Smart home technology - smart locks, lights, thermostats, and smoke detectors, to name a few - is becoming more and more popular thanks to the convenience and peace of mind it offers. A home renovation is the perfect time to make the switch if you’re so inclined, as you’ll already be replacing many of these items.
Last year in particular, smart speakers Amazon Echo and Google Home became the hot new devices, with the ability to answer questions, play music, and in Echo’s case, place orders on Amazon and control other smart devices (Alexa, turn on the lights!).
This year, we’re looking forward to optimizing our home routines, by learning new ways to control, automate, and integrate smart devices.
We also expect to see more and more devices becoming smart. In the kitchen, Samsung’s smart fridge replaces the magnets of old with a touchscreen for family schedules and food shopping. Coming out later this year, GE’s Kitchen Hub is a smart exhaust vent over the stove with a similar touch screen that could show you your recipe as you cook.
In the bathroom, Kohler’s Konnect will enable you to control your sink, shower, and bathtub faucets, mirror, and toilet hands-free. You can ask your sink to pour a certain amount of water, ask your shower to start, ask your tub to fill (at a preferred preset temperature), adjust the mirror lighting, and flush the toilet without spreading germs.
If you’d like to monitor your air quality, there are also smart devices for that. 3M Filtrete has announced a smart air filter which will tell you your air quality and alert you when filter life is expiring. There are also stand-alone air quality sensors that can tell you the temperature, humidity, dust levels, radon levels, and more, as well as how to make improvements.
At Leader Builders, we strive to build homes that are good for your health, your wallet, and the environment, and that will be for years to come. We’re always thinking about energy efficiency, from our window installation procedures to our insulation options to our heating equipment.
This year, we’re particularly excited about Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles which come with different design options and an infinite warranty that will, over time, pay for itself. These are complemented by Tesla’s Powerwall, a home battery that provides backup power during outages.
Last year saw homeowners starting to branch out with regard to material selections, so we expect many more exciting options to emerge this year.
After years of silver and stainless steel dominating, matte black and brushed brass are emerging as alternative metal options for door hardware, light fixtures, and plumbing fixtures. Matte black offers high contrast paired with white, while brushed brass adds warmth and complements blue and gray beautifully.
Studies are showing that engineered quartz is now the most popular material for kitchen counters. Granite is beautiful and still preferred by many of our clients, but quartz manufacturers are developing options to suit just about any style, from counters that look like marble to ones that look like concrete. Our showroom offers a large and updated selection of Caesarstone quartz if you want to see this popular material in person.
Although white continues to be a popular kitchen cabinet color, last year saw a proliferation of other choices, including high-contrast two-tone black and white, gray, blue, and jewel tones. Appliance manufacturers have caught on, just announcing some beautiful cobalt blue refrigerators and stoves with brushed brass hardware.
If blue isn’t your color, how about purple? Pantone announced its 2018 color of the year, an homage to Prince called “Ultra Violet”. We’re looking forward to seeing this royal color in use, whether as a small accent piece or a painted wall.
Overall, we’re predicting that 2018 will be a year for exploring and understanding what we want as individuals. With more and more options out there, no choice will be the wrong choice. We’ll be able to pick and choose what makes our house a home, be it a smart home finely tuned to our habits, an environment optimized for energy efficiency, or a home that truly expresses our design tastes.
If you would like to learn more about our design-build home addition and renovation services or find out how we can help with a project you have a mind, please get in touch.