way to introduce nature into an urban setting. For more stunning images, please visit the Interface website and search for Urban Retreat. So well done on so many levels!