From intelligent toilets to tuxedo kitchens, SEEN talked to Metro Detroit design experts to find out what’s trending in home design this 2019.
By Judith Harris Solomon
The home design arena is bursting at the seams with a multitude of fabulous new trends. SEEN talked to Metro Detroit design experts to find out the latest trends in bathrooms, kitchens, fabrics and more.
Bathtubs are making a really big splash. In its forthcoming 2018-2019 Industry Outlook Study, the National Kitchen & Bath Association forecasts a jump in bathtub sales from $9.69 billion in 2017 to $10.86 billion in 2019. According to Nathan Caspers, manager of the Kohler Signature Store in Birmingham, free-standing tubs with hand showers are all the rage. Joshua Moss, vice president of Advance Heating and Plumbing Supply in Detroit and Walled Lake, adds: “We’re finding many of our clients want their tubs placed inside their large shower enclosures in order to create what we call central wet rooms.”
Voice-activated bathroom mirrors are also trendy. Kohler sells one that, when connected to Alexa and powered appropriately, can give voice commands to your bathroom and the rest of your home.
Another trend? “Intelligent toilets” that do just about everything but talk. Almost all the new models have heated seats. Some play music and also include heated bidets with self-sterilizers, self-closing lids, automatic flushing and higher seat levels to provide extra comfort.
Marc Wolf, owner of Atlas Plumbing Supply in Detroit, says a lot of people are now choosing to hide their shower drains. They’re either using a trench drain with a tile covering that makes the drain blend right into the floor or are hiding the drain underneath at the end of the shower.
Bathroom designers say decorative sinks featuring hand-painted ceramic and sinks made of unusual materials such as onyx, bronze, pebbled glass and even wood are also racking up sales.
Black is back in big way. Terry Ellis, principal of Room Service Interior Design in the Michigan Design Center in Troy, says “tuxedo” kitchens complete with black cabinets, white quartz or granite countertops, white tile backsplashes, gold faucets and gold light fixtures are very much in vogue. Adds Houzz.com editor Mitchell Parker: “Black is having a moment in the cooking space. Our community of homeowners is embracing a heavy dose of dramatic color with large swaths of black range hoods and full on black cabinetry. Companies such as GE, KitchenAid, Bosch, Frigidaire and Jenn-Air are offering suites of charcoal black appliances with either a matte or smudge-proof finish.”
Undermount sinks that store kitchen accessories such as cutting boards, wire racks, colanders, storage bins and compost bins are also trending.
Bob Bouwens, vice president of sales at EuroAmerica Design in Troy, notes: “While we’re used to seeing porcelain on the floor, now manufacturers can make the pieces in large sheets so it can also be utilized as a kitchen countertop material. This is a very big trend in the kitchen industry.” And speaking of countertops, Mike Petrucci, president of Petrucci Johnson Homes in Bloomfield Hills, says thicker countertop edges, ranging from 2.5 to 3 inches and mitered (or two pieces joined at a 45-degree angle to form a corner), are trending. “By doing a miter cut you make the counter appear like one big slab and that’s a great look,” he says.
Carpeting and Area Rugs
Rug experts says color and bold designs are coming back. “Just a few years ago gray was everywhere. Now we are seeing reds, blues, greens, pinks, gold and orange,” says Hagopian President Edmond Hagopian. Homeowners are also returning to traditional geometric designs found in Persian and Turkish rugs. “Since rugs are used in the home as an expression of personal taste and individuality, many types can be trending concurrently,” Hagopian says. “My advice is to look at your rug as you would an art piece — something that brings you pleasure and transcends current trends.”
Fabrics and Furniture
In 2019, performance is the name of the game. “Everybody wants performance fabrics such as those from Crypton Home or Nanotex that feel nice and are also easy to clean,” says Bonnie Doran, district manager for the Michigan Design Center Duralee and Robert Allen showrooms. Sold primarily through furniture manufacturers and fabric distributors, these fabrics provide permanent stain and odor repellency. “And the new kid in town is Inside Out, a technology that makes fabrics both fade and mildew resistant so that they can be used outside as well as inside,” Doran says. “It’s the new gold standard.”
Dawn Tennant, co-owner of Tennant & Associates in the Michigan Design Center, reports many clients are requesting multifunctional furniture. “They want dining room chairs that can transition to a conversation area. And when it comes to upholstered pieces, a cleaner look either free of heavy tufting or without any tufting at all is in demand,” Tennant says. For example, at Baker Furniture in Troy the iconic Thomas Pheasant Paris sofa that was originally deep and tufted now has simplified lines and a more modern light biscuit stitching to create a modern flair. “Curved sofas and sectionals are back in vogue,” Terry Ellis says. “They go back to the ’70s and make a grand and beautiful statement in a living room.”
Lorell Thompson, a sales associate at Rozmallin in the Michigan Design Center, reports that wallpaper is having a resurgence and cites several new collections that are revolutionizing textures. For example, a company called Innovations has come out with “an almost three-dimensional” pattern called Facet that gives the illusion of a wood veneer and a sparkly one called Murano Molto is made with actual glass beads.”
At Virginia Tile, sales associate Melanie Giordano says the company is doing a lot of “whole walls adorned with multiple tiles” (either 18 by 36 or 12 by 24-inch each) to create a wallpaper effect. “And because the tiles are so large and there are not a lot of grout lines, the grout lines become part of the pattern,” she says.
Say goodbye to shiny. Instead of polished chrome or polished gold, satin brass, satin nickel, satin bronze, pewter and matte black are trendy finishes for hardware, faucets, shower fixtures and lighting fixtures. Bonus: They can all be mixed nicely together in the same room.