Aug

07

Smart Home Technology Trends in 2017

“The future of housewares and appliances is quickly moving toward the smart home,” said Doreen Schofield, CR, CKBR, designer with Callen Construction. “Connectivity is being incorporated into products all around the home – from light bulbs to coffee brewers, from thermostats to ovens – connected products, once only a dream, are quickly becoming reality.”

Smart Home Technology Trends in 2017This year, the smart home movement includes the emergence of five key trends. Leak detection sensors, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, radon detectors, and moisture detectors are devices that help keep a home’s environment safe. “There are even air quality devices that measure the air inside a home and detect dangerous toxins,” Doreen said. Perhaps the most useful of these devices is the smart leak detection sensor, which monitor plumbing in a home’s walls to ensure there are no major leaks or malfunctions. “Leak detections sensors also help prevent serious water damage or the buildup of mold and mildew inside walls caused by a slow leak,” she said. “They are a game-changer, especially for older homes.”

For homeowners, energy consumption is a primary concern because it is necessary to manage how much energy you’re using. This involves monitoring many different facets of your home, including lighting usage and air conditioning dependence. “Connected or smart thermostats can help alleviate this problem by conserving energy over time,” said Doreen. They are far more advanced than programmable thermostats, as they are capable of learning habits and preferences and they can even detect your presence. “This allows for scenarios such as leaving the air off while you’re away from home and letting it auto-adjust to a comfortable setting when you’re on your way back,” she said.

How many times have you left home and realized you left your garage door wide open? A traditional door requires you to return home to close it. Conversely, a smart garage door enables you to monitor your garage door from anywhere. You simply have to check the open or closed status from an app on your smartphone and, if it’s open, you can close it remotely. “This feature offers a world of possibilities,” Doreen said. “For instance, you could let the dog or house sitters in through your garage or open your home to emergency services or neighbors when you’re gone. Smart garage doors offer homeowners both convenience and increased security.”

Homeowners also need to be concerned about water usage, as it is another form of consumption. Clean water for drinking, cleaning, or bathing are important, but so too is the water used to irrigate your land. This is where smart watering systems come into play. “On one hand, if you live in a deed-restricted community, you are required to maintain a healthy lawn; otherwise you risk fines and other penalties,” said Doreen. “On the other hand, shortages and droughts can restrict the amount of water you can use.” Smart watering systems make this process simple and efficient, allowing you to schedule watering sessions and also keep track of how much water you’re using, which will likely save you money over time.

According to Safewise, a burglary occurs every 18 seconds in the United States and a report by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology shows that about 60 percent of convicted burglars were deterred by the presence of a home security system. By installing a smart home security camera, you pay for the equipment once, with service fees typically lower than conventional security plans.

“As the demand for smart home technology continues to rise, it’s important for homeowners to stay up to date on the latest trends not only for added savings and convenience, but also for peace of mind,” said Doreen.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.

Jun

12

2017 Design Trends

2017 home design trends“From gunmetal, to customized storage walls, to laundry rooms with personality, there is an array of new design trends that have come to the forefront in 2017,” said Kathleen Yttri, designer with Callen Construction in Muskego.

“Gunmetal finishes have been making a jump in popularity in recent years, admired for their ability to bring be bold and stand on their own without the high price tag. They are reflecting the new trend in appliances with the black stainless finish,” Kathleen said. More recently, designers have been turning away from the reflective finish of polished chrome and are embracing satin or brushed finishes, which is more muted. “A matte gunmetal finish can be transitional or contemporary and it looks fantastic against any color of cabinetry,” she said.

In search of more open space in their kitchens, many homeowners and designers are pushing storage into a single hardworking wall, instead of using upper cabinets. This design development creates a one-stop storage area that frees up the rest of the space to promote a more open free flowing look and gives you the opportunity to use tile and floating shelves in place of upper cabinets.

The use of different white tones is also becoming more popular, as there’s something refreshing about a room bathed in white with subtle accents of other neutral colors. Conversely, things can start to feel clinical when only one stark white tone is used. “Balancing a white palette with creamy off-whites, cool greys or natural linen hues creates a breathtaking look that can be rich with character. It can also let you have tons of flexibility with bold color accents and a rich wood tone floor,” she said.

Upgrading on laundry rooms is increasing in popularity, as homeowners are seeing value in enhancing this area of the home. “Smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize they spend a lot of time doing laundry, they may as well do it in a space that they love,” Kathleen said.

Similar to the laundry room, entryways are also receiving more attention. The entryway is the first part of the home guests see and therefore has become a focus of organization, a reflection of the homes style in a compact area. You can have fun with design and a function and organization to the hub of coming and going without allocating a significant amount of money. “Sometimes all it takes is a few customized sayings in frames, a statement mirror, and a narrow table or bench with a tray for shoes underneath,” she said. “After all, first impressions matter.”

Lastly, counter-depth refrigerators are providing an option when kitchen space is tight. “For small to modest-size kitchens, remodeling is often a game of inches,” said Kathleen. “Counter-depth refrigerators sit closer to cabinetry and countertop depth, freeing up just a bit more clearance space, while creating a more streamlined look.”

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May

01

Insight on Bathroom Remodeling Trends

No longer just a utilitarian space, today’s bathroom can be a place of luxury and convenience. “Achieving this is a matter of keeping up with the latest design elements,” said Marie Owens, designer with Callen. “There are many common themes incorporated into this year’s bathroom remodels, including man-made products that mimic natural materials, plenty of texture, and decorative details,” added Marie. So, if contemplating a bathroom renovation, here are some popular trends to consider for the remodeled space.

Insight on Bathroom Remodeling TrendsRecent technological advances have led to porcelain tile that looks exactly like hardwood flooring. “There are plenty of colors and plank sizes to choose from, allowing for the creation of everything from a rustic to modern aesthetic,” Marie said. “Additionally, because porcelain is not a natural material like wood, it can get wet and the only maintenance required is a basic cleaning.”

Next, are decorative shower niches, which are getting a little something extra – beautiful accent tiles. The design element not only adds a focal point to the bathroom, but also helps to break up the shower wall. Additionally, it can allow for the introduction of color into the space.

Another trend is utilizing engineered stone instead of marble. “Quartz and porcelain do a beautiful job of impersonating marble down to the veins. Plus, they offer a slew of benefits,’ she said. “Unlike a natural marble stone, these materials are non-porous and do not need to be sealed. Their non-porous nature also means that tile or countertops will not stain should something accidentally spill.”

White on white follows. White is considered to be the color of perfection, evoking a feeling of wholeness and completion. With this current trend, various shades of white cabinetry, countertops, and tile are all working together to create a striking, monochromatic space.

Next is texture, which is being incorporated into a bathroom space to create interest. “Texture is particularly used in monochromatic color schemes,” said Marie. “This includes textured wallpaper, tiles, glass, and metals.”

While not considered a necessity, many homeowners are opting for heated flooring in their master bath. This popular amenity is a welcome comfort during the cold winter months, plus it can be programmed to make it more energy efficient.

Lastly, sound systems are incorporated into the bathroom design. For many, music is a part of their morning routine. “Therefore, more bathrooms have blue tooth speakers installed into the ceiling or showerheads with music streaming capabilities,” she said.

Apr

03

For Kitchen Designs, Stainless Steel Shines

“When it comes to color and style, stainless steel is neutral, yet versatile. Whether your kitchen is contemporary or country, there are numerous design techniques that allow you to mesh stainless with any style,” said Paulette Sodemann, designer with Callen. “Even those appliances that are not considered pro equipment can look clean and professional in stainless steel,” she added. Paulette explores this continuous trend of designing with or around stainless steel in kitchens and examine its growing popularity.

Although most commercial-grade appliances feature stainless steel, most designers agree that stainless steel is popular as a focal point or a fine enhancement as an accent, but should rarely be used to serve in both capacities. “A little goes a long way when you’re designing with stainless steel,” said Paulette. For instance, one could pair weathered, distressed cabinets with a tapered stainless stove hood, which would serve as the kitchen’s focal point, creating a European country style look.

Another option is to use stainless steel as a backsplash in your kitchen. This look could also be accomplished using metallic tiles. But remember, “stainless steel accents are beautiful, but less is more with metal in kitchen designs,” she said. In other words, you wouldn’t want stainless counters or small appliances in the same design with large pro line stainless pieces.

The use of granite and ceramic will soften the shine of stainless. For instance, in a traditional or contemporary kitchen design, cream-colored granite counters help offset the cold shine of stainless appliances. The mica in the stone especially helps to pick up the soft gray color in the stainless.

Another option would be to use textured ceramic tile to form a backsplash in back of a metallic cooktop or range. It’s a soft touch that works well in balancing the metallic sheen.

For Kitchen Designs, Stainless Steel ShinesWood is always a welcome contrast to stainless, particularly over pro-quality cooktops. “Paring the cooktop with a wood hood is a beautiful look and really warms the appearance of the stainless steel,” Paulette said. “Also, a stainless-steel range, wall oven, or cooktop can easily be incorporated into even the most conservative kitchens.”

When it comes to refrigerators and dishwashers, the use of stainless steel often depends on the size of the appliances. Using wood front panels for large refrigerators is becoming a common trend. As for dishwashers, they are virtually always under the counter and flanked by custom cabinetry, in a traditional kitchen design. So, visually, stainless steel on a dishwasher tends to break up what otherwise would be a smooth flow of a continuous line. A cabinet façade over the dishwasher, similar to the wood front panel on the refrigerator, can reduce this impact.

Finally, you will want to consider clearance and vents. The pro-quality cooking that powerful stainless ranges and cooktops offer creates a whole other level of design considerations. “The pro-line appliances produce much higher BTUs, so you need sufficient clearance and counter space on either side. The design must also provide for proper ventilation and a way to protect the back wall from getting scorched or catching fire, particularly when all six burners on that pro line cooktop are on,” Paulette said.

Given the demands placed on the ventilator for a high caliber stainless range, you may also need to provide a louvered vent to an adjacent space for “make up air” to replace the hot air circulated out. When you’re dealing with pro equipment like that, you should consult an HVAC specialist to see if you need to do anything special with the air.

“If you’re considering updating your kitchen and want to incorporate stainless steel into your design, you should consider these trends so you can make an informed decision and be completely satisfied with the end result,” she said.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.